Learning to cope with stress is one of my greatest challenges. As the demands in my life increase, I often push myself to work harder and end up exhausted with little to show for my efforts. I tend to focus on myself and forget that the Lord is my help and my strength. The days I press through without taking time to worship are the days I usually accomplish the least.
Jesus was always doing His Father’s will but was never stressed. He healed the sick, fed the multitudes, and spent long nights in prayer. He didn’t worry, and He never had to strive to make things happen. He simply lived in constant communion with His Father and did what the Lord told Him to do. Though He was working, He was also at rest in His Father’s love. How I long to live in that kind of fellowship with God! Sometimes I forget that because of the work Jesus did for me on the cross, I can.
There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. (Heb. 4:9–10)
On the seventh day, God rested from the work of creating to enjoy a relationship with His creation. Now He invites us to stop striving and enjoy our relationship with Him! We don’t have to work to earn His favor. We can trust Him to take care of our needs and hear our prayers. Today, the Lord is calling us to rest at His feet and simply believe.
“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:29)
Once Jesus visited the home of his dear friends Mary and Martha. Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said, but Martha was distracted by the physical tasks clamoring for her attention.
She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:40b–42 NIV)
Jesus is teaching us that worry and stress are not His will for us. Mary chose to worship the Lord in the midst of her daily life, and in His presence she received peace and rest. Martha, on the other hand, was so focused on her tasks that she failed to see the One in front of her! By striving instead of worshiping, she was missing the grace of God.
The Lord is not calling us to an inactive life, but He is calling us to a life of worship! As we focus on Him and carry His presence with us throughout the day, fear and stress will leave, anxiety and depression will leave. Who knows what healing the Lord may do in our hearts and even our bodies as we bask in His love? As we rest in the Lord, we are resting in the finished work of the cross. Everything we need is available to us through our Father’s great love.
So, in a practical sense, what does it mean to rest in the Lord? It means giving the Lord first place in our hearts and not allowing worry or stress to ever take His place. To rest in the Lord means to pause in the midst of our busyness and find His presence again. We rest in the Lord when we turn our worries back into worship. He can work deeply within us as we take time to listen to His spirit and simply receive His love.
Certainly, living in the Lord’s rest may be easier some days than others. But every day is a new opportunity to sit at the Master’s feet and be blessed! As we worship Him in the midst of our busy lives, He will work through us mightily.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Father, I want to be filled with nothing but Your Spirit. Help me stop trying so hard and just rest in You! Let my work be to worship You in all I say and do. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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