Have you been feeling spiritually exhausted lately? Perhaps, you’re reading your Bible, attending church, and even praying, but for some reason your soul isn’t finding rest. You feel completely drained, your mind is uneasy, you’re running out of strength, and following Christ is simply becoming harder and harder. If that is you, let me tell you that you’re not the only one! Often times, we hit this point of exhaustion in our walk of faith because we focus solely on ourselves and lose sight of the source of REST, Jesus. In this post I’m going to share how to rest in Jesus when you’re feeling exhausted.
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DEFINITION OF REST
Before we get into Scripture, let’s talk some basics.
What does it mean to rest?
By definition, to rest is to take a break from an activity that involves movement, action, and strength from your part. By putting pause on said activity, you’re able to fully relax and recover strength for future activities.
Simply put, to rest is to stop doing what is preventing you from relaxing.
REVELATION OF REST
- Not everyone is able to find rest in Jesus, because the revelation of rest is reserved for those who choose to depend and rely on Jesus (God’s children).
Jesus Gives True Rest: Matthew 11:25-30
Matthew 11:25 At the time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. (NKJV)
Jesus says that this revelation is hidden from the wise because these type of people depend on themselves. They depend on what they know and what they can do.
On the other hand, children depend on others to learn, to grow, and to survive in life.
Jesus makes this comparison to teach us that we must be as dependent as children in order to find rest in Him. In order to rest in Jesus, you must depend on Jesus first.
GOD’S PROMISE OF REST
The Promise of Rest: Hebrews 4: 1-10
Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. (NKJV)
Did you know that finding rest in Jesus is a promise?
Yep, finding rest in Jesus is a promise of God.
However, this promise can only be obtained through Jesus and Jesus alone.
OBTAINING REST THROUGH JESUS
Hebrews 4:2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. (NKJV)
Although the Israelites also received the promise of rest, knew the Scriptures by heart, and had “good works”, they were still unable to find true rest. Why, you may ask?
The Israelites did not accompany faith to their lifestyle. Faith = Jesus
In other words, Jesus was the missing puzzle in their ‘almost perfect lifestyle”.
You can be reading the Bible, praying, attending church, and providing good services, but if your eyes are not fixed on Jesus, you are only practicing religious activities.
And rest can’t be found through religious activities.
Rest can only be found through Jesus.
PHYSICAL VS SPIRITUAL REST
Hebrews 4:8-9 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. Therefore remains a rest for the people of God. (NKJV)
In the days of Joshua, the Israelites faced multiple battles as they were on the mission to conquer the Promised Land. They were physically fighting nations in order to conquer territories and live life in peace. Battle after battle, God demonstrated His faithfulness, power, and love. God used Joshua to lead His people to victory, find rest, and conquer the Promised Land. Joshua was able to give the Israelites physical rest.
However, scripture shows us that while Joshua played a huge role in giving the Israelites physical rest from their enemies, that was the only rest he was able to give.
His rest was temporary and exclusive to the Israelites of the time (We all know what happened to the generations afterwards)! We were excluded from this rest.
JESUS IS SUPERIOR
This goes to show Jesus’ superiority and huge role in our lives.
Scripture says that there remains a rest for the PEOPLE of God. Meaning that anyone who believes in Jesus and is a child of God has access to this one of a kind rest.
Joshua conquered physical territories and provided physical rest.
But through Jesus, we’re able to conquer spiritual territories (bitterness, envy, depression, anxiety, you name it) and find spiritual rest that lasts for eternity.
THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF REST
Hebrews 4:10 For He who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. (NKJV)
As humans we are always looking for the perfect role-model to learn from.
And while we may be blessed to encounter godly people who set good examples, there is no one better to learn from than God himself. God is the perfect role model.
On the 7th day of creation, known as the Sabbath, God rested from his works.
Does this mean that God rested because he was exhausted from working?
ABSOLUTELY NOT. GOD IS ALL POWERFUL.
GOD RESTED ON THE SABBATH
On the 7th day of creation, God rested and sanctified this day to show us the perfect example of resting. Why on the Sabbath? Is the sabbath the only day of rest? The sabbath isn’t just another day of the week, the sabbath is the representation of Jesus Christ.
God didn’t created the Sabbath because HE needed to rest, but because he wanted to demonstrate the importance of resting in Christ right from the very beginning.
The same way God rested from physical works on the Sabbath, we are able to rest from our works through Jesus Christ.
TO REST MEANS TO LET GO
Hebrews 4:10 For He who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. (NKJV)
But what does it mean to cease from our works?
To cease/rest from our works means to simply let go.
LET GO OF:
- Sins that hold us back,
- Works that exhaust us.
- Fears that control us.
- Burdens that paralyze us.
- Thoughts that draw us far from God.
- Dependencies that drift us away from God.
- Memories that hurt us.
The only way to be able to hold on to this rest is to let go of what we’re holding on to.
JESUS’ INVITATION TO REST
Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (NKJV)
Jesus is inviting us to rest in Him. The person who invites always has something to offer. In this case, Jesus is inviting us to come find rest in Him.
The invitation is there, but how will we respond to this invitation?
Now, you may be asking yourself, how can I receive this invitation? Or, what kind of people get invited? Is this invitation exclusively for righteous people?
If we were the ones creating the invitation list, then yes…the invitation would be exclusively for those we love, admire, and think high of.
However, Jesus doesn’t work like that. Scripture says, “who labor and are heavy laden.”
JESUS EXTENDS HIS INVITATION TO THOSE WHO:
- Are carrying unnecessary burdens
- Want to receive freedom from slavery (sins/addictions)
- Are mentally, physically, and spiritually tired.
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7 STATES OF SPIRITUAL EXHAUSTION
Did you know that Jesus made 7 incredible miracles on the Sabbath?
On 7 different occasions, God encountered 7 people who desperately needed to rest. They were exhausted, sick, helpless, and carrying heavy burdens. As I was studying each person and miracle, I was able to relate all 7 people to 7 common spiritual states that we have faced, are currently facing, or will face in life.
So, as we go through each person healed on the Sabbath, I want you to look at each case as a spiritual state rather than just another character who received a miracle.
1. SPIRITUAL SLAVERY
Mark 1: 23-26 Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. (NKJV)
One of the most dangerous and common states we can be in is spiritual slavery. This means being a slave to any kind of sin, burden, addiction, or idol.
FREEDOM FROM SPIRITUAL SLAVERY
In this passage, we read about a man who was completely dominated by an unclean spirit. The unclean spirit (this can be adultery, fornication, pornography, robbery, addictions, etc) seemed to have full control over him – he opposed Jesus and held on to him tightly. We can become slaves to anything that dominates us, pulls us away from God, and takes control over our life. The spirit in this man is unstated, but his condition teaches us the huge necessity of finding rest in Jesus Christ.
His condition seemed impossible to fix, but when Jesus saw this man, he did not reject him. Instead, he rebuked the unclean spirit and helped the man find liberation.
- PROBLEM: Unclean spirit
- JESUS’ RESPONSE: “But Jesus rebuked him, saying: Be quiet and come out of him!”
So ask yourself this:
Am I currently being a slave to something? What is dominating my life?
Mark 1:30-31 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them. (NKJV)
Another common spiritual state we can be facing is spiritual fever.
THE SYMPTOMS OF FEVER
By definition, fever is a temporary increase in your body temperature. And this increase in body temperature produces various symptoms such as sweating, headaches, chills, irritability, fatigue, and so on. Having a fever may not seem too serious, but it can still affect your well-being and cause discomfort, pain, and fatigue.
HEALED FROM FEVER
In this portion of scripture we learn that Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever. This fever was not only causing Peter’s mother-in-law to lie in bed sick with discomfort, but it was also preventing her from serving Jesus.
This fever she had was affecting her relationship with Jesus.
However, Jesus did not let her remain in that state. Instead, he took her by her hand and lifted her up. The moment the fever left her, she was able to serve Jesus.
Only Jesus can free us from any fever that is preventing us from serving Him.
- PROBLEM: Fever
- JESUS’ RESPONSE: “He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her.”
So ask yourself this:
What fever is currently preventing me from serving Jesus?
Mark 3: 1-6 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. (NKJV)
Shame. Who hasn’t suffered from shame at one point in their lives?
Shame is a horrible but very common spiritual state we can be stuck in. Whether it’s being ashamed of who we are, what we have done (our past), or even following Jesus, shame is a spiritual state that prevents us from being truly free in Christ.
CLINGING ON TO SHAME
In this portion, we learn of a man who had a withered hand that he was ashamed of showing. And if we think about it, it made perfect sense why he didn’t want to show his hand. Who would want to happily show off a withered hand? It’s embarrassing, isn’t it? The fear of rejection, judgement, or being different, caused this man to live his life hiding his hand from others. So much so, that when he was in front of the one who can heal his hand, Jesus Christ, he did the same – HIDE.
See, while his shame can be somewhat understandable in our eyes, his shame was sabotaging his only chance of being healed. That’s what shame does. Shame makes you feel like you’re better off remaining in your comfort zone, when in reality it’s only hurting you.
LETTING GO OF SHAME
When Jesus saw this man (his withered hand, his shame, and his suffering), he didn’t reject him. Instead, he asked him to stretch out his hand. In other words, he asked him to stop hiding his shame and simply hand it over to Jesus. And the moment the man stretched out his hand and let go of his shame, his hand was completely healed.
- PROBLEM: Shame
- JESUS’ RESPONSE: He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.”
So, ask yourself this:
What shame am I clinging on to? What shame is preventing me from being free in Christ?
Luke 13: 11-13 And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. (NKJV)
Another spiritual state that we can find ourselves in is infirmity.
THE DANGER OF INFIRMITY
Infirmity is the condition of being fragile, weak, and simply unable to be firm. Infirmity prevents you from walking straight (the way you are meant to walk).
As we read this piece of scripture, we learn about a woman who had a spirit of infirmity and was unable to walk straight for over 18 years. She spent a good portion of her life walking bent over. Despite her efforts, nothing seemed to work or help her walk straight. There wasn’t anything she could do to raise herself up from that state.
Even though it seemed like everything was lost, there remained one last hope for her, Jesus. And when Jesus saw this woman, he:
- Called her to Him.
- Laid his hands on her.
- Spoke to her.
THE TOUCH OF JESUS
Although Jesus saw her in this state of infirmity, he did not rebuke her or dismiss her. He was moved to compassion and saw her as someone who needed to be set free from the spirit of infirmity. So, when Jesus encountered her, He not only spoke to her, but he performed an incredible miracle in her life. The woman who was once unable to walk straight (despite her great efforts) was now not only walking straight, but was also bringing glory to God through her testimony. That’s what the touch of Jesus does.
WALKING STRAIGHT WITH CHRIST
Often times we carry heavy burdens that make it impossible to walk straight in God’s paths. Burden such as bitterness, resentments, envy, arrogance, and so on make it difficult to walk straight and cause infirmity in our christian walk. However, as long as there is a God, there is HOPE. Just like this woman was able to walk straight again, anyone who draws near Jesus and allows Him to set you free, will be free through him.
- PROBLEM: Infirmity
- JESUS’ RESPONSE: “He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.”
So, ask yourself this:
What burdens are preventing me from walking straight?
5. ACCUMULATION OF PAIN
Luke 14: 2-4 And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. (NKJV)
Now let’s talk about spiritual dropsy.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term dropsy, it is simply when there is an accumulation of water in a part of your body that produces horrible swelling.
EMPTYING YOURSELF FOR CHRIST
Scripture says that Jesus encountered a man who was suffering from Dropsy (for reference, search up this disease). This man had been accumulating water in his body that was causing pain, swelling, and discomfort. But when Jesus saw him, he emptied him from everything he had been accumulating and healed him.
The same way this man had been accumulating water in a part of his body (the part wasn’t specified), we may be accumulating pain, bitterness, anger, or shame in our hearts. And the more things we accumulate in our hearts, the more swelling there is.
Jesus wants to clean our hearts from any accumulation of pain if only we let him.
- PROBLEM: Accumulation of pain (liquid)
- JESUS’ RESPONSE: “He took him and healed him, and let him go.
So, ask yourself this:
What am I accumulating in my heart? What pain am I storing in my heart?
6. SPIRITUAL PARALYSIS
John 5: 5-9 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. (NKJV)
BEING STUCK IN THE SAME PLACE
When we talk about spiritual paralysis, we refer to the state of not advancing, moving, or growing in our faith in any way. A believer who has been stuck in the same place for years and years is someone who suffers from spiritual paralysis.
In this part of scripture, Jesus encounters a man who had been unable to walk for 38 YEARS. Let me repeat that again….38 YEARS of not being able to walk!!! He had been in this condition for far too long that it almost seemed like he had come to terms with it. When Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed, he didn’t respond with a “yes”. Instead, he started pointing out at all the reasons why he couldn’t walk.
It’s evident that this man had put all his trust of being healed on himself and others instead of Jesus. Although Jesus was right in front of him, he didn’t see a way out.
This is something that happens way too often in our lives.
FOCUSING ON THE ONE WHO HEALS
We conform ourselves with the life we are living, even if we are unhappy and unsatisfied with it. And instead of trying to find a way out and focusing on Jesus, the one who can change our lives, we focus on all the ways we can’t change our lives. However, Jesus doesn’t want us to conform and stay paralyzed on the road. He wants us to focus on him, rise up, carry our bed (the purpose he has given us) and walk.
- PROBLEM: Spiritual paralysis
- JESUS’ RESPONSE: “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.”
So, ask yourself this:
Am I walking and growing as a Christian or am I spiritually paralyzed?
7. LOSS OF VISION
John 9: 1, 6-7 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. (NKJV)
Last but not least, let’s talk about loss of vision. And just to be clear, when we talk about loss of vision we are not referring to loss of physical eyesight. You can have the perfect eyesight, but still be spiritually blinded. Someone without a clear vision in God is spiritually blind. For example, someone who doesn’t have vision in God is someone who may believe in God but not walk according to God. A blind person can walk, but can’t walk in the right direction on their own without some kind of guidance.
Some things that can hurt our vision in God are sin, pain, distractions, etc.
In this portion of scripture, Jesus passed by a man who was blind from birth. He had spent his entire life without vision. However, when Jesus encountered him, he cleaned his life, gave him vision, and healed him from his blindness.
FINDING VISION IN CHRIST
Only when we have a genuine and true encounter with God, we are able to discover God’s vision for our life. God didn’t save us just to exist. He saved us to accomplish his vision in our lives.
- PROBLEM: Loss of vision
- JESUS’ RESPONSE: “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
So, ask yourself this:
Have I lost my vision in God? Am I spiritually blinded?
THE YOKE OF CHRIST
Matthew 11: 29-30 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (NKJV)
So, how can we truly find rest in Jesus?
By exchanging the yoke we are currently carrying for his yoke.
Jesus wants us to get rid of the yoke of addiction, sin, idolatry, infirmity, blindness, you name it, to take his yoke instead. While the yoke of Christ still requires you to carry some weight (it’s not easy keeping God’s Word), it is easy and light to carry.
The yoke of the world brings pain. The yoke of Christ brings rest.
BIBLE VERSES ABOUT RESTING
To end this lengthy post, I want to share some of my favorite bible verses about resting.
1) Exodus 33:4 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
2) Joshua 21:44 The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. (NKJV)
3) 1 Kings 5:4 But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor evil occurrence. (NKJV)
4) Psalm 116:7 Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
I hope you found this post helpful! Let me know in the comments below which spiritual state you have encountered or are currently facing? May you find rest in Jesus!
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Sending you blessings & love,