Rest

THE THEOLOGY OF SLEEP

Why do we sleep?

It is a manifestation of God’s purpose. He made us to mentally and physically need (and enjoy) sleep. 

There is rare condition known as Fatal Insomnia. These not people who have trouble sleeping, they cannot sleep. It quickly produces symptoms such as hallucinations, delirium, confusional states like that of dementia, and eventually it causes death.

But what about the theology of sleep?

What should we recognize about God and ourselves from this state of being which uses up approximately one third of our life?

Sleep declares that we must depend upon God’s care

Sleep reminds us that we are human, not divine. We must sleep, but God never does.

Sleep reminds us we are limited, but God is not. Our battery runs down and must be recharged. God continuously sustains everything in existence. Molecules move and hearts beat because God wills them to do so. The Puritan scholar, John Owen, said it is as if God’s magnificent work of creation is repeated every second.

Sleep reminds us we are vulnerable, and God is sovereign. We must put down our tasks and take time off from protecting who and what we love. God is never more or less in control. He is ever and absolutely sovereign.

Since sleep is part of God’s plan for us, both physiologically and theologically, take full advantage of sleep.

As you close your eyes, thank God that for the next several hours, you can rest your body and relax your mind.

As you close your eyes, praise God that he will be in complete control, while you are in a state of complete oblivion.

As you close your eyes, take joy in knowing that even when you must put aside your tasks, God remains active in everything that is important to you.

For those who are tempted to consider sleep as an interruption, and who think life would be much better if days lasted a few hours longer; you might consider rethinking that perspective. Is life more productive when you are behind the wheel or when God is being trusted to be faithful? Do we actually think that what we need most is more time to labor, rather than having a more consistent trust in God?

God is deserving of our rest, and that our rest would be full of contentment.Instead of “counting sheep” when sleep becomes elusive, try counting God’s faithfulness.

Before you slip into sleep each night, consider the theology of what is about to take place – and rejoice that God will be glorious even as you sleep.

HUMILITY IS RELAXING

 

Pride is a big fat liar!

 Although pride lies to us in many ways, it chiefly tries to convince us that life will be better right now if we will focus on ourselves or assert ourselves.

Bethany Jenkins leads us in the opposite direction in this article, “There’s Nothing More Relaxing Than Humility”.

Pause to think about the way pride takes up enormous amounts of space in our minds, action and emotions. It continually pushes us to grab and fight for self. Think about how exhausting all this can be. Everything from how we react on the highway to how we interpret people’s comments, all become draining exercises when pride is leading us.

Pride disturbs the rest we crave.

Pride does this by sending us running in the opposite direction from where God is moving. That means when pride rules over our lives, we are depending on our own strength and wisdom rather than resting in Christ! Taking what pride wants us to cling to and casting it upon Christ is rest, because we know he will handle it all far better than we can.

It may take a while to get used to this mindset, but try thinking about how this potentially frustrating moment will be much more relaxing, if we simply turning it over to Christ and let his agenda rule our life instead of that no-good-liar named pride.

 

A SURE PATH TO REST

Rest

The longer life goes on, the more highly we value it

No so much physical rest (although that is sweet too), far more we want rest for our souls

There are many ways in which the world seeks after rest, but the most enjoyable pursuits in this world eventually reveal their ragged edges

Here are some key thoughts about finding more rest for our souls

Perfect rest is found in perfect holiness

Only God is perfectly holy

More commune (fellowship) with God, will bring an increasing stream of rest to us

Our complete rest will come when we are completed in holiness – our glorification

When we find perfect holiness in heaven, we will also be surrounded by perfectly holy people

Holiness in God, in us, and in everyone around us, is necessary for complete and undisturbed rest

Christian, is it possible for us to think differently than this? Can we really believe any other path will satisfy our souls?

So drink from the stream that is true rest

Exalt the holiness and perfections of God, looking at them from every angle so your soul increases its appreciation for them

Spend time enjoying fellowship with God, with the same heart as that of a thirsty person who comes upon a cool stream

Drink from God’s holy word so your thoughts will be shaped by holiness

Put God’s holy ways into practice with increasing consistency in every area of life, knowing that each application of obedience is an insertion of heavenly goodness into your life

Pursue biblical community with those who also seek the holiness of God. Their holiness will splash on you, as yours will splash on them

Yes, rest – sweet rest, although not yet perfect, can be found and experienced day to day. For God who is holy loves to share himself with those who lovingly yield to him

REST

One of the things I brought home from Belarus was a cold. It was a typical cold mixed with jet lag. The symptoms included a sore throat, congestion, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, wheezing and a general feeling of blah.

The worst part was feeling tired! I was always tired, no matter how much I slept, I felt tired. This was not a sleepy tired or an I’ve-worked-too-hard tired. This was an exhaustion from the inside out. Every time I woke up from sleep, I wanted to sleep some more

It was on one of those days after I had slept for 10 hours and lay in bed enjoying a post sleeping nap, that I was reminded of God’s glorious promise to give us eternal rest

This is not the rest of sleep that our bodies so often long for, it is the rest that our souls crave, yet have never known

In Genesis chapter one, we are told that God rested on the seventh day. God did not need rest from the fatigue of His creation labors; rather it was the rest of completion. God had created a perfect world and He rested in that there was nothing to improve.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews chapter 4 that a similar rest is waiting for us. It is the rest of our being completed in Christ. Oh, we will have much to do for all eternity, but having to become godly will not be one of them.

Think of the grandeur of this rest:

No struggle with a sinful nature

No discouragement from another failure

No wrestling with fear and uncertainty

No daily battles against the evil one

No being battered by a harsh world

No fights, no arguments, no discord, no slander, no heartbreak, no disturbances of the peace!

In its place will be the rest of all things being in submission to God and in harmony with each other; the rest of abiding love between each other and for God. It will be the rest of being whole.

The Bible says in this life all creation groans. Those without Christ groan in the despair of a brokenness. The people of God also groan, but it is with expectation, like a pregnant woman giving birth. The groans are real, but a wondrous joy will soon replace them.

So although this is not the time of our rest, we can have peace, because the rest of eternity is getting nearer every day!