“And He said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” (Ex 33:14)
Resting in the Lord is the flow of the Spirit. It’s a place of fluid, easy flowing liberty. If you’re not resting, you’re not flowing. It’s that simple. There is leisure in God that springs forth from within your spirit. There’s a deep abiding in Him; a rest and a relaxation born in the inner man.
This disposition is a place in the Spirit, a state of heart. That is where the promised land is located. It is no longer a geographical place nor is it heaven, but instead it is heaven on earth, heaven in our hearts. This is what we mean by resting in the Lord. This is the God appointed dwelling place for every man. God lives and moves in this place. God walks and talks in this place. And He’s always endeavoring to help move man there also.
God wants us to live in a constant state of rest and inner relaxation void of stress, care, and strife. If you are frustrated, aggravated, anxious, and impatient you are not in the flow of God. Any state or condition of heart and life that does not manifest the fruit of the spirit as listed in Gal. 5:22-23 is outside the flow of God and His Spirit. When you are resting in the Lord you manifest the fruit of the spirit.
Years ago when I was still single and raising funds to go to the mission field, the Lord began to teach me about the walk and the flow of the Spirit. He used one such experience, which left an indelible mark in my spirit, to begin teaching me some very valuable lessons concerning this life in the Spirit.
I was in a particular city staying in the apartment of a friend. I was without transport and the apartment had no phone. It was so frustrating because I couldn’t go anywhere, and I couldn’t call anyone. And my main mission at this season of my life was to make contact with pastors and churches in hopes of securing monthly support to go to the mission field. This was my purpose for being in this city.
So here I am feeling somewhat trapped and precious time seeming to waste. I’m thinking, “I am a man on a mission, and this is the devil’s doing. I can’t breathe in this small apartment and I need to get out of here fast.” Hours passed, and I’m questioning the will of God whether I’m even supposed to be in this city. You can imagine my aggravation.
Finally, after allowing my anxiety and emotions to eventually subside, the Lord spoke some words to me which proved, in this setting, to be most profound. He said: “Your strength is to sit still.” You know, spiritually speaking, it is sometimes more difficult to sit and do nothing in the natural than it is to be active. Many of us can make things happen in the natural realm, but it’s really in the Spirit first that we must learn to do that. When things have been activated in the Spirit, then we don’t have to make anything happen. It’s done, and now we just let things happen. There’s a big difference between making things happen and letting things happen.
Prior to the Lord speaking to me in this situation I had been wrestling, but then I got quiet and entered into rest (Isa 30:15). This is the walk of the Spirit. It’s human nature to try and perform, to try and make something happen. Don’t misunderstand me, there are times when God speaks and we must act with urgency, but there are also times when the most spiritual thing one can do is simply nothing, as far as the natural is concerned. Spiritually, when you are resting and relaxing you allow God to be great in your heart, and in your situation.
Natural activity and busyness sometimes is just a big symptom of unbelief. It’s a sign that you are not trusting in the Lord. Now again, we are not condoning laziness and encouraging slothfulness, but a rest in the Spirit. The issue is, are you making flesh your strength, or are you trusting in the Lord? Abraham made flesh his strength when he fathered Ishmael, but the greatest thing he could’ve done was to sit still and do nothing. Abraham should have counseled with the Lord before taking counsel with his wife.
Always take counsel of the Lord first. Be careful not to cover situations and dilemmas with a covering that’s not of his Spirit. Do not strengthen yourself with the strength of flesh neither trust in the shadow of the world. If you do, you will be sifted, and the strength of your flesh shall be to your shame, and the trust in the shadow of the world to your confusion (Isa 30:1-3).
You see, sometimes the greatest display of faith and trust in God is to sit still and do absolutely nothing. Many of us are trying to do too much to help God bring His Word and will to pass. What we need to do is to sit still, and watch the Lord bring His own Word to pass. Don’t try and perform anything. Just stay in the Spirit, relax, and trust the Lord. It’s called resting in the Lord (Heb 4:3,10-11).