For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, -Isaiah 30:15
While the nation of Judah was rebelling against God, he was telling them to return to him, and they would find rest in him. His strength was perfect for them, but they refused and went to Egypt for help.The Egyptians gave Judah horses for battle–something tangible. We don’t get many tangible reminders of God’s presence–returning to him and resting in him means we must have faith.
It is only through him that we can live abundantly and in his peace.
So how do we rest in God? Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
We must meditate on God’s Word in order to find rest in him. I admit that I struggle with consistently reading my Bible and taking time to simply sit in the presence of God. I often blame busyness, tiredness, etc., but the reality is I’m just not being diligent and I’m not making an effort in that aspect of my relationship with God–perhaps the most important part.
During seasons when I’m lazy and neglect time with God, it’s so simple to justify sin in my life because I’ve lost focus on the truth. Because the truth is my identity is found in Christ. If I’m searching for fulfillment in any other thing or person, I’m never going to find it because my worth is found in God alone. We’re always meditating on something. The key is to shift our focus to Scripture and its truth as we go about our day.
When I neglect my relationship with God, I often find myself stressed or burnt out, which can cause me to project my pain on others and lash out. Or, it can cause me to shut down and stop communicating with those closest to myself (and communicating means both talking and listening). As a result, I no longer feel connected to those around me, and I begin to not care about nurturing those relationships that God has placed in my life. This lack of communication leads to resentment and bitterness.
But by resting on God’s Word, I become a true peacemaker and strive for unity in my relationships.
But by resting on God’s Word, I become a true peacemaker and strive for unity in my relationships. I can seek out community with others, learn from them, and know I am created in His image.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
How can I restore those relationships if my lashing out or shutting down has led to resentment? I turn to God. By turning back to God, meditating on his Word, and trusting in him, reconciliation can come in those relationships I have neglected. You too can bring healing to hurt relationships.
It’s not an easy road to reconciliation. When we lose our focus, it’s hard to get back to where we were. A year of neglecting a relationship might translate to five years of working to restore it. But you know what? We have Christ, and that is the most important thing for our lives. If we have Christ as our ruler, things won’t necessarily be easy. But he will always be there! Even if it seems it’s taking forever to restore a relationship, he will always be there. And that is such a thing to rest assured in!
The enemy makes it really easy to let other things distract from our relationship with God, which takes a lot of effort. Other relationships are tangible because we have people right in front of us, but with God we get to be in his presence. When other things are happening around me, I have to make a conscious effort to sit in his presence, spend time in his Word, listen, and wait. It’s a constant battle to push other thoughts and distractions aside. But we must do it.
I need to be constantly seeking his truth, his Word, and his voice. If I’m not focusing my heart and my mind on Christ above all, then other areas of my life will suffer. If I’m continually searching for God and finding rest in him, then my relationships will grow deeper and my work will become joyful because of the peace and joy I find in Christ.
Resources to supplement our current sermon series on the book of Galatians. …
Brandon and Heather Haverland discuss the "holiday blues" and how we can submit those to the Lord. …
Love Jesus. Live Outward.
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