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The Importance Of Spiritual Rest

Being a Christian is, without a doubt, a wonderful thing. Not only are we spiritually reborn, but we now belong to a family. A community of believers from all different walks of life, who share in the same Spirit. We each have our gifts, roles, and callings, but we are still working together for one grand purpose. To share God’s love with the rest of the world.

Mark 16:15-16 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

There is so much depth to this scripture. We have a calling to go out into the world and share the gospel, but it also comes with a stern warning; Those who do not believe “shall be damned.” This is serious business. It’s all-or-nothing. You’re either “in” or you’re “out”, but it’s our choice and we can be assured that God will honor His Word.

Resting Up

Having been commissioned with something of such importance, one might thing that I would be encouraging you to jump right on to the front lines and start trying to convert people. Well not necessarily. Sometimes success means preparing, and sometimes preparing requires periods of rest.When Paul is sharing his rundown of the “full armor of God”, he speaks of preparation:

Eph 6:14-15 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

So let’s use a modern day example:

If I was training to compete in a game of football, I would certainly need to train to be successfully, but even during that training there would be time I would need to rest. If not, when game day arrives, I’m going to be too exhausted to do my best. The same thing is true with the Gospel. We need to train ourselves so we know God’s word, so that we can be ready when we are called upon to do our part when we are called upon.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

We also really need to know the playbook. We can’t expect people to understand salvation if we, as born again Christians, don’t know one verse, book, or chapter from the next. Sure, the Holy Spirit is there through it, but we’re vessels for the Holy Spirit, and we need to be ready to do our part when the time comes.

Spiritual Rest

God has a plan. Think of Him as the “Coach.,” He’s there for us and knows how the game needs to unfold from start to finish. Now what he needs from you is to be prepared. When the time comes to make a play, you need to be ready. This means resting sometimes. It’s sitting on the bench spiritually and being patient. Study if you need to, but don’t be too exhausted to act when the time comes. Furthermore, as part of a community or team, there are other “players” that need to do their part. Sometimes even before you’re called forward. You’re not unimportant! It’s just not quite your turn yet!

The Larger Picture

So let’s talk paintings now. Eternal life is the masterpiece, but the painting needs to be painted first. It may even tell a story, but there are likely many components to that story. Now think of the sinner’s life as a painting. There may be parts of their life that need to be drawn before it’s your time to be brushed into it. This isn’t a call to be lazy. I’m just suggesting to you, once again; consider being patient. Lean on the Lord and let Him guide you into it. He knows every stroke of the masterpiece even while it is still a blank canvas. We need to trust in him and be guided. Sometimes we can want to interject ourselves into something to the point it can be toxic. It may not be our intent, but if you start throwing your greens and reds, when the right stroke is yellow, our interference may seem more like a stain than something that is unified with the other parts.

Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Resting In Prison

So let me throw something else at you. In the Book of Acts, we read about how Paul and Silas were put in prison. These were two men who were our preaching the gospel, which is interrupted by violence. They were beaten and bruised for the sake of the Gospel.

Acts 16:22-23 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:

I can only imagine how hectic the lives of these two men had to have been. They were fulfilling their calling, but they were taking a walloping in the meantime. Sitting in prison in shackles probably seemed to rest to the,. They even took it as an opportunity to sing and praise God.

Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

What’s even more exciting is the opportunity this permitted. An earthquake shook the foundation of the prison so violently that Paul and Silas were free. The jailer had an :”Oh no!” moment and was about to end his own life. But something special happened. Paul and Silas spoke to him and let them know, “Hey, we’re still here and we don’t want you to harm yourself.” Moments later, the jailer accepted Jesus into his life. A man that was on the brink of ending his own life. Imagine if Paul and Silas had not been there and maybe some other prisoners took of running. That might’ve been it for the jailer. But that wasn’t God’s plan. God’s plan was to bring that him to Christ.

Final Thought

Let me make it clear. I’m not telling you to infinitely be in a state of rest. I’m telling you to seek God. If He wants you to rest, then take it as a chance to prepare your yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually so you’re ready when it’s your time to leap into action. We don’t know how everything in front of us is going to play out, but God does. The more we trust Him and follow His lead, the more effectively we will be able to carry out his great commission and share the Gospel of Christ with others. Thank you for reading and God bless.

About Joel Bauer

Joel M. Bauer is a 49-year-old U.S. Army Veteran from Dunn, NC, which is just outside of Raleigh. After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, he attended school at Taylor University, a Christian liberal arts school, in Fort Wayne, IN, where he received his BS in social work and psychology. He has worked in such places as a homeless shelter, a community based treatment center for severe mental illnesses, a school for troubled students, and other social service agencies. His current endeavor is to build The Bottom Line website into a site that inspires both Christians and non-Christians alike, and brings glory to God.

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  1. Enjoyed reading your article.
    I am reminded that Jesus called His disciples to come aside to rest. He knows are human weaknesses and calls us to have both physical and spiritual repose.
    I have heard about ministers burning out; some to the point of quitting.
    Perhaps some think that they have to keep on pushing themselves by denying themselves the right to relax. Others have it in mind that they focus on works to score points with God which is a misconception for it isn’t our works that gets us into His kingdom.
    There are times when God has to intervene in ways we would not choose for ourselves. Could be physical problems that we would not desire. I
    I enjoyed your remarks about a masterpiece the Lord is working on in individual lives and His willingness to use us to accomplish His work.
    A very important message to ponder and learn from.
    Thank you.

    • Absolutely. Really wanted to emphasize that sometimes we need to step back for a moment and see where God wants us to be. Sometimes it’s good just to be patient and wait. We don’t see the whole picture as God sees it. He knows what’s best and when we should act. Additionally, as you mentioned, it helps us avoid burnout. I think maybe when Paul and Silas were in the prison that maybe, despite being bruised up, that maybe it was still a relief from some of the challenges they were facing. Instead of being angry, it was an opportunity to sing praises to the Lord.

  2. Hello Joel,

    An excellent in-depth article filled with an important message and great scripture to support the message. Rest is important, Jesus always had to “go away alone” to pray and meditate and refuel. He needed the connection with His Father, and to be revitalized from His mission, and seeing the throngs of thousands.

    Thank you for taking the time to write this, really like your style of writing.

    I enjoyed it immensely.
    God Bless you~

    • Thanks for the encouraging words. You made a very good point about Jesus having to go away alone sometimes. I can imagine all those experiences with the thousands had to have been exhausting to the point of needing to temporarily be separate from that environment, and if it affected Jesus, all the more reason we should consider it as well. God bless.

  3. Yes, I think you are right Joel in saying that God leads us into times of rest for a reason. Part of that reason is to strengthen us so that we can ‘leap into action’ again when called. Mini sabbaticals have always been a part of my Christian journey, even if they are just for one full day. We need time to reset and be refreshed in God’s presence and yet we underestimate how vital this is for sustainability. Thank you for this article, Joel.

    • Thanks for the great feedback Jennifer. It’s always nice to hear what others think on a subject. Yes, sabbaticals are definitely helpful so that we can refresh ourselves. Sometimes it even makes it easier to study when we don’t feel the pressure of being rushed. So glad you shared. God bless.

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