Rest is a powerful tool to use against the enemy. Satan’s desire is to use what we are gifted in to wear us out and burn us out. In this place of exhaustion, we are susceptible to making simple mistakes that can have long term effects. So when we heed the invitation of the Lord to come and rest we are not only restoring our bodies but we are building up a greater resilience to the enemy’s tactics. Rest isn’t just a good idea, it’s a strategy.
When I read about Jesus, I notice that he would often retreat to the hills to pray alone. (Luke 5:16) Here, I imagine, is where He and the Father sowed into the intimacy they shared through their relationship. Jesus replenished Himself—the very thing he’d given away so frequently— through rest with the Father. He modeled for us the act of rest through solitude, physical sleep, and a peaceful state of mind. Philippians 4:6 reminds us that we are not to be anxious about anything, but to pray about everything.
The culture we live in leads us to believe that we can control just about everything, and this way of thinking replaces our inherent need for God. From financial success and relationships to religion and politics, even life and death—we’ve gotten so lost trying to set the temperature of control in our favor that we’ve lost touch with the reality that we are not really in control in the first place. We are human beings, and we are limited within ourselves.
Rest forces me to come to terms with the truth that I am not the value of what I do, or all I can get done. It is not by my good works that I will get into the kingdom of heaven, but by the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9), who has already paid the cost for my eternity. I get to cease striving for God’s favor through my acts and just be with Him.
We will have trials on this earth, that is certain, but Jesus calls for all of those who are weary to come to Him and rest.