We want rest, but we often get held back by some subtle obstacles every day. Here is what I find keeps us from entering into rest on a daily basis.
1. A hard heart.If you feel the Father leading and guiding you, incline your ear to Him. Be willing to face new areas He may be leading you toward. Is He asking you to face a certain fear or rejection issue? Allow Him to touch your heart at a deeper level. Keeping a soft heart beforeGod is a key to rest.
Allow God to focus on who you are rather than always asking Him about where you are going. People who live in rest focus more on identity and relationship than destination.
2. Unbelief.A heart of unbelief deters the ways of God and gives the enemy's camp a field day. If you struggle with seeing an optimistic future with God in it, unbelief is there.Unbelief involves an unwillingness to be convinced.
Unbelief prevents you from walking in what God has for you and shrouds you in fear and heaviness. It gives a death blow to hope and is a block to rest (Heb. 3:12).
3. Not hanging around rest-filled people.To live in rest, you need to find people who manifest rest or are headed there. Get around them, and let who they are rub off on you. Many times, we just need to be reminded about our place in rest.
One component to tackling unbelief is being in intimate friendships with others in the body, where we can speak into each other's lives, exhorting one another daily (Heb. 3:13). We are children of God with the power of God residing inside of us. He loves us dearly and fiercely, and we have all of God's backing at all times. Sometimes, we just need to be reminded. Resist the temptation to isolate, and ask God to show you one or two people to open up to.
4. Non-stop living.Daily exhorting one another can help to snap us out of negative spirals and see the good hope and future God has for us. As believers under the New Covenant, one of our highest aims is to abide in God's ongoing presence, His rest and His love, even amidst stressful situations. In order to do this, we must begin to make a conscious and consistent effort to stop, slow down and take a moment to meditate on God.
When the enemy wants to take us down with drivenness and striving, we must cultivate the opposite spirit by intentionally slowing down, inviting God into our present situation and meditating on what He is saying to us for that particular moment. The Word says it is "not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit" (Zech 4:6b). A great place to start is meditating on God's love for you and your love for Him. Practice taking your peace.
5. Too many agendas.I find when I live in the true rest of God, He wants me to focus on a couple of priorities. I can immediately tell I am living out of rest when my to-do list and agenda piles up sky-high. Sometimes I can let achieving goals get the best of me, and there is little time for margin.
I have had to learn to stick with the few priorities heaven has over my life. Those areas will produce the most fruit. The other stuff will be just hay and stubble. I've have also learned to love the down times, the stillness and times of the day where there is no agenda but to be in relationship and rest in that.
6. Forgetting what God is saying. We so easily forget what's true and important. We leak all the time. I know I do.The reason regular meditation on God's Word is so important is because we need daily reminders to enter into belief that leads us into rest.
Spending regular time remembering God's Word is crucial, since the Holy Spirit will bring the Word to remembrance, guiding you in your present situations.
God is not interested in doing everything for us but in partnering with us. Give up striving or passivity and instead take a time-out to come into agreement with what He is saying for your situation. Then yield to it. You'll manifest a steady, sound-minded power that will blow the world away.
7. Impatience.Similarly, we must be patient and gentle with ourselves as we journey into rest. Be gracious to yourself. Rejoice in even a few moments of rest initially, knowing you are on your way to entire days of rest. Be quick to forgive yourself when you fall out of rest and get back in.
Mark DeJesushas served as an experienced communicator since the 1990s. As a teacher, author, coach and radio host, Mark is deeply passionate about awakening hearts and equipping people towards transformational living. His message involves getting to the core hindrances that contribute to the breakdown of our relationships, our health and our day-to-day peace. He is well-versed on struggles that originate within our thoughts. Through his own personal transformation, Mark is experienced in helping people overcome and live fruitful lives. He is the author of five books and hundreds of teachings. He hosts a weekly radio podcast show called Transformed You and blogs at markdejesus.com. His writings have been featured frequently on Charismamag.com.