How Rest Leads to Strengthened Faith
The clamor of ceramic plates and porcelain cups snaps her out of a busied daze. There was much to do for this special meal, and she felt overwhelmed by the pressure of the demands on her time.
Under other circumstances, this wouldn’t have been a big deal. After all, she did love to host gatherings for her family and friends. She enjoys preparing the dishes and the process of organizing – the peace of mind it brings her to know everything is in its place.
But today was different. Today, they had a special guest. The Messiah, their friend, had come to visit. And the strain she felt, the demands on her time to coordinate, prepare, and serve the guests were arduous. So much, in fact, that she became frustrated with her sister, Mary, who sat silently at the feet of the Messiah. Just who does Mary think she is resting in the presence of Jesus while she hurried about making sure of every little detail for the shared meal with the Messiah? Can Mary not see that she is doing all the work with little help?
Can you relate? When it comes to ministry, are you a Martha or Mary?
You see, Martha knew and understood that for things to run smoothly, there needed to be a process.
A process of organization.
A process of planning.
A process of getting things done.
And while these things are essential when we partner with the kingdom of heaven, it is crucial to know when to make things happen and when to rest. We are reminded of this in Luke 10:38-42 ESV, “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’”
Mary had chosen well.
What will you choose?
The Importance of Rest
Earthly ministry is sacred and holy work.
We are each called according to the spiritual gifts and talents the Father has gifted us. However, if we forget to rest in Him, we can become mentally, physically, and spiritually drained. And when we are depleted, we are no longer bearing good fruit.
Mark 6:31-32 ESV tells us, “The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.”
A tired soul can be harmful to the mission. Jesus knew the importance of rest and encouraged the men to get away from the crowds and take a moment to be still. He recognized the disciples’ need to slow down and pause before continuing their mission.
Without spiritual rest, we risk burnout. We cannot pour into others if we are empty and exhausted. Works without rest will contribute to burnout in the church and in our daily lives. And like Martha, a lack of rest hinders our purpose. Although Martha had the best of intentions, the pressure she felt by trying to do it all got the best of her.
The Importance of Rest in the Bible
Spiritual rest is a part of our inheritance as sons and daughters of Christ.
When we take time to rest, we renew our mind, body, and soul. We realign with the Father, our identities are reinforced, and our faith is strengthened. When we take time to pause and sit at the feet of Jesus, gleaning from His goodness and faithfulness, an exchange takes place.
It is the divine act of trading our desires for those of heaven. We surrender the reliance of our humanness for assurance in Christ. We are strengthened through the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.
You see, there is a reason we are called human BE-ings and not human Do-ings. Jesus, fully God and fully man, shows us in the Gospels just how important it is to rest.
In Mark 1, when Jesus enters the wilderness for forty days, He rests in the Father and the assurance that everything He needs will be found in the One who created the universe.
Jesus is found physically resting in Mark 4, as the boat is threatening to capsize due to the fierce storm that surrounds them. Jesus’ example reinforces that though the waves are large and the night sky is ominous, God is near and can calm the storms of our very souls.
And in Mark 6, Jesus continues to speak about the significance of rest as He encourages the disciples to take time to care for their needs as they minister to others. Mark 6:31 ESV, “And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”
Jesus knew the importance of rest and nourishment to our ministries and our spiritual growth.
Spiritual rest strengthens our faith as we place our trust in God.
How Can We Rest in God?
Let’s take a look at some tangible ways we can strengthen our faith as we rest in God.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines Sabbath (Heb. verb shabbath, meaning “to rest from labour”) as the day of rest. “The sabbath was made for man” as a day of rest and refreshment for the body and of blessing to the soul.
In Deuteronomy 5:12-14 ESV, we are encouraged to keep the Sabbath holy and rest, “Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.”
Honor Sabbath through rest and reflection.
Spend Time in Prayer and Worship
Maintaining consistent prayer and worship is essential to your spiritual rest. As you commune with God through prayer and praise, He promises to draw near.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 ESV, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.”
Spending time in prayer and worship ignites the Holy Spirit within us.
Meditate on God’s Word
Throughout the Bible, men and women meditated on God’s Word for encouragement, restoration, and strength. To meditate is to spend time in deep thought and reflection. Take time daily to simply relax, take deep breaths, and lean into God’s Word. Quiet yourself before God and seek His knowledge and wisdom.
“Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.” Psalm 119:27 ESV
Meditate on God’s Word. His word is a lamp to your feet.
God’s Truth is the Foundation
Honoring the Sabbath, spending time in consistent prayer and worship, and meditating on God’s Word will strengthen your faith and reinforce God’s truth.
Ministry comes with challenges and trials of its own. But God promises rest when you release your burdens to Him because, with Jesus, the load is light.
God’s truth is the foundation of knowing who and whose you are, so my friend, as you take the time to rest in Jesus, the stronger your faith and foundation will be when the demands of life and ministry come.
If you have a desire for spiritual growth and nourishment, my Growing in Christ Inductive Christian Coaching program is designed for women just like you. Women seeking spiritual growth and intimacy with Christ. Women who desire to reflect the attributes of Christ in their daily walk, deepening the roots of their faith. Click here to learn more about this coaching offer.