This title seems to be a short formula which somehow sprang out on me as I had just re-read part of the excerpt of James A. Fowler’s writing “Spirit-union Allows for Soul-rest” (see link below). Thanks to Kenneth Dawson who would point to this website which was new to me until yesterday. I found a helpful description there of how we as modern Christian people today more and more fail to enter His rest due to our busy, hurried, and burdened lives.
The world of fallen humanity runs to and fro at a hectic pace, seeking “rest” on the weekends, in church services, and on vacations and holidays. The humanistic work ethic that drives men to succeed and be significant leaves little time for “rest” and quietude. When identity is determined by performance – who we are based on what we do – then contemporary society thinks those who take time to “rest” will be left on the side of the road as excess baggage or “nobodies.” “Rest” is regarded as but a utopian goal at the end of the rainbow of success. Thinking they can generate their own future of “rest” by their self-sufficient performance, fallen man runs on the treadmill that goes nowhere.
“The contemporary religion of “evangelical humanism” has nothing to offer but a difference of scenery on the treadmill. Suffering from the “Martha complex” of “do-do-do for Jesus,” Christian religion seeks to motivate people with the carrot of heavenly rest at the end of the rat-race. Proclaiming that “there is no rest for the wicked,” the alternative is alleged to be a goodness achieved by striving performance. To achieve “rest” one must work for it. Meanwhile, God seems to be saying, “Be still (cease striving), and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). Jesus said, “Observe the lilies of the field, how they do not toil or spin. Do not be anxious then. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:28-33). Modern Christians find it so difficult to just “be” – to live in the “isness” of the I AM of divine Being, and to allow their “doing” to be an expression of the I AM in action.
The God we received within our spirit is the God of rest. He is not a Being who struggles and strives to act and achieve. He is not hurried or harried, hustled or hassled. He always acts out of His own Being, as His Tri-unity functions in perfect peace and harmony.
Soul-rest is participating in the “abundant life” (John 10:10) that Jesus came to bring. It is being “filled with the Spirit’ (Eph. 5:18), and “growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Pet. 3:18). Soul-rest is getting beyond Romans 7 and into Romans 8 – beyond Christian religion and into Christian reality.
If you decided to read more of the entry I linked here, you might wonder why I dropped several parts of James A. Fowler’s article. Not that what he wrote was wrong (it was not!), but in my view, he offered too many confirming Scriptures and repetitive verbalization that, all in all, tend to distract the reader from that which is really important. Or in other words, I felt the Spirit speaking in what I copied and pasted, but not in these parts I left out of consideration.
Don’t we ALL want to experience soul rest? Not only at times, but always? 🙄 It might seem simplifying to some, however, I believe that we can only delight in His continued peace as we follow His leading by somehow diving into the Divine Flow of these works God has prepared for us beforehand (cf. Eph 2:10). This flow that springs from the Holy Spirit has an ever-creative source. It cannot be anything else as we echo our Creator’s ideas and bring them into being just as it was intended by Him. Perhaps, you recall famous writers who wrote a bestseller or maybe even two or three in a row. Yet when they became slaves to those who wanted to publish bestsellers written by them ‘forever and a day’ or when they exclusively wanted to please their readers with their writing style and topics, they could not be creative anymore. Instead, they kept repeating themselves. Their words that once were alive to the reader, these same words one day merely exhale death and boredom. There is a German saying that underlines the problem of those who keep going such paths this world has to offer.
The pitcher goes so often to the well that it is broken at last.
I found an interesting and, which I believe good explanation of this proverb here. It says,
“This means that long-continued success ends at length in failure; and that long-continued impunity ends at length in punishment. However many times an action is performed, it will be done once too often; and however many times a swindler, trickster or thief succeeds, he will finally get caught out.”
Nonetheless, God’s path is different. ‘Be still and know that I am God’ as Fowler already mentioned above. We ought to first listen to the silence that is welling up our inmost being as we spend more and more quiet times with God. Subsequently, we should only move forward and do something for God, or rather allow God to work through and in us, whenever He nudges us to do so.
May God pull us into His Divine Flow of Being and Doing. Amen.