We are coming to the end of our teaching series on sanctification. One of the topics that we have thought about is the Sabbath and rest. I was intrigued to read this week a short article from Logos Bible that was reviewing a book called Soul Rest by Curtis Zackery. Here’s the article:
In the midst of a cacophony of noise, finding true soul rest is nearly impossible. With so many responsibilities and distractions vying for our attention, too many of us have built unhealthy cycles of rest. As a result, we burn ourselves out, striving and straining against God’s intent for our lives. In Soul Rest, Curtis Zackery reveals how our misaligned view of rest has its roots in an identity that is out of rhythm with God.
In this excerpt, Zackery examines the source of this real, true rest and hints at the possibility of a sustainable life with Jesus:
There are certainly enough things in this life that cause us to long for a bit of respite. Whether it’s our kids’ busy schedules, long hours at work, or the “always on” nature of our lives on social media, our culture is certainly not one that is restful by default. On top of all the regular day-to-day stresses, we also experience things like an emotional strain connected to financial issues, sickness in our families, or even deep fatigue from the turbulent state of our world. So much of our life requires that we keep pushing, striving, and moving forward in order to advance and never affords us the opportunity to consider the state of our soul.
What if there was hope that we could find real, true rest? What if we realized that our desire for rest goes back way further than we could imagine? What if God actually designed humanity to live and thrive from a restful place?
Spiritual fatigue is real as well, and, sadly, becoming more and more prevalent. Ministry burnout is increasingly common. With the enormous and unrealistic expectations that ministers and followers of Jesus are living under and placing on themselves in our culture, it only makes it seem like a matter of time before the other shoe drops and they give up. I often encounter people from all walks of life who identify themselves as followers of Jesus who say that they don’t know if they can “do it” anymore. The “it,” for many, is the ability to keep up with what is believed to be the successful Christian life. Usually, these thoughts are followed up with the confession that they are flat-out tired. What this can manifest is a growing sense of disillusionment with God and the church.
One of the most fundamental things that we can discover in our pursuance of God throughout the Scriptures is His desire for humanity to understand Sabbath and experience rest. Throughout the Old and New Testament, there is a thread that connects God’s intention for us to pay attention to the significance of true soul rest in our lives.
The thought that this type of soul rest could be possible feels so distant from us. The truth is, we have the words of Jesus to remind us that not only is it possible but it is what He desires for us. In Matthew 11:28–30, Jesus speaks directly to the individual that is in the exact scenario that we are discussing: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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.” There are great implications to the statement that Jesus makes here. For the moment, we rejoice in two main ideas: The possibility of real soul rest is available, and Jesus is the source of it.