2015-01-12 Living in Rest

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath — rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. Heb 4:8-11

Religion – One of the most painful things to see in life or in relationships or in business is a person trying really hard to be what they are not, or sweating to produce what they cannot. It is the essence of religion to put on a happy face and pretend to be something that we are not. Religious obedience is the ultimate stress and anxiety in our hearts. Ironically, there are times when we have all tried and failed in such vain attempts at pretense.

Rest – By contrast, there is another place in the Spirit, in relationships and in work, called rest. We see this in the lives of a few. There are those who are at peace with themselves, who produce great and graceful results in a very natural way without trying very hard. We say, “It came naturally to them.” Fame and fortune and love seem to follow them, and they are always leaders just by the fact that the rest of us would love to be like them. God himself admires them, and even His suggestion is that we should “make every effort” to enter that rest.

How do I get there? – Our ability to enter that rest is heavily influenced by our model of life and how we interpret it. There are four influences on our lives that must be balanced to maintain our equilibrium in anchored reality. Let’s look at the consequences of taking any one of these to an extreme.

2015-01-11 rest

My Initiative – We do reap what we sow (Gal 6:7). Personal responsibility is a very important part of life, Kingdom, business, etc. However, when we view life as though our attitudes and actions are the only variable, we become the god of our own little universe. The Law of Attraction is a popular concept in motivational and New Age circles right now. Listen to this quote:

“There are no coincidences. What you have in your life you attracted to yourself, consciously or unconsciously. Everything is exactly as it should be. Every joy, challenge opportunity, and circumstance…”

The Law of Attraction has roots in Buddhist Karma, a law of nature suggesting that you will be rewarded for good moral actions and punished for bad ones by an impersonal cosmic force. If we interpret life through the narrow lens of Karma, we are prone to ignore the reality of God’s favor, natural circumstances and spiritual warfare. We’ll also blame ourselves and others for everything that goes wrong or doesn’t go right. Karma is a ticket to condemnation… an endless treadmill of self-improvement and works that rob our peace and rest. In proper balance, personal responsibility and initiative are a key ingredient of living life to the fullest. The sum of what we believe and do is simply not a complete explanation for everything that happens… they are important, but incomplete. We must get outside the limitations of our own strength and wisdom to be joyful.

God’s favor – Some depend on God to do everything, and get mad at Him when He doesn’t deliver. Others live their lives as though His presence and miraculous intervention is a thing of the past or never existed in the first place. The reality is that God does intervene in our lives. He does answer prayer. He does do miracles, even through us. One of the great keys to maintaining our rest and peace is working with the Father and feeling the wind of His spirit in our sails to build His Kingdom and bless nations in every mountain. Even when my mind has no answers, there is a place of peace and rest in trusting Jesus, understanding His plan and working with Him instead of just on my own. The key is finding the balance between my initiative and God’s intervention. We both do everything we can to build the Kingdom!

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. John 4:34-35 NIV

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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. Phil 4:4-7 NIV

Natural circumstances – Some separate their spiritual life from work and natural events, and attribute everything that happens to bad luck and happenstance. Others believe that every earthquake is the judgment of God falling on sinful societies. The fact is that some things just happen and it’s no one’s fault… and it’s not God’s judgment. It’s also true that we can speak to the storm and calm the seas when the need arises.

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them — do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Luke 13:1-5 NIV

Spiritual Warfare – The reality of Satan, demons and evil are seldom acknowledged in our modern culture. Even believers often fail to connect the dots behind enemy strategies and events. There are spiritual forces behind cultural ideologies that influence groups of people. It is still possible for an individual to suffer from a range of demonic oppression all the way to possession. Interpreting life without this awareness is like going to battle without a shield and a gun. We do have power over Satanic and demonic influences. Interpreting everything through the lens of spiritual warfare can be equally imbalanced.

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. 2 Cor 2:11 KJV

The goal – Rest and peace come from finding the desire of our hearts and moving toward those life goals and dreams. Rest and peace don’t really describe the end state. The Kingdom is a party filled with joy and rejoicing and worship and dancing. The bottom line is that it’s fun to find and fulfill the desires of your own heart and find out that that God has the same desires in His heart.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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. Phil 4:4-7 NIV

We do connect with our hearts and become whole. We do live in the moment and find our way through difficult times. It all happens when we live in Him and touch His heart. Jesus doesn’t just live in my heart. I live in His as well. Being connected with my own heart and with the heart of Jesus releases a dimension of fruit and power and rest and fun that blesses nations. Pretty amazing!

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:4-8 NIV

Suggestions:                                                                                                                                              

Books – Releasing Kings and Desire to Destiny

Newsletter Archive – http://releasingkings.com/newsletter

Coaching Tools – http://releasingkings.com/coaching-tools/

Education Tools – David Nycz Interview http://releasingkings.com/david-nycz/

Personal note:

Clive Wilson is a friend who has known me for several years and is familiar with Releasing Kings, attended our conferences, etc. He suggested I look into Larry Napier’s work on Rediscovery of the Heart because it ties in with so much of our work at Releasing Kings. Clive is right, and I want to recommend that you take a look at it. I liked it so much that I became an affiliate http://rediscoveryoftheheart.com/johngarfield …haven’t been able to stop watching the 60 videos with a syllabus for $50. They are really good. Now Larry has an ebook out for $5, Releasing the Lion: Rediscovering the Right Brain Heart.

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