Journal Entry // December 24, 2022
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (ESV)Revelation 14:13
Rest… This can become one of the focal points of my days and weeks. I sometimes let this idea of rest drive and motivate my every decision and thought throughout the day and week. My mind seeks rest. My body seeks rest. My desire and purpose is to just simply rest. What I struggle with as I consider this passage about the rest found only in Jesus is that the “rest” I am seeking and desiring on a daily basis is not this same godly rest found in Christ. No, the rest I am seeking is more often founded and based upon sin in my heart. When I say that I desire rest, I typically mean that I want the freedom to do as I see fit. I want full control of my actions and even the right to indulge my laziness and apathy. The rest I seek is not this holy rest from a life of laboring for Jesus. The rest I seek is an escape from the rigors of this world. This false rest is deceptive because it builds up within my mind the idea that I am working and laboring so intensely that I need rest to recover. When in actuality the work I have been about is not the true sweet labor of following Christ each and every moment of each and every day.
The deception in my heart that I feel pressing in on me is the false narrative that I deserve rest here and now. That my labor is too hard and too difficult and therefore I have earned the right to have a little rest and relaxation as I see fit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking rest and comfort in Christ. The Bible speaks often about the true rest and peace that we can have even now through Christ. But this rest and peace is not found in apathy and escapism. It is not found through indulging my sense of pride and value in however I want to define rest. There is rest in Jesus. There is sweet and fulfilling rest in Jesus that is available to me. This is the rest I need to pursue with all diligence.
You see, this is the great dichotomy of understanding rest. Rest is not the absence of labor. Rest is the fulfillment of labor. I will only find true rest as I take up the yoke of obedience and faithfulness of Christ. For his yoke is easy and his burden is light. When Christ calls me home to be with him in heaven, then I will find the true fulfillment of rest. This life is a call to endurance. An endurance of faithful, consistent, sacrificial, obedient labor for Christ alone. Why? For my deeds will follow me into this eternal rest. The deeds and actions and labor of my life are not meaningless and irrelevant. The deeds of this life have great meaning and purpose and will follow me into the presence of Christ on that day. My endurance and perseverance will not be for naught. All of my labor and endurance done in the name of Christ will endure with me into His rest.
So what’s the takeaway for today? My focus is not on rest from my labor but on finding rest in my labor. My heart attitude needs to be one of mindful, intentional, loving obedience to the call of Christ in my life. I need to faithfully follow wherever he leads and labor with endurance in the area of influence he has given me. I need to quit striving and seeking commendation from the world and seek only the commendation of Christ. To hear these amazing words when he calls me home, “Well done good and faithful servant… enter into the joy of your Master.”