One of the amazing advantages we have as believers is the freedom to rest in Christ while so many others struggle to try to do things on their own. It’s natural to feel like we must work hard to reach our goals or even accomplish anything at all, but we have supernatural help to do above and beyond what others try unsuccessfully to do. We’ve been empowered to turn over to God the things that we can’t handle ourselves. Resting in Jesus isn’t inactivity, but simply leaning on and trusting in Him in every situation.
We can rely on Christ because we know He’ll always come through for us. There’s no doubt about it. Life is too unpredictable to guess what will happen in our future, and relying on ourselves to try to cause situations to unfold in our favor often requires hard work with zero results. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (James 4:14, 15). Resting in Him means we can do what we need to do without the stress or pressure that comes with self-effort.
As free moral agents, we can either be prideful and try to chart our own course in life apart from God, or humbly admit that we need Him to keep us from getting lost. “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Depending on our own intellectual head-knowledge can cause us to take a wrong turn; depending on God to guide us takes the burden off of us to make the right decisions all the time. He knows the way, and He’s willing to lead us.
Lest we think that resting is laziness, the Bible tells us that rest is a commandment straight from God. “Attention, all! See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth, Bans war from pole to pole, breaks all the weapons across his knee. ‘Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything’” (Psalm 46:8-10, MSG). This can be one of the most difficult things we can do as Christians, because the world’s way of thinking tells us we constantly have to be on the move. Resting God’s way involves us staying active while focusing on Christ, not on the strife and negativity going on around us.
The world tells us self-confidence is good; however, as human beings, our resources are limited. People who are confident in themselves, but not in God, will eventually fail. We can work ourselves to a frazzle, but we need to learn how to rest if we want God to work on our behalf. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Resting in God is the highest kind of faith in which we can operate.
We live in a world swirling with pointless activity. God tells us to step out of it and rely on Him. Trusting Him enough to do this gives us real rest.