Entering into God’s Rest
(Reprint of an article of the same title appearing at BibleResources.org)
How can we overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed? In the hour we live, there is so much to do with seemingly no time to get everything done. Responsibilities seem insurmountable and we see no way out of the modern day “rat race.” The world around us seems to crowd us in with overwhelming circumstances, impending doom and threatening evil, which adds additional stress to our already busy days. God wants us to be able to enter into His rest and learn to follow His leading in all things so that these foreboding things will not threaten us as, He wants us to have His perspective. God does not want us to live stressful lives when we face these kinds of circumstances. We all, at times, find ourselves with more things that need to be done that just keep piling up, while we are unable to complete the things we already have on our “to do” list. The Bible addresses this dilemma throughout its pages. The book of Proverbs is a good place to start reading as it is a very practical book that can bring help and rest to our souls in our everyday lives. (We offer a daily devotional book that is a mini-study of Proverbs which can be read in just 5 minutes a day). Go to this link:
God’s Wisdom for Daily Living: https://bibleresources.org/daily-bible-devotional/
I want to share, as a Christian, the things that helped me to overcome this feeling of being overwhelmed and gave me the freedom to live my days in peace and joy. I want to give you some information on how to manage your time as well as your projects so you can do the same and enter into God’s rest spoken of in the New Testament.
Hebrews 4:1-11 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, Today, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
What must we do to enter into His rest? We all have to do this, we have to make some changes – spirit, soul and body. I heard a great preacher years ago make this statement: “I found out walking with the Lord, that if there were going to be any changes made, it was going to be on my end, because God never changes.”
This may sound strange, but we have to work at entering into His rest. However, that work is to learn how to hear God and obey Him and walk in the Spirit. I am going to furnish you a short outline of how to make the needed changes that will eliminate stress and fear and depression which leads to that overwhelming feeling.
First, we must remember we are a triune being, as we are a spirit, and we have a soul and we live in a body. Here is a check list of things to work on in each of these areas in order to enter into His rest. This is really just making a total commitment to God and then following Him in obedience every day.
CHANGING THE SPIRITUAL MAN
We start by changing the spiritual man. This applies to men and women, but the Bible refers to our spirit as the spiritual man, so this includes women. The Bible also speaks of men being a part of the Bride (a woman) of Christ. In the spirit, there is neither male nor female.
Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Here is a short outline to follow and should be done individually and corporately.
- We must first communicate daily with our Father by spending time in prayer, worship and thanksgiving.
- Talk to God throughout the day. Practice the presence of God as you go about your daily chores.
- Spend time praying in tongues (also known as praying in the spirit) as this is an amazing gift because we are praying about our number one problem. Since God knows what that is, we are praying according to His will, as the Holy Spirit is guiding those prayers.
- More about praying in tongues at this link: https://bibleresources.org/praying-in-tongues/
- READING AND STUDYING THE BIBLE:
The Word of God is food to our spirit and will give us the strength we need and guidance for each day. Free Bible Study material at this link: https://bibleresources.org/inspirational-bible-books-downloads-info/
- APPLYING THE WORD OF GOD: If we apply the Word of God to all areas of our lives, we will overcome the devil’s plans against us.
CHANGING OUR SOULS
The soul of every being is made up of the mind, the will and the emotions. How do we allow the Holy Spirit to change our souls?
1) GUARD WHAT WE HEAR AND SEE AND SPEAK
- Limit the use of cell phones, the TV and the Internet.
- Use phones for good purposes (like educational purposes), not idle chatter.
- Feed the mind with good Christian or educational books and of course, the Bible.
- Ask God what we need to watch.
- Unsubscribe from lists and memberships that waste our time.
- Time is running out and we need to focus on things that are good and helpful.
- Cut down on entertainment.
- Stay away from highly charged political rhetoric.
- Stay away from all evil gossip.
- Flee from pornography. Taking in filth in our minds will defile us. Ask God to deliver us, as the Bible says it is a shame to speak of those things done in darkness.
- Do not spread misinformation on the Internet that we have not checked the source for truth and validity. We are called to spread the gospel, not fake news or false information.
2) STRENGTHEN OUR WILL AND RESOLVE
- Call on God to cleanse us of all that offends Him.
- Ask Him to show us anything we have embraced that is not the truth.
- Be willing to apologize to people when we discover we are wrong.
- Humble our self to God.
- Ask the Lord to deliver us from all deception. Forgive all who have hurt us. God will give us the grace to do this.
- Ask God for the strength to do what is right and noble.
- Do not stoop to the level of others who do not know God.
- Do not criticize ministers. Pray for them. Find out from the Bible how to approach them when they are doing something that is not Biblical.
- Take a humble attitude in all relationships.
- Ask God for the strength to share our faith and lead others to Christ.
- Set our will with His will.
- Remain flexible so if He changes our schedule we will not be upset. He will make another time to finish the things we had planned. Follow His plans.
3) CONTROL OUR EMOTIONS
- Yield to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to overcome all anger toward others.
- Do not spend time ranting about all the injustices in the world. Ask God what you can do about them. Then do them. We can and should always pray about them. We are only responsible for the things God calls us to do. Each of us doing our part will take care of the whole.
- Ask God to control what comes out of our mouths. Words are powerful and if spoken in haste and in an unwise manner may be hard to reverse.
- Do not allow the devil to make us cry every time someone says something degrading or harmful to us. Give it to God.
- Do not get into spats. There is a time for debate, but not when we are out of control.
- Ask God lo control our emotions and refuse to allow anyone to cause us to be offended with them. We must not be offended with man or God. Give it to God. Agree to respectfully disagree with others and let God be the referee.
CHANGING OUR BODIES
According to scripture, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and we need to take care of them and not defile this temple with things that are destructive to them.
- KEEP OUR BODIES FREE OF ALL ADDICTIONS
- Ask God for His help in getting free from all addictions like drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc.
- Trust Him to deliver you.
- WORK AT EATING HEALTHY
- Ask God to change your eating habits, as many people are suffering with diseases directly related to poor diet and indulgent eating.
- Eating a diet of processed foods causes obesity.
- Ask God to help you find the right diet for you if you need to lose weight.
- Include drinking clean water and eliminating overly sweet beverages.
- Include fasting and prayer.
- Study good nutrition and ask God to give you a taste for the clean and healthy organic foods He created.
- Eat according to the Word of God. We have articles online about this and other things at: https://bibleresources.org/bible-answers/
- Eat wisely and in moderation.
- Bless your food before eating and ask God to cleanse it and be thankful for it.
- There are hungry people in the world. Pray for them.
- KEEP OUR BODIES FIT AND CLEAN
- We need to keep our bodies clean as this prevents disease when we do so.
- God made a difference between the clean and the unclean in the Bible.
- Christians are to be pure and clean in their bodies and in their homes.
- Living in filth is a sign that one needs deliverance from an unclean spirit.
- This does not mean we will not face disorganization at times, but the disorder will not bother us until we can get to that area. He will help us to rise above it.
- Over eating and over sleeping will bring a person to laziness.
- Simple habits of bathing and washing our hands will help keep us healthy.
- Ask God to strengthen you to develop a good work ethic, as well. Doing a good job brings a sense of satisfaction.
- Stay active and fit. Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.
- Ask Him to heal you of any infirmities as He wants His people to have healthy bodies in order to serve Him in the earth.
HOW DO WE ENTER INTO GOD’S REST?
As we do these things, with the help of God, we will begin to feel stronger and better because we will have entered into His rest, so that we can reach out and help others as there is a joy we receive from God when we help others.
Each day ask God to reveal to us our priorities, as how to overcome this feeling of being overwhelmed. Sometimes the feeling is merited, because you have taken on more than He wants you to do. We must learn to say “no” to certain things as He knows what is truly important for that day. True priorities are things that must be done to avoid a penalty, or things that have a deadline and would keep us from accomplishing a certain thing, or things that if we fail to keep our word would make us to become a liar. Now we all need to start cutting out the things that are harming us and our relationship with Him. Of course, we will need to take care of our daily responsibilities of living, but all the “add-ons” may be things we should not be doing. (At least for a season.) Do not allow the enemy to put guilt on you as you begin cutting back. There will be others to take on the jobs you were doing. Trust God to take care of those.
There is a silver lining to the Pandemic and that is that people were forced to stay home because of the lockdowns and this caused many people to realize how they had been neglecting their relationships with their family members and with Jesus. God was and still is, at this time, trying to show us our priorities and they are not the priorities of the world. Many Christians realized they needed to change in this area once they slowed down and began to pray with their families.
Here is one last strategy for overcoming being overwhelmed. We need to spend some time in planning and organizing. We should make lists and write down our goals. Then take steps, one at a time, to make the changes we need to make. For instance, when planning your prayer time. Instead of declaring we are going to pray an hour a day, try 15 minutes and then you can increase the time as you move forward. Just do not skip your prayer time. Some like to pray in the evenings to cover the next day, while others rise early to pray for that day.
The Lord spoke to me years ago about this. He said to me, “Betty, if you prayed about your problem as much as you talk about your problem, you would not even have that problem.”
Here is something that worked for me. Because my husband was sick for a couple of years and my priority was taking care of him, many things backlogged on me and I needed to deal with some things that had piled up. I planned one little thing to do every day to reduce my backlog and one major project that needed completing. Since I was able to complete the small project it gave me the inspiration to tackle the larger project. Of course, I was unable at first to complete the larger ones in a day, but I made a start and broke it down in increments. Soon I was able to complete them too. Little by little, I soon began to make progress and then God sent others to help me speed up the process. Sometimes we think God is so big (actually He is sizeless) that He does not care about the little things, but this is what the Bible says,
Matthew 25:23 “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
Many things we will be facing today will be unexpected so we must allow for the surprises of the day and get God’s help and direction for those things. When we do have a slow day, make it count. I am thinking of the old adage, “Make hay while the sun shines.” We should do things ahead of time, so we are not faced with the pressure of a deadline. Satan is trying to “wear out the saints” right now, but the Lord will give us His strength to overcome all obstacles. We must remember this time is only going to last for a season so we are just going through it. The end result is that the Lord is going to establish His Kingdom and we will be ruling and reigning with Him in it. We must learn how to do this with His grace and help.
Daniel 7:25-27 ‘And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. 26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. 27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
Now there will be times we are not able to keep up with things as we sometimes may face a time where we are thrown into “survival mode” because of an unforeseen life happening. However, even in these kind of events, as we call on the Lord He will be with us, giving us His supernatural peace and grace to get through them.
As we believe Him and look to Him in faith He will do a miracle to sustain and help us overcome the largest attacks of the devil. Even what Satan means for evil can be turned to our good as we give our circumstances to God and trust Him for an answer. Supernatural rest can be our portion in those times if we look to God and follow His leading. The world will never understand how this can happen, but our Lord spoke these words to us in the Bible:
John 16:33 “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.”
God knew we would be living in this hour where the culture is demanding and the people around us are on the fast track, but He does not want us to get caught up in a crazy world, but wants us to enter into His rest, which is doing His will and in doing that, the rest of the things that are not done yet, will not bother us. Even in the midst of great trials, we will not feel overwhelmed, because we have learned to walk in the spirit and be flexible in the Lord and flow in His timing.
We must overcome pride and vanity to live this way. We must not allow others to judge us or dictate to us how we live, what we do and where we go. We must come out of the world and be separate and live in God’s world. This is called “walking in the spirit.” We must be led of the Lord as to what He is wanting us to do and be totally committed to the will of God to enter into His rest.
Sometimes God does not change our circumstances right away, but He changes us so the circumstances do not bother or upset us.
1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
This is liberating and we simply do not need to make excuses for what is not done, but concentrate on what He wants us to do and feel His rest in doing just that. May we all, not only enter into His rest, but stay in that place of flowing in His divine flow which is a place He describes thusly:
Matthew 11:29-30 “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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Hebrews 4:9-11 “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
PRAYER TO OVERCOME BEING OVERWHELMED
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you that no matter what is going on around us, at this time, that when we put our lives and circumstances in Your hands then we can trust You to show us the way to overcome everything we are facing. Lord, I do that right now. Since I have made You Lord of my life, I can now trust You to bring order to the things that seem overwhelming to me. Since I have now put You in control of things, then You are in control of every circumstance that the enemy wants to use to destroy me. I am declaring the devil is defeated in my life. I am declaring that I have a sound mind and I will not fear anything that the devil thinks he will use to overcome me. Lord, You have an answer for every problem, because You live in me and Your eternal wisdom and power will show me the way to overcome these seemingly overwhelming things I face. Right now, I purposely pause, and ask You to empower me to enter into Your rest. I give every problem to You and thank you that, day by day, I will be able to set my life and house in order and I trust You to bring it about. Thank you for healing me. Thank you for getting me out of debt. Thank you for restoring my family. Thank you for using me in Your Kingdom to help others. I refuse to fret or worry about anything, but will now pray about everything from the small things to the large things. Thank you that I walk in Your favor and that no matter what things I have done to create any of my messes in life, You have a way to lead me out of them into Your victory! Forgive me, Lord, and let my life be a testimony to Your overcoming power and Your love! Thank you that I can now enter into Your rest. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”