“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

As I mentioned in Part 1, there is a process to entering the rest that God promises us. We must allow the fruit of repentance to work in us that we may enter the presence of God with a clear conscience. This, however, does require entering the presence of God. What we call “rest” in our daily lives often involves exiting places of responsibility rather than entering the presence of God. It is not enough to merely remove ourselves from work– we must return to the feet of our Father. If we merely define rest as ceasing from work, we miss the refreshing that comes from active communion with God.

I have noticed through the years that the times in which I feel restless are those times in which I have forsaken the secret place with God. They are the times in which I have determined to forge my own path at the expense of spending time with my Father. Children do not receive rest merely by removing their hands from the plow and sitting cross-legged in the field. Children receive rest when they stop their work and return to their Father’s house.

One day, I was thinking through the idea of rest and stress and while processing this, God’s voice came through clearly and He said: The things that you create apart from Me, you must sustain. The things that I create through you, I sustain. Often, I find that the things in our life which weigh on our hearts are those things that we feel will die if we do not constantly have our hand on them. The reality is we were never meant to be the cornerstone to any building. We must submit ourselves to God and allow Him to work freely through us. We must return to the place of partnership with God.

Jesus is the door to the Father’s house and we must daily enter through the Door to receive rest for our souls.

In His message to the church in Ephesus, Jesus says, “I know your deeds and your toil and your perseverance… But I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev. 2). Many of us have stories of the blessed delight of sitting hours before the Father when we first encountered His love. We have memories of enjoying the beauty of nature with God or taking long walks and conversing with Him. Something happens along the way in which we lose sight of these simple pleasures in favor of “toil” and good “deeds.” If we find our souls restless – chances are we have forsaken our first love.

Return to your first love. What are the things that brought you simple joy? Are there songs or verses in Scripture that have always grabbed you? Is there a lifestyle of discipline that you once had that has been drowned out in busyness? Return to the simplicity of being fully in love with Jesus. Return to the innocence of sitting before God as a child. Return to the secret place with God and do not let the work of God overshadow God Himself. The door is always unlocked; we must teach ourselves to return to the Father’s house daily and receive refreshing in His presence.

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