Stress Free Living - Day 3
The Secret of “Resting”
Rest is a principle that is built into creation, and it is a great deterrent to stress. God created the heavens and the earth in six periods that He called days. After He made the world, the Bible tells us, “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Genesis 2:2). When it says that God “rested,” it does not mean that He was tired and had to spend time renewing His energy. Instead, it means that He ceased from working for a time after completing what He had set out to do.
Later, in the law that He gave to the Israelites through Moses, God instructed the people to rest one day a week. (See Exodus 20:8–10.) This was to be a day of rest for the people, and also for their animals. Everything that God created carries in its DNA the need for rest.
God also established other forms of rest for His people to follow. For example, after six consecutive years of planting and harvesting, they were to allow the land to lie uncultivated for a year. (See Leviticus 25:4.) Various periods of “rest” were established not only for people to renew their strength, but also for them to stop and focus on their Creator and other important areas of their lives and to look out for the needs of others. (See Exodus 23:10–11.)
Therefore, when the Scriptures speak of “rest,” they are referring to something integral to our lives. Resting means putting aside all busy, strenuous activity—whether physical or mental—and regaining our strength and focus in the midst of stillness. It means having periods of respite not only physically and in our natural environment, but also in our spiritual being. Each type of rest is important for achieving true freedom from stress. What God wants for us is a rest that is whole and complete, one that covers all areas of our life.
Resting in God
The phrase “resting in God” means to give the Lord absolute control over our life and future. This shows God that we fully trust in Him and His purposes for us. Only God knows the future, and He alone is in control. That’s why we need to learn to surrender to Him and give Him our worries, just as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6.
Stress is always connected to an area of our life that we have not yet surrendered to God. Often, we experience stress because of the struggle that exists between our flesh (our fallen human nature, which we continue to battle against in this life) and our spirit (our inner being, made alive in Christ). If we do not surrender a particular area to God, it becomes a heavy burden to us. When we rest in God, we can have peace and joy in any circumstance, knowing that He is taking care of our needs as we continue to do our part—whatever comes under our human responsibilities. For example, we trust Him to free us from debt while we follow good financial practices. The greatest blessings come when we rest in God’s love, goodness, and faithfulness.
The Bible speaks of God’s rest when it says, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). What does it mean to “cast” our cares or anxieties upon God? It means to relinquish our worry, recognizing that we don’t need to resolve matters in our own strength. We can place our absolute trust in Him to work on our behalf. If situations in our business, church, work, family, or health are causing us stress, we must immediately commit them to God.
We should know that as long as we hold on to our worries, the enemy will increase the pressure against us, bringing these concerns to our mind over and over again and creating an oppressive pattern of stress. When we enter into such a cycle, that is when stress becomes a spiritual issue. One of the evidences of demonic activity in a person’s life is impatience, lack of rest, and lack of sleep. If the enemy manages to rob us of our peace—and with it, our sleep—stress becomes inevitable. Little by little, a lack of rest opens the way to demonic activity. As we give ourselves fully to God, cycles of stress can be broken.
Jesus’s Yoke Is Easy
Jesus understands what we are going through. That is why He said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
When we follow a path that is the opposite of God’s will, we carry a very heavy burden. Even our thought patterns adapt to the burden we carry and prevent us from seeing a way out. But today, Jesus tells us, “Give Me the burden that the world has placed on you or you have taken on yourself—the burden that oppresses and enslaves you—and in return, I will give you My ‘yoke,’ which is easy, and My ‘burden,’ which is light.”
Thought: Everything that God created carries in its DNA the need for rest.