With today’s technology, we research so many things to educate ourselves. We find what’s wrong and what we ‘should’ be doing to fix it. We can research everything we want to know, from the people we are acquainted with, to the famous, from the foods we eat, the styles we like, to various opinions, medical information, films, books, podcasts, news, politics, and world views. The world is at our fingertips. As we search, clearly we find all the things that create problems and with moral character we try to do what’s right and fix them. As we gain for ourselves so much knowledge of good and evil, what is part of the real challenge? Well, at least part of the challenge is not losing focus and finding rest in such a busy, informative world.
Sitting down without distractions and filtering all this information we gain through the Truth of God’s word doesn’t come easy. Finding rest doesn’t seem as simple nowadays. These things are creating clutter and sorting through the things that demand our focus seems to challenge our abundantly simple life. They are woven within our personal battles. No wonder we are experiencing the rise of minimizing. Who wants more clutter?
It was a Hungarian-born man named Hans Selye around 1936 who made the discovery of stress. He is the known founder of the stress theory. He coined the term stress and declared that “all” human activity causes stress. Selye stated the only way to avoid stress would be to do nothing at all. In all actuality, doing nothing at all would create even more stress.
The theories on stress brought the term, how to survive staying alive. Selye states too, “those who try to find themselves” that everything mankind does is stressed, from the stress of pleasure, challenge, frustration, and fulfillment. He stated complete freedom from stress is death. One of his friends told that Selye struggled all his life in finding an acceptable definition of stress. It looks like the study of stress even stressed him.
We can study stress, look at the theory of stress, examine everything from how to deal with stress, and define it in many ways. Mankind has tried to solve stress’s definition as emotional or physical tension from any event that makes you feel pressure, tension, strain, excitement, frustration, anger, or nervousness. All defining stress as coming from demanding circumstances, creating your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. Twenty-four centuries before Seyle, the Greeks implied stress as “pathos” meaning for them, suffering and toil. The Chinese in early centuries had two characters in their written description translating all this to “crisis”. Selye came to a conclusion in his own writings stating, “Stress, in addition to being itself, was also the cause of itself, and the result of itself.”
This definition leaves us empty as it’s outside of Truth and without rest. People in their own power, from exercise to mediation, try to handle stress religiously. Where does the answer for freedom from stress lie? Where does our rest come from?
In Joshua 1:13, the word of God tells us, “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.”
Rest comes from God alone. The land He promised is still ours today. It is the blessing of God. As it was the land of milk and honey, the land of abundance, the land of provision, the land of blessing and rest, it ours through Jesus Christ. It’s important to note, challenging the possession of the Promised Land, were the enemies of Israel. These enemies are still the enemies of faith and knowing who you are in Christ. How does the Lord equip His people to attack the stress, toil, and challenge?
The Lord promised us a Sabbath rest. It was never His plan for man to have stress. He reveals this in creation. The six days of creation ended with the Sabbath rest for a purpose. The purpose to show us the finished work of God through Jesus. Genesis 2:2-3 says,
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
People religiously miss the point and decide it means to sit around for one day a week, enjoy activities, go on vacations, and rest when we can. The word of God tells us in
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.”
How do we not come short of this rest? He tells us in Hebrews 4:2-4, that the Gospel was preached but it wasn’t mixed with faith to those who heard it. In John 5, Jesus healed the man by the pool of Bethesda and made him whole on the Sabbath for a reason. When He did this, those who religiously rested, doing nothing on the Sabbath, “sought to slay Him”, (Jesus). They were willing to try and destroy Jesus because He had done these things “in the sabbath day.” Jesus answered these reasonings and confronted their hypocrisy of achieving rest without looking to Him. His answer to them was the Father and I are one, and this man was made whole by the work of the Son who IS the Sabbath rest.
“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said…”
Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane entered into rest for us. He labored in those moments to give us His rest. He set His will to the Father’s so in Him we can have Abundant Life without stress. He was so overcome by taking on all our stress, that He sweat blood, which is the rare condition called Hematohidrosis. Luke 22:44 says,
“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
He took all stress, pressure, frustration, fear, anxiety, and more, upon Himself. He suffered to give us the ability to rise with and in Him. He became sin for us. He became stress for us. He became the sacrifice of it all so we can enter into the grace of His rest.
“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father…” Galatians 1:3-4
We have been given the seventh day, the Sabbath, who is Jesus. In John 19:30, Jesus declared the rest to any who receive Him. As He said, “It is finished”, just as it was done in Genesis 2:2-3, new creation was given to man in Christ. He restored the blessing to those who believe. He restored our rest.
Hebrews 4:3 states this rest was established and finished from the foundation of the world, spoken of by God Himself. Hebrews 4:10 tells us,
“For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.”
The Lord has given us the answer to all this, He tells us clearly how to enter into His rest and live stress free. He tells us why people are not in rest in Hebrews 4:6-7 & 9-10,
“Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief… To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts…For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his… There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”
The rest of God is faith. It is faith in His word, faith in His work, faith in His faithfulness, faith in His blessing. Our only labour, (endeavour and earnest pursuit) is for the word; to put it in our hearts, our ears, our mouths, our meditation, and resist unbelief while embracing His promises. In doing so, our determination is faith in His work. The answer for rest is trusting the One who has accomplished it all for you. Believing Him for all that He has promised us in His word as He finished the work of it through the cross and resurrection. Hebrews 4:11 says,
“Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
By embracing the finished work of Jesus in this world of vast knowledge and information at our fingertips, it takes an abundantly simple life approach of keeping the focus on His word that is above all things. The word of God is the blessing signed, sealed, and delivered to us by Jesus. He is the word manifested for and to us. (John 1)
Embracing His word, is embracing Him. Living, receiving, and believing what He says above all else is finding our source in Him. It is the place of rest. As we hold to the promises He gives in His word by faith, His word rules in our lives against everything that is contrary to the blessing He has given. As we read His word, renew and refresh our minds by His word, and as we pray and confess His word, our lives are framed by the creative word of God. His promised land of blessing is ours for the taking.
Hebrews 4:12 says,
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Trusting in His word, is trusting in Him. Praying His word, speaking His word, and keeping Jesus and His teachings as center focus, is our rock solid foundation. His promises, His accomplishments are all for us and He has given them freely for us in His victory. We find His message and His truth in His word. Let’s look to the word of God, the word of Jesus Christ and hearken to His voice above all in this demanding world. Let’s enter into His rest by faith.
In His word we find His promises, His blessing, our everything. He brings increase of all things to us and He multiplies the blessing in our lives. Let the word of God – the Bible, let Jesus, His teachings and His finished work be your rest beyond stress. So today…
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:28-29,26,33
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