The Kingdom of God is a paradox in many respects. For example, if we want to become great
we become the least; we are strongest when we are weak and reliant upon the grace of God. Or,
to truly find life we must lose it; to gain all we need we become self-less love, and cease looking
for the fulfillment of what we need altogether.
One of the most remarkable paradoxes is knowing the place of rest is the place of power.
Only from the place of rest can we discern the mysteries of God. Only from the place of rest can
we hear God clearly, determine definite direction, and most effectively minister His presence and
power to others. The place of rest is the platform from which we truly work the works of God.
For those who have never experienced the rest and overwhelming peace of God, it can be
somewhat of an enigma trying to understand what, exactly, such rest entails. For those who have
experienced and enjoyed the rest of God, it can be somewhat of an enigma trying to explain it.
Jesus paid a price for us to not only be forgiven and reconciled to God, but to become
partakers of His nature and presence. Essentially, oneness and unity with Him is the rich reward
of our faith. Put another way, God takes the fragmented, broken, twisted nature of a fallen man
and redeems him back to complete wholeness with Him. He makes all things new in the sum
and substance of all we are.
Wholeness and harmonious oneness with God leads us to cease striving inwardly, as well
as within our own will and works, becoming perfectly united with His. Rest then, is the inward
quietness and clarity sounding out into the consciousness of one who abides as one with God,
and in the wholeness enjoyed from such a union.
As wonderfully noble as such a description sounds, the unfortunate reality is many
Christians do not live in the place of rest. Some simply don’t understand it, while others allow
certain thoughts and perspectives which are not sourced in the truth of God to take a place within
them. The unfortunate consequence is habitually trading His immeasurable peace for the turmoil
of a moment.
How then does one come to, and remain in, the place of rest and wholeness? Allow me
to present an illustration. When you strike a tuning fork, the vibration of a specific sound, or
note, emits as a result. When a tuning fork is struck the vibrations cause the note to emit and
continue for a period of time thereafter. Musicians can then use the sound to harmonize their
instruments to a perfect note, uniting their music to a common sound.
When we truly commune with God in the secret place, there is a striking of our heart with
the sound of Heaven, and with the perfect melody of our Father’s voice. Truthfully, that sound is
the note our spirit is designed to play. The note struck in the secret place not only attunes us to
the voice and presence of God in those moments, but reverberates in our thoughts, decisions and
perspectives as we move through each day. There again is the paradox of The Kingdom- that the
thundering chorus of Heaven quiets the soul of all who hear it. Thus, we enter into His rest.
In the natural, we regard rest as the necessary recovery period following a day or week of
tiring work. What we see from the story of creation is that the paradox of God’s Kingdom, and
the unchanging intention of His will. God chose to form and create man near the end of the sixth
day. What God desired and designed for man to do before all other things, was enter into rest
with Him. Before he labored and tended the garden, before he took dominion over the earth and
established the order of God, man entered into rest and communion with his Creator.
Furthermore, God set in place the order of each day thereafter to begin with the
evening, at the setting of the sun. Herein is an incredibly important truth revealed about the will
of God. The inception of man’s existence began with rest, and every day thereafter was to
reflect the same. Start from rest with God, then endeavor into the works of His Kingdom. Rest
always precedes labor, not the other way around.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus makes a compelling cry to all who labor and are heavy
laden. What He promised is that all who come to Him in such weariness will find rest.
Ironically, the means by which one would become a partaker of such is to take the yoke of Jesus
upon oneself. A yoke is an instrument of labor by which two oxen plowing a field are joined
together. Often, a younger, more inexperienced ox would be yoked with an older one that
understood the pace and nature of their task. In so doing, the younger ox would learn from, and
follow the lead of, the more experienced. Jesus said, “take my yoke upon you and learn from
me.” To rest we take on the instrument of His work. Makes perfect sense, right?
In the beginning, God labored for man to become one with Him, then labored with man
in their oneness. Rest is the outcome of communion and oneness with God. It is a condition of
complete wholeness and fulfillment lived out in response to His word and presence. We don’t
strive and strain to hear with our natural ear, because it is designed to receive the sounds of the
world around us. In the same way, the heart of a born again person is designed to hear the voice
of God. In restful communion, striving to hear is unnecessary. We are created to hear Him.
This is the lesson from the beginning. Enter into rest with God, labor with Him therein.
Yoked with Him, the quieted soul perceives the voice of God with far greater clarity, discerns
direction more thoroughly, and understands the ways of God with greater depth. When
everything goes quiet, everything became clear.
Rest always precedes work. Worship always precedes commission. Presence always
precedes placement. Attempting to endeavor into the call of God separate from rest is a fool’s
errand. Seeking to labor apart from rest is exhausting. Living this life without solely desiring the
presence and voice of God, misses the point all together.