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The Rest Myth

 

The Culture of the Kingdom
 
The Bible speaks of the Kingdom of God 86 times in the New Testament. When we refer to the Kingdom of God, we are referring to the place in the spirit realm where God is and reigns. It is important that we understand the nature of the Kingdom of God if we want to live in it and have our hearts and lives filled with it.

Every place here on earth has a certain culture about it. Whether it is a country, a city, a place of business, or someone’s home; all of these places will have specific characteristics, attributes, and certain qualities about them that contribute to their culture. For example, any city you visit will have a certain type of people living within it, a few primary industries, a specific type of economy, and a particular feel in and around the city.

The Kingdom of God is the same way. Scripture refers to the Kingdom of God as a city (Heb 11:10, 16, 12:22, 13:14, Rev 3:12). This Kingdom/City of God is an unseen place in the spirit realm. Even though it is unseen, it is a very real place. Just like any other city here on earth, the Kingdom of God has boundaries, a rule of government, inhabitants, and its own specific characteristics. The Kingdom/City of God is very distinct with its particular culture, economy, climate, and ways.

The Kingdom of God is a place of peace. The peace of the Kingdom is not the kind of peace the world understands. The world’s version of peace is the absence of turmoil. The peace of the Kingdom is of a different realm. The peace of the Kingdom is not the absence of something, but it is actually a potent commodity of power and life.

In the Kingdom of God there is the complete reign and rule of Jesus. Where the Kingdom of God is, Jesus is Lord. You must be subject to King Jesus if you are to enter the Kingdom/City of God. The Kingdom of God is not a democracy, but it is a monarchy with only one King. The laws of love and truth govern the land.

The Kingdom of God is a place of joy. This is not a shallow happiness that is based on circumstance, but it is joy in the Holy Spirit that is full of life and righteousness.

The Kingdome/City of God is real, it is now, and you are welcomed to enter into this city to enjoy its benefits.

 
 

Kingdom Rest Is Not Of This World
 

Having our hearts filled with Jesus Himself is the same thing as living life in the Kingdom/City of God. The scripture teaches us that “the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 14:17). Righteousness, peace, and joy are active characteristics of the Kingdom. These qualities of the Kingdom are vibrant and full of life.

There is a lot of activity within the Spirit of God, yet at the same time it is a place of perfect rest and stillness. Many Christians have heard about and have been taught to “rest in God.” Many have mistaken this as a fleshly passivity.

The Lord is moving in the Spirit. He is speaking to us during our daily individual lives. He is leading us, revealing scripture to us, and having us pray and intercede for others. He is pouring His love out upon us continually. All of these things provide for plenty of activity within our hearts.

The Invitation
 

Life can be exhausting. People, jobs, problems, and stress all wear us out. The weight of keeping the law is unbearable (Acts 15:10). Jesus invites us to rest and find refreshment. He welcomes us to Himself. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30).

Because of the requirements of daily labor and the weariness of man, God fixes a certain day every week for His people to do no work (Exodus 20:10). This “sabbath rest” is created for man to replenish himself. However, in the New Testament economy, Jesus has become our Sabbath rest.

“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” (Heb 4:9-10).

The Paradox of Rest
 

A paradox is something that is seemingly contradictory or opposite. If we continue to read the passage in Hebrews chapter 4, we see something very interesting. Hebrews 4:11 tells us: “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.”

The paradox is this: Although there is a valid rest available for the people of God, we must diligently enter into it. It requires diligence to rest! The fact that we are to “enter into rest” implies that it is possible to not be “in rest”. The rest of God is not automatic. We must be diligent to enter it. Therefore, there is work required for the believer. Not the works of the law, but the work of actively believing, trusting, and depending on Christ is the work of a believer (John 6:29). This brings us back to being according to the Spirit. If we are not engaged in our hearts and if we are not actively trusting, we are not resting in God.

The primary thing that our day should be about is what the Lord is doing in our hearts and in the Spirit. This is participating in the “active rest” of God. If you are bored, not content, and empty in your heart, then you are according to the flesh. If you have no passionate desire for the Lord and the things of the Lord, then you are according to the flesh and not participating in the Kingdom of God. We should not call emptiness and lack of passion “resting”. Rather, it should be a warning sign to us to turn our hearts to believe the good news and receive the Lord’s life and love.

We are all in the process of growing. Hopefully you are increasing in not only the quality, but also the amount of time during your day that you are abiding and actively resting in the Kingdom.

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