THE PROCESS OF ENTERING REST PT. 3 – REFRESHING
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” Acts 3:19
In Acts 3, we see the story of Peter and John healing a lame beggar on the way up to the temple. Those were standing nearby witnessed this miracle and were immediately amazed by Peter and John – so much so that they wanted to worship them. However, Peter’s response to them was incredible. Not only does Peter turn to them and tell them that it was solely by the name of Jesus that this man was healed, but he says that if they repent and return to God, they too will be refreshed.
As I’ve mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, entering the rest of God is a process that requires a clear conscience and a heart that returns to the Father. It is then that we find the blessed assurance of refreshing in His presence. In my own life, I have seen this place of refreshing to be easy to grasp in concept, but surprisingly elusive in practice. It here, then, that I wish to caution us on what we consider this “refreshing” to be.
Much of the world we live in suggests that rest is physical in nature. When we are tired, we rest (similarly, when we are hungry, we eat). Rest is taught as being reactive. In other words, you need rest when you are tired. You can work and toil up until the point that your energy cannot sustain you, and then you have “earned” your rest. The true rest of God, however, is not reactive but proactive. Rather than working until we can work no longer and then grasp for rest, God teaches rest as the agent which solidifies all of creation. Rest is the equipping for battle, the food for your soul, the energy for your bones to live in an effective in full life. Rest is a tool.
If we wait until we are tired to rest, we will find ourselves in a painful cycle of highs and lows, burnout and mountain tops. We notice that rest is only temporary relief from a life of exhaustion. This way of living is not abundant life. In fact, it is more like another form of slavery to endless toil.
The refreshing of the Lord is meant to give us the strength we need to impact the world around us – to give us the flavor of salt and the energy of light. We receive refreshing so that our work may be strong and effective. We rest so that when we move – we move with confidence. This is a great place to check your heart. After you have rested, do you feel more empowered and confident to live a life of faith? Do you feel that your rest gives you the emotional and spiritual strength in the midst of the pressures of life?
Rest is not merely physical, but it is emotional and spiritual. Ephesians 6 tells us that our battle is not against flesh and blood. If this is the case, how much more do our minds and hearts need to be refreshed daily? A tired army is one waiting to be defeated. A well-rested, well-fed army is one prepared for victory. Why do you think temptation is so much stronger when we are tired and worn thin? May we daily enter the presence of God to receive rest for our souls and strength for the battle.