Are you obeying God’s command to rest?
The commanded rest of God is so important to Him, He included it both in the Torah, or Old Testament, and the New Testament.
In the Torah and the Old Testament (which contain the same books) the Sabbath, was introduced to the Hebrews in the book of Exodus. It was one of the 10 Commandments given to Moses, to help teach Isreal the proper way to live to fully receive all God wanted to give them, including the Promised Land that Lord had planned for them.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.Exodus 20:8-11
In the new testament, Jesus instructed the disciples to abide in Him, and to abide in His love.
You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.John 15
Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 1 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
Why create a practice of Intentional Abiding in Christ?
I believe the concept of “Sabbath” and “abiding in the Lord” serve a similar and crucial purpose in the heart and life of mankind.
It gives us space and time to meditate on God’s goodness, His scriptures, and on sharing about all He’s done in our lives with others. We are reminded that every “good and perfect gift comes from God”.
Oftentimes we will run ourselves ragged with work, and committments and even mindless pleasures like television or even with good things like podcasts. The Lord knows we tend to wander, even away from the One who loves us and has the most impact on our lives.
I believe God made resting, abiding and Sabbath a command because He knows our hearts need to rest. Resting on the couch in front of the television can’t produce this kind of “fruitful” rest. Only abiding in Him can.
I love that Jesus uses the example of a fruitful vine. He is the nourishment we need. We cannot bear fruit apart from Him. But in Him we will bear much fruit. What kind of fruit? I would suggest it’s the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Jesus abided in His Father’s commandments and in His love. He spoke these things to us so that His joy would be in us, and so that our joy would be made full.
Do you want your joy to be “made full”? Here’s three suggestions on how to begin.
3 ways to develop a practice of Intentional Abiding in the Lord.
Practice One: Meditate on and pray the scriptures: 5 mins
This is a practice you can do once a day or even throughout the day and I believe is an example of “washing yourself” with the water of the Word.
Find a scripture that encourages you and reminds you of the power of God. Read it, and then break it down into “prayer points” you can use to thank God, or to ask Him to move on your behalf. Lastly be still and listen for the Lord’s response. You’ll find that the more you pray and listen, the more revelation He’ll give you about the scripture. The more you abide in His word, the more beautiful He becomes, because you are drawing nearer to His heart.
Two scriptures that are powerful and wonderful for this practice are:
Psalm 23: The Lord is My Shepherd
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Phillipans 4:6-7. Be anxious for nothing
6.Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Practice Two: Write the Word – 15 mins
In this practice, you’ll take a scripture that displays God’s love and print it out. Then set your timer for 10 minutes and write out the scripture by hand. You can use a plain journal or even just some scrap paper. Again, you’ll want to take a moment to pray and ask God, where do I need encouragement? Then choose a scripture or a group of scriptures to begin with.
Go slow. Focus on just one scripture a day, or even one for the entire week! The point is to get the words into your heart, and to pray them to God. His word does not return void. It does beautiful things as it changes us from the inside out. Journal underneath your scripture writing what the Lord is saying to you.
Some things to ask yourself are:
- Do I believe this scripture? Why or why not?
Ask the Lord for a picture of this scripture in action.
- Thank Him for being exactly what the scripture describes, in your life
- Ask Him to intervene in your life.
He may ask you to lay some things down. To slow down. To abide in the task of writing, journaling and listening.
When you finish, thank Him for this special time. Ask Him to continue to reveal His love to you throughout the day.
Beloved, God doesn’t ask us to do anything He wont’ help us accomplish. Jesus practiced “abiding in God’s” love and specifically commanded us to do the same, so that we would receive the fullness of His love on earth.
Practice Three: Find a church or commuity of believers to fellowship with, study the word and walk out life with. (2-3 hours one day a week)
His design for us as believers, is to never be alone. Jesus surrounded Himself with community. With the disciples. So if you are feeling discouraged, please be dilligent to find a community of trustworthy believers in Christ.
Abiding in the fellowship of the saints is part of abiding in Him.
It’s also a command He gave to the disciples:
Let us hold resolutely to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.Hebrews 10
Jesus calls the church the “bride” of Christ, and also the “Body” of Christ. So it makes sense that abiding in Him also includes abiding in the “Body”.
Church isn’t just about walking into a building, or checking off a box. It’s designed to encourage you, build your spiritual strength by through receiving biblical truths, and to inspire you to set your gaze on God for a deeper, stronger relationship with Him, that will serve you all the days of your life.
I pray that you have a church home you love, that isn’t just a “safe place” but a place that challenges you to grow in the Lord and in loving your neighbors.
There you have it! Three ways you can practice “Intentional Resting” in the Lord.
Remember Jesus teaches that “abiding” in Him and His love helps you to bear fruit, good things that bring nourishment to yourself and others. And also, makes your joy complete.
I pray that as you integrate one of these three ways to practice intentional abiding, you will see tangible fruit of peace, joy and love coming forth in your life.
Do you practice a form of ‘Intentional Abiding”? Or are you wanting to create one? Please let me know what has been keeping you from moving forward or what’s bringing breakthrough in your faith and life!!