Rest In You

Rest In You

All Sons & Daughters

All Sons and Daughters

What does it mean to follow God? What does life look like when we find our rest in Him? Can we expect a life of leisure and luxury, or is there something else on the horizon for us?

There are so many beautiful paradoxes at the heart of this faith of ours – not least the fact that sinners like us get to be called the sons and daughters of the King of Kings. Or the fact that a debt we could never pay has been paid on our behalf.

Then there’s the eternal truth that it is only when we give our lives to following Jesus that we gain the greatest treasure imaginable. In God’s economy, rest does not equal retirement. 

The decision to follow Jesus, to take up our cross and try to live as He would have us, changes everything. At the same time that we begin to discover the deepest possible sense of belonging, we discover that in this world we are but resident aliens. Heaven, a place we’ve not yet seen, is our home.

There’s a lot of paradox like this in the stories of the early church. They endured persecution on a colossal scale, but instead of the rising list of martyrs being a sign of failure, it was a sign that they were doing things right.

This passage in Acts 8 explores just such a time. Things had been going well until the religious authorities decided that enough was enough. Stephen had been murdered and the followers of Jesus had scattered through the area. But instead of keeping their heads down, instead of admitting defeat and settling for a quiet life, they devoted themselves to preaching and praying wherever they went.

This tale of Philip's arrival in a new Samaritan city shows what happens when we allow ourselves to get caught up in the work of God. Philip doesn’t take a step back from the action to keep himself safe. Instead he wastes no time in preaching and praying. What follows is the typically beautiful, wonderfully chaotic sight of God at work. Under the threat of death, there is great joy in the city.

The notion of what it means to come home and find rest varies for every one of us. But for those of us following Jesus, rest doesn’t look like the absence of activity or the downgrading of the threats against us. For us, just like Philip and the early Christians, we get filled up with the Holy Spirit so that we can be sent out to do God’s work. We find our rest in Him and are compelled to get out and see God at work in the lives of others.

None of this is about works or earning our own salvation. None of it is about our own merit.

It’s just another example of the upside-down nature of God at work through us.   

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