Hebrews 4:9 “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.”
Being a couch potato is not a good thing – usually. But there are times when we need and benefit from extended periods of rest. These times can refresh us physically, but they can also give us opportunities to de-clutter our minds and reprioritize our lives.
Three weeks ago I had surgery on my foot, and, consequently, I was forced to become a couch potato. While there have been some hurdles to overcome in this situation – boredom, muscle atrophy, and general immobility – there have been many benefits. Sometimes we must be forced to rest from the whirlwind American life. In my time of forced inactivity God has reminded me that an attitude of rest should be characteristic of a Christian’s life whether I am on the couch or living life as usual.
Hebrews 4 reminds us of the failure of God’s chosen people to enter His rest. Their disobedience caused them to forfeit their opportunity. After years of wandering in the wilderness, all adults, with the exception of two, died in the wilderness and only those the age of twenty and under finally arrived at the Promised Land.
The chapter goes on to speak of another rest – one in which we can all enter if we are obedient to the Lord. My recent couch potato life gave me time to consider these different types of rest that are available for God’s children every day.
- Stopping Work – Americans tend to applaud those who work the hardest and the longest. These people are considered successful and committed. They are up for the raises and promotions. But God calls us to stop ourselves intentionally on a weekly basis and rest. Christians must keep this time of “Sabbath Rest” if we want to experience the best that God has for us.
- Refreshment – Taking time to rest from our work creates space to rejuvenate our bodies and our minds. We then have the ability to enjoy our family, friends, and other gifts from God. The joy of life fills us as we take a break and just breath.
- Spiritual Realignment/Worship – Times of solitude can serve to focus our minds on God. A quiet walk allows us to hear the birds and view creation with an eye to the greatness of the Creator. Jesus took time to get away from the constant pressures of the crowds to speak to His Father. We, too, should get away to worship and refocus our hearts on the One who made us and loves us.
- Freedom from worry and anxiety – Resting in the Lord is giving Him all our cares and concerns. Daily we should be bringing our anxieties to Him in prayer and leaving them with Him. He promises peace and rest to the burdened souls who come to Him with an attitude of trust.
- Letting go of human control – When we strive to control all areas of life, we are not resting. By relinquishing our desire to manipulate everything we will receive great peace. In order to do this we must understand that God is the ultimate authority. He has power over everything and He loves us greatly. Nothing that happens to us that has slipped through His fingers unnoticed.
- Death – We can rest from our fear of death by accepting and trusting in God’s plan of salvation. For the believer the best is yet to come. When we leave this world behind we will experience the ultimate rest from our labors. We will live in heaven – a place where there are no tears, no pain, and no sorrow. This is the final rest to which we are all called.
I am about at the end of my couch potato days for now. Slowly but surely I will be returning to the regular rhythm of life. But I want to remember – and I want you all to experience – the daily abiding rest that God offers to all of His children. Cultivate this attitude in obedience to God’s commands, couch potato or not, and you will be blessed!
See Dictionary of Biblical Imagery edited by Ryken, Wilhout, Tremper, & Longman III for more on this subject.