I learn so much about being a daughter, now that I am a mom. When my Liam needs his nap (scheduled or otherwise) and he is having trouble, I take him and we worship and pray together. By the time I get lost in the prayer and worship experience he is sound asleep, and I can't help but thank God for the rest He gives. Then I have to wonder, why can't I be the same way? Why do I struggle to find rest even after I have prayed and so-called "laid down my burdens?" Why after a round of worship that should bring down Jericho's wall do I sit up and think and overthink and invite doubt? It all goes back to the heart-- it is a finicky piece of land, one minute your are strong in your faith and the next you're driving off a cliff into a broken down condition. When the ground of the heart is good the seeds planted therein will not be uprooted, but when it is stony, or riddled with thorns and weeds, faith and rest allude the believer. Yes, I know the Bible says faith without works is dead, but have you ever considered that sometimes the work is rest?
I've learned that the heart can be soft and playable about one issue addressed in God's word but concrete to another. Therefore, in some areas of our lives we appear perfect, while in others, 'hot mess' does not even begin to describe the condition.
So what's the solution? MORE WORD! MORE PRAYER! MORE FASTING! MORE WORSHIP! MORE FELLOWSHIP!
When I got saved on 11/14/2004 at my mother's funeral, I prayed for Jesus to come into my heart, and the spiritual heart much like the natural one has compartments. Throughout my Christian walk, I have willingly allowed The Holy Spirit to renovate and redecorate areas of my heart that I was comfortable testifying about once delivered. But what about the attic and the basement? What about the places where I kept all the dirt that would make people judge, shun and question me and my Christianity? Isn't it funny how we try to take comfort in the saying that "God ain't done with me yet," when the truth really is, we've checked out of the renovation process?
WHY MORE WORD? This can really go on forever in sermons, the Bible tells us the heart is in terrible shape, it is not only desperate to partake in wickedness (Jeremiah 17:9 and Matthew 15:18-20), but even when we do good, the intent of the heart is still weighed against us (Acts 8:22). The Word of God is the discerner of the heart, it will divide from us the desperation to be wicked (Hebrews 4:12). Knowing the scriptures allows us to bring every thought captive and make it obey Christ (2 Corinthians 2:10), especially those marathon thinking sessions that result in doubt and faithless activities.
WHY MORE PRAYER? Confession is excellent for the soul! But more than that, the more we are communicating with God, the more we can clearly hear and understand what He desires of us. Our belief and faith in Him are continually fortified and He loves it when we come to Him with everything. In His presence He will teach us to rest.
WHY MORE FASTING? Because you need to hear from God, which means the flesh needs to be denied not just food but television and social media. When our hearts are plowed up and ready for planting, we throw done stones and invite weeds and pest by what we watch on television. 1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul shares that a part of keeping his witness in tact is fasting to deny the flesh. Equally as important, is that some people are delivered from demonic strongholds only by fasting and prayer. WE NEED TO FAST FOR DELIVERANCE.
WHY MORE WORSHIP? Because God is forever worthy and only worship brings down Jericho's walls.
WHY MORE FELLOWSHIP? You and I need to be accountable to other believers! We need to spur one another on in love toward Christ (Hebrews 10:24). We need to get together so that we can feel comfortable confessing our sins one to another (James 5:16), so we can learn how to cover each other in love (1 Peter 4:8) and so that we can SNATCH one another from the fires of hell (Jude 1:23).
So, I pray for us that we will find rest in God for all the reasons why have to become unstable, and that we go forth each day and settle each night, thinking about His word and His love rather than about our problems. When we adjust our focus and take it off of trying to fix a problem only God can solve, we are able to rest because we play our position by faith. I pray that we invite and allow the Holy Spirit to INVADE every part of our hearts, so that we can be transformed.
Grace & Peace