Genesis 1:26-31 (NIV)
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
Genesis 2:1-3 (NIV)
2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
John 15:1-8 (NIV)
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
We gain a prescription for the pattern of our lives as we look into creation. God started by working for six days. On day six, He created man and woman to be His image-bearers. Day seven arrived, and God rested.
Adam and Eve spent day seven, their first day, resting before they worked. Is was not a rest as recovery, but rest as a connection to God. The importance of rest was confirmed with the Sabbath in the Ten Commandments. In the Old Testament, God commanded our rest and attention to Him one day a week. In the New Testament, Jesus did not come to abolish the Sabbath, but to clear it from the clutter and distraction of legalistic hurdles. He gave it to us once again as a blessing, not a burden.
Mike Breen, and English church leader once said, “Resting in God- abiding in His presence- is the only way we can be successful in what He has called us to do.”
God weaved into creation the fundamental principle that we are designed to work from a place of rest and not vice-versa. In our performance-driven culture, we continually push the work needle into the red. We chase activity as a way of identity and success as a route to status. We are left in a state of being way too busy and way out of alignment. Jesus directs us into rest, into a richness of connecting with Him to draw nourishment and direction.
The Hebrews started their day at sunset, resting through the night and ending their day with work. In agriculture we see the same pattern: It is the season of pruning and rest that cultivates growth and fruit. Today, determine to set daily, weekly, and seasonal times of rest. When we choose this route (resting in Jesus and abiding in Him), we will see greater fruit in our lives.
Today let’s ponder these questions:
- Have you chased activity as identity?
- How have you tried to pursue rest in Jesus?
As a focus for this week, let’s try to reset our schedules so we can spend more time abiding in Jesus. The more time we spend in connection with God, the better our focus will be on doing the things that are truly important in our lives.