Another week has passed and I feel strongly to teach on something that I had to learn the real value of over the years in ministry and life in general. This week, we are going to talk about learning to REST IN THE LORD! I'm not just talking about physical rest, which certainly is important and we will discuss it. I am focusing this week on Spiritual Rest. The ability to actually cast cares and concerns on the Lord instead of carrying them around everywhere we go. One problem the body of Christ suffers with is the ability to trust God to the point that worry becomes a thing of the past. Too often we carry around our burdens and stress for so long that we forget that Christ died so we could have a life of abundance and PEACE! It's inherently stamped on our brains from the time we reach adulthood, that we have a responsibility to carry all our concerns with us, yet Jesus said, His burden is light!
The first real step in learning how to truly cast ALL of our cares and stress on the Lord, is to learn to control our tongue. Yes, that little monster below your nose and above your chin. That little monster has the ability to speak life, or death, or even both in the same sentence. As committed Bible believing people, we have to learn to discipline ourselves in speech. If you don't learn to speak victory over your troubles, you will never overcome them permanently. Sure, life will get easier at times, but until you learn to crucify the very words you allow to come across your lips, trouble is sure to come back in due time. What you have to understand is, the very second you made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life, His spirit made home inside you. He dwells in you and you have all that power inside of you, you just have to USE IT to see resolution. The first scripture I want to look at this week is:
Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
What I really want you to see this week is exactly what this scripture is saying. YOUR opinion and speech of yourself will surely reflect exactly who you are! It's no mystery that people who speak victory and blessings over their lives, live in victory and prosperity! The same is true for people who constantly degrade themselves with their own words, they live in defeat. In order for us to find rest in the Lord and learn how to cast our cares upon Him, WE MUST learn to stop seeing ourselves as anything except, capable people who can DO ANYTHING with the Lord's help and guidance! If your constantly criticizing yourself and your ability to accomplish things in life, STOP IT! Your only opening a door in your mind for Satan to walk right into and torture you with more negative thoughts. Usually, Satan doesn't have to try very hard for people to feel incomplete or defeated. People have a tendency to do that to themselves without his help.
Why is it that we have tendencies at times to see ourselves as failures full of short comings? The answer is simple, people have a tendency to listen to what the world says about them, INSTEAD of listening to what GOD HAS SAY about them. This is where finding rest is important. When your at true rest with the Lord, you could care less what people think about you. You don't waste any unnecessary time wondering if people are talking about you. You don't constantly have a guard up, ready to defend yourself. You simply enter into a mindset that, you could care less about the affairs or opinions of this world. YOU ONLY care about what GOD thinks and says about you! When you reach that mindset, YOU WILL FIND REST. You might be thinking that this would be a hard thing to do. Most people have spent most their lives living like the rest of the world, caring about others opinions, etc. Well, the truth is, it isn't easy making the decision to be at rest. Not at first anyways. Growing in the Lord and making new decisions of deeper commitment require sacrifice and time. If it were easy, everyone would do it. BUT WE ARE NOT JUST ANYONE, WE ARE GODS CHOSEN GENERATION! Even though it won't be easy getting rid of your old tendencies, IT IS possible. The questions comes down to if you want to be at rest bad enough, or do you want to stay the same, carrying around your burdens every day.
So, back to the first step, the tongue. The easiest way to tame that little monster is to practice. I know this sounds too simple, yet practice is key. Start by training your tongue to speak NOTHING BUT praises and thanksgiving when you first wake up in the morning to the Lord. Make it a absolute PRIORITY, before anything else, tell God how much you appreciate Him and love Him. Don't start your day asking for needs or complaint to the Lord. No-one wants to wake up and hear complaining, not even God. He deserves a much better first conversation of the day. Asides from the fact that He ALL READY knows your troubles and needs, He simply deserves more respect when you first wake up. So, every day for the next week, when you awake, start your day by PHYSICALLY speaking your gratitude to your Lord and Savior. Make sure to speak out loud. That way Satan and every demon from hell within earshot can hear your praises unto God. By speaking out loud, you are showing the devil that you have had enough of waking up discouraged and stressed. You have decided to start each and every day by glorifying your Heavenly Father!
The next step, is to take that spirit of thankfulness and gratitude, and let it proceed with each and every person you see and come in contact with throughout the day! When someone tries to get you to come into agreement with their negativity and says, "this day is just another terrible day, ugh,," Tell them that you WILL NOT come into agreement with that, you have cast ALL your cares upon the Lord, and TODAY WILL BE A GREAT DAY! Another thing you have to remember is this, never be moved by how you feel or what you see. Be moved by obedience to the Word of God! Regardless of how bad things seem to be or feel, Gods Word will not return unto Him void. The Word of God is still the absolute truth, regardless of circumstances. This is why Jesus said this:
John 16:33 (KJV) 33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
The only way we as Christians will ever be able to be at rest with the Lord is, to be ready IN and OUT of season. In other words.. we cannot only be at rest with things are going great. The unbelievers in this world are capable of that. As Christians, we have to learn to be at rest, regardless of troubles or trials. We have to make the hard nosed, dedicated decision, come hell or high water, we will NOT be overcome. This attitude and kind of commitment will have Satan shaking in fear. It's the kind of attitude that never backs down from the Word of God, refuses sin, and isn't satisfied unless God is glorified. Jesus himself said we would have troubles in this world. He found that out real fast. Shortly after he was born here on earth, he had people looking for Him who wanted to kill Him. Jesus understood that troubles will exist, but that doesn't mean that we have to overcome by them.
One thing that is crucial is to remember that YOUR NOT ALONE! We have talked about this before in other blogs. Jesus Christ, the Hope of Glory, King of Kings, the Risen Savior, The ONE who defeated death, IS WITH YOU! NO matter what happens, He is with you! The Word of God says that He will NEVER leave us, or forsake us. (Hebrews 13) Sometimes we feel as if He's not around, or He has forgotten about us. When that happens, it's time to examine your life. Look for any sin or anything that could be separating you from feeling His presence in your life. He's always with us, we just cannot feel His presence often when we are sinning or doubting. This is why the Word of God says, sin separates us from God. You'll never be able to be at rest with the Lord if you have sin in your life that you are unwilling to repent for and change. This should be obvious, but a lot of people don't think about it. They just assume that God should do what they need, whenever they need it. But this mindset is the farthest thing from understanding the Relationship/Lordship connection that was established upon our decision of conversion.
He most certainly is our friend and companion, but He is also our Lord. We can never forget that. Obedience to God and His Word is the basis for all things in relation to God and His Word. So, if your having a hard time being at rest with the Lord, it would benefit you greatly to examine your heart. If their is anything in it that isn't pleasing to the Lord, GET IT OUT! Repent and move forward in the presence of God! I assure you, a life of rest in the Lord is beyond greater than a life of stress and sin. I lived a life of sin, depression, and defeat for years. Life was terrible back then. Hope only came in small portions, but most nights ended in heartache and sorrow. I will never live a life like that again. And to be certain that I never go back to that life, I have to crucify my flesh DAILY and depend on God and His Word as truth in my life, to obtain the rest I need in Him. There are so many steps in the process of resting in the Lord that I would have to write another book, just on this topic. Patience, being another major step. Learning to trust Gods timing as opposed to our own timing. Learning to submit to God with our thoughts, words, actions, etc. This is a truly process that takes time and practice, as stated above.
I will close this week with one last thought. Regardless of what you've been through or are possibly going through right now, there is no better place to be than to be in complete rest, trusting the Lord with our lives every single day. Remember, Jesus said "28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11)
You'll notice that Jesus said to take His Yoke. In other words, it's a team effort. You don't have to carry your yoke alone. If we work with the Lord, in relationship, and LEARN OF HIM,(Discipline our lives to line up with His Words), WE WILL FIND REST. You'll also notice that when we give our stress and anxiety to Him, we receive in return His yoke, Which is EASY and His burden is light! This is amazing promise we can receive from our Savior, if only we would learn to trust Him and not lean to our own understanding or thought process. (Proverbs 3) I challenge each and everyone one of you this week to start the resting process in the Lord, with discipling your tongue. Remember, from the abundance of the Heart, the Mouth speaks, so let's speak praises unto our Savior every morning, throughout the day, and at night! And with the right amount of discipline and commitment to Gods Word, we will find our rest we have so desperately been seeking! Also, refuse to allow anything negative to become truth in your ears this week! Don't listen to what people have to say, listen to what Gods Word has to say! Refuse the worlds ignorance, and receive YOUR REST! No matter how tempted you are to listen to gossip or nonsensical worldly garbage, refuse it! This applies to everything from the music we listen to, to the shows we watch, to the people we allow ourselves to be around. It's your life, live in rest or live in stress. The choice truly is yours. I pray you will find rest.
Until next week..
~ Pastor Ian Potter
Reverend Ian Potter is a Spirit Filled Evangelist who preaches the Raw , Uncompromised , Gospel of Jesus Christ.