Ever asked someone how they’re doing – only to be given a well-rehearsed response?
It might sound something like, “Oh, I’m good. Very busy these days!” and usually comes with a forced smile and shifty eyes. If you have, you might have witnessed a chronic illness known as “manic defence” – a symptom of our deep discontent and exhaustion with life.
Us metropolitans tend to suppress our unrest with a flurry of activity. We distract ourselves from our restlessness – never finding the path to God’s rest for us.But we need to enter that rest.
Paradoxically, it requires remarkable effort (Hebrews 4:11) to enter that place of rest. We need to ask ourselves, what’s the opportunity cost of missing that rest? I wonder if we sometimes cling too tightly to Ephesians 2:10 and forget that the work – however significant – does not define us.
Our God-given ministry is not indispensable, and neither are we. Esther 4:14 reminds us that God’s purposes will come to pass, and it is our privilege to be used by Him in our time.
But this privilege must never become the idol of identity we worship through incessant striving.
Jesus’ greatest commandments are to love God, and to love your neighbour as yourself.
But how can I love my neighbour if I don’t even love myself (Ephesians 5:29)? It’s not selfish to love yourself! That’s intentionally nurturing ourselves to holistic maturity by caring for and protecting ourselves.
We also need to plug ourselves into a trustworthy community. Find one which is safe, authentic and unconditionally loving.
An authentic community isn’t simply one that teaches and instructs. It’s one that walks with you through life’s pain, disappointment and struggles. So learn not just to give love, but also to receive it from trusted brethren in humility and gratitude.
We’re all in this together.Look for rest beyond your body and heart.
Your spiritual hunger can only be satiated by God who is Spirit. Press in to know Him who knows you – who knit you together in the womb and called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.
His embrace warms the cold and deadened parts of our inner being as we begin to resonate with His rhythms of grace instead of our society’s. His breath fans the embers of our soul into flame each time we feel smothered by the world. He assures us that in the grand narrative of the cosmos, we matter, and we are loved perfectly.
Today, ask the Holy Spirit for a peace that transcends understanding. Enter into His presence where there is fullness of joy. With our Good Shepherd, we can walk through life’s darkest valleys with an overflowing cup.
BUILD YOUR ALTARS OF THANKSGIVING, PRAISE AND WORSHIP
Having fulfilled the law, Jesus has brought the temple into us. Spiritually, we are able to enter God’s presence by first walking through the temple gates, the outer and inner courts, and finally into the Holy of Holies.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.” (Psalm 100:4)
Thanksgiving brings to mind our testimony of God, and the reality of Him in our lives. Here we remember His goodness, our daily bread, our health, and every good gift that comes from Him.
Bringing a sacrifice of praise to the altar is where a divine exchange takes place – where we pin our sins to the cross and receive God’s forgiveness. Praise is the choice to give Him all glory despite the things we do not understand. But God honours the sacrifice of our hearts with His presence.
But most people stop here, and thus struggle to live the victorious life. While anybody can give God thanks, and honour (praise) – only the righteous can enter into worship. To enter the Holy of Holies, we must pass through the gates of thanksgiving, and the courts of praise. Our sin is purged at the courts as we take on the righteousness of our Saviour.
Now God desires communion, intimacy, and fellowship with His children. Here’s where you are invited to slow down and simply sit at His feet.
“Give unto the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalm 29:2)
When we enter into worship, the Spirit of God meets us, speaks and imparts. We receive empowerment and direction, not to merely inject life into our legs for the rat race – but to run God’s race. Lives completely surrendered to God become sensitive to His lead – full partakers of His divine rest.
Although we’ve tasted and seen of His goodness in moments of worship, it rarely lasts beyond a weekend church service. More than an activity, routine or song, let’s adopt a posture of worship in all we do. What a life, to always be fully surrendered to His good, acceptable and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
As you learn to be still in Him, He promises to make your life beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).