Rest More…Quickly


At the beginning of this year, Miranda Larbi published an article titled: 2023 should be your year of rest and relaxation. Question – how’s that going for you? Several recent studies and a plethora of social media suggestions of ways to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer suggest that it isn’t the best. Statistically, only 65.2% of adults ages 18-60 actually hit the recommended amount of rest.

Studies show that adults need at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately, only about 1 in 3 adults get enough sleep on a regular basis. Other studies show that 57.8% of 6th through 8h graders and 72.7% of 9th through 12th graders don’t get enough sleep during the week.  

Never in the history of the world has mankind been so stressed out. Simply put, we’re OVERWHELMED, we’re OVERWORKED, and we’re OVER-COMMITTED. We find satisfaction in stuff, and we feel accomplished in staying busy. We have discovered so much that we can do and enjoy, and we have developed so many tools, gadgets, “time-saving devices” that we no longer have time for or we simply neglect our greatest necessity – rest. YOU WERE DESIGNED BY GOD TO NEED REST. What we fail to understand is how necessary rest is to our entire person (spirit, soul, and body). The reality is that all three need rest.

  • Our spirit needs rest to worship God properly,
  • Our soul needs rest to function correctly, and
  • Our body needs rest to work effectively.

God created us to function within a three-fold cycle (work, rest, and worship) that is meant to be fulfilled consistently over the course of seven days. Now, we have a tendency to compartmentalize, or separate, these three, but the reality is that they are connected. We worship God properly, when we work and when we rest properly.

When it comes to the issue of rest, we need to understand that the problem is not necessarily the speed in which we get to sleep or the length of sleep that we spend sleeping; the issue of rest is understanding the type of rest that we need and then making sure that we get them.

There are four types of rest that everyone of us needs:

1)  We all need DAILY rest

We’ll get to the most commonly emphasized element of rest in just a moment, but we must understand and acknowledge that this one is just as important as all of the other types of rest that we need. When we talk about daily rest, we are emphasizing that our entire day should not be dictated or dominated by work. When God created us, He created us to operate within a 24-hour day. That means that everything that we need and everything that we need to do (that includes work, meals, relationships, and rest) has to be invested in and accomplished within a 24-hour period of time. God gave us a daytime and a nighttime for a reason.

Do you realize that before the light-bulb was invented people slept an average of ten hours a night? That means that we are sleeping on average two hours or more less than previous generations did. 

Now look, we’re supposed to work, and we’re supposed to work hard, but we are also supposed to be good stewards of our time, of our resources, of our person, and of our families. There needs to be a routine element daily where you disconnect from the world, where you disconnect from work, and where you focus on the other elements of your daily life that are just as important.

2)  We all need WEEKLY rest

This is the one that we are most familiar with. In creation, God established the pattern of a six-day work week and the seventh day was a day that was to be set apart for rest.

Genesis 2:2-3 says, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

When God entered into a covenant with the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai, God commanded that one day each week be set apart for rest.

Exodus 20:8 says, ”Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

It’s interesting to me that out of all Ten Commandments, there is more information given about this particular commandment than there is any of the others. 

A)  The sabbath was a day that was SET APART

It was a day that was to be different from all the other days. The word sabbath itself means “to cease; to desist from exertion; to put down; to rest.” That’s why we refer to the Sabbath as the day of rest.

Exodus 20:9-10 says, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.
Exodus 23:12 says, “Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.

The Sabbath day was to be a day that was set apart for another purpose. It was a day of rest, not another day to get things done.

B)  The sabbath was a day that was a SIGN

The people of God were to observe the sabbath day as a part of their identity.

Exodus 31:16-17 says, “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
Leviticus 23:3 says, “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.” 
Ezekiel 20:10-12 says, “Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.

The sabbath was to be a sign of an acknowledgment of and an appreciation for all that God had done. In other words, they were never to be so busy that they could not observe the sabbath day. They needed a day to remember God as both their Creator and their Redeemer. For the nation of Israel, that day was Saturday. For the church today, that day is Sunday. (The discussion of the difference is another topic for another time).

C)  The sabbath was a day that was SPENT TOGETHER

While the word sabbath does indeed mean “to rest from labor;” it also means “to celebrate.” You cannot separate the sabbath day from the sanctuary.

Leviticus 19:30 says, “Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 26:2 says, “Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.” 

In other words, there was to be at least one day each week when the people of God assembled and shifted their focus from that which was physical to that which was spiritual. It was to be a time of instruction, a time of celebration, and a time of community.

D)  The sabbath was a day of SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Just like every other area of the Christian life, our enemy fights hard against what God has designed for our good. The Devil does not what the people of God to assemble, to acknowledge the goodness of God, or to apply the principles of His Word.

Exodus 20:8 says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” 

(1)  This was a day that was to be PREPARED for (obedience)

The word remember means “to mark; to mention, to be mindful of.” In other words, it was a day that was to be prioritized. The people of God were to plan everything that they possible could around that day.

(2)  This was a day that was to be PROTECTED (commitment)

The word keep includes more than just one’s presence; it includes one’s protection. It has the idea of putting a hedge about it; to guard and protect something. The idea is that we have a very real enemy that will attempt to ruin our use of this special day, and we must watch for and resist his temptations to violate the day that belongs to God.

Isaiah 58:13-14 says, “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

(3)  This was a day that was to be PURE (worship; dependence)

The word holy means “clean, consecrated, special, and given to God.” There was a proper behavior that was to be connected to this special day.

Isaiah 56:2 says, “Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.” 
1 Timothy 3:15 says, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

3)  We all need EXTENDED rest

Just like we need a daily rest and a weekly rest, there are times when we need a season of rest. This is a longer period of time where we disconnect from the normal routine and the daily responsibilities of life. Sometimes this is a season of solidarity and sometimes this is a season spent with family and friends. Either way, this is a period of time that is strategically designed for rest, for relaxation, for replenishment, for refreshment, for relationship, and for readjustment.

Mark 6:31 says, “And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” 

4)  We all need INNER rest

Much of the restlessness that this world struggles with is not due to the amount of external stress and pressure that is placed on an individual in this world; but rather, the internal struggle that has not found rest in Christ. There is a peace, a rest, that we need that only God can give. It’s the rest that is only enjoyed in a right relationship with Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 4:9 says, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” 
Matthew 11:29 says, “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.

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