Don’t ask me why I know this, but do you remember that Justin Bieber song that came out a few years ago, “Love Yourself”? I’m not recommending the song…but the concept is a common one in our world today, right?
Am I the only one who feels like everyone in contemporary western society is pulled between two extremes? On the one hand, you’ve got those of us who are caught up with the hustle – we have a hard time slowing down. On the other hand, we’ve got this super popular concept of “loving yourself” or making time for “self-care.”
Now, self-care is a hot topic for good reason – we need to care for ourselves. What’s interesting is in our culture today, which is very individualistic and honestly kind of a self-obsessed culture, self-care has almost nothing to do with actual rest and everything to do with a person just trying to be okay and make sure that they get all the things that they need.
But the Bible actually speaks about rest in a different way.
And in reality, the Bible teaches these rhythms of work and rest. What’s fascinating to me is God wants us to have a whole different motive for rest than what the idea of self-care would teach. Where self-care says we should rest because we want to, the Bible teaches that we should rest so that we can have a greater impact on the world.
So how do we do that? I’m so glad you asked!
It’s hard to shake the definition of rest we’ve grown accustomed to, but there are actually some simple starting places for learning how to rest in the way God describes.
First, we need to rest in Christ. Really, we find our rest in the finished work of Jesus, where you and I cease from our labors of self-justifying. Apart from rest in Christ, each of us winds up with a self-salvation plan. What I mean by that is, many of us spend a ton of our lives on that hamster wheel of trying to save ourselves through our actions. But really, Jesus just asks that we rest in him, that we share in his life and receive what he has for us. Jesus is, ultimately, our Sabbath rest.
Second, we need to rest in such a way that we can be rejuvenated, so that we can work for impact.
See, we know from the book of Genesis that God created everything in six days, and he rested on the seventh day. The idea of God resting is sort of crazy, right? But he was modeling for us that in our times of rest, we rest for rejuvenation…so that we can get back into having impact. Too many people today, in the name of rest, are not reengaging for impact. And that is actually undercutting the very reason God gave us rest.
Third and finally, you and I need to rest and still embrace our calling. We don’t want to rest and divorce from our calling, but that’s what we end up doing sometimes.
The way we rest should be something that is life-giving for you in the midst of God’s calling for you to glorify him…This rules out all the ways we seek rest that actually end up destructive for ourselves or others in our lives. I think that’s very, very important, because if you rest in such a way that it actually violates your calling, then you’re actually not resting. You’re just self-sabotaging your own life.
So this week, let’s all work together on establishing strong rhythms of work and rest. Let’s rest in such a way that we don’t undercut the very purposes and plans that God has for us. Let’s rest to be rejuvenated, by remembering who Jesus is and who he’s called us to be.
That’s the kind of rest that will allow us to bloom and make an impact on our world!