Where can your soul find enduring rest? In God alone! You won’t find it in things like TV, movies, sports, or recreation. If they are wholesome, they may offer brief entertainment, but no lasting rest. In fact, if you’re like me, when your favorite sports team loses, the temporary peace you derive from the things of this earth may even disappear(!) for a while.
It is in the triune God alone that you’ll find rest for your soul, in good times or bad. Circumstances don’t dictate your peace, or lack of it. No, it is God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit of God who impart peace and rest to you, regardless of what is going on around you.
Remember the words of Jesus: “In me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). On the one hand, the Lord guarantees that in this world we will encounter trouble. That is a given. But His message of encouragement in the midst of this world’s hardships is: “In me you may have peace. Take heart! I have overcome the world.” So the world and its troubles are not the victor; Jesus is! And He offers His victory and His peace to us.
Stop and think about Christ’s words. He says several things here to all who are weary and burdened:
We don’t have to work for inner peace and rest. We can’t earn it or create it. Rather, the lasting rest we all need is given to those who come to Him for it. Rest for our souls comes, and abides, because of a personal encounter with the Lord. This should give added motivation to us to spend time with Him in worship, in prayer, and in His Word the Bible.
Remember, Jesus the divine Son of God became man and came to earth to secure our salvation through His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:2-4). He lived on this earth for some 33 years and experienced the joys and sorrows—yes, even our temptations (Hebrews 4:15-16), yet without ever sinning. So we can come boldly to Him on His throne of grace for any and all help we need.
Do you need peace? rest? Then come to Him. To His busy, tired disciples Jesus said, “Come with me…and get some rest.” So again, where do we find rest? With Him! How do we go “with Him” to get that rest? One of the best ways is to simply follow His instructions and come “by yourselves to a quiet place.” I find usually that my best times of communing with the Lord and receiving His peace are when I get alone with Him in some “quiet place,” usually in some unoccupied room in my house, and just enjoying peace-giving fellowship with Him in prayer, praise, and His Word. One key to “resting in the Lord” is taking time to be with Him. It doesn’t have to be hours long. Even brief times in the presence of Jesus Christ can fill your soul to overflowing. Try to take those times as often as you can.
I see four principles here from the Scriptures for gaining relief from anxieties and cares that are bogging you down. We mortals each have our own set of frailties. One of mine, even in these “senior” years, is a tendency to become anxious (maybe fretful and worried is a better way of saying it). Thankfully, the Lord showed me this fault years ago, along with this verse’s cure for it. I try to apply it whenever I find myself getting weighed down by a care…and it works! Here are those four keys from the apostle Peter’s writing:
This verse from the apostle Paul adds some insight to the previous one by Peter. Do you want to cast your anxieties on Jesus? Then be specific! Bring your precise anxiety/care to Jesus in prayer—“by prayer and petition.”
Makes specific, detailed petitions. Don’t just generalize like: “Lord, I need peace.” Rather, present your requests to God in some detail. For example: “Lord, I’m worried about making the rent next month. I’m losing sleep over it. Help me. Give peace to my heart, and give me the provision to cover the rent, either by reducing my other expenses or increasing my income.”
Then begin to thank Him for the expected help that you’ve asked Him for. The result will be a peace, a rest in your soul, that “transcends all understanding.” When you first came to Jesus in repentance and faith, you became a born-again child of God and experienced “peace with God” (Romans 5:1). Now, as His beloved sons and daughters, we can bring to Him in prayer all our cares and worries and can enjoy “the peace of God,” a peace that far surpasses that which our own minds and hearts can generate or even imagine.
I first preached on this topic of finding rest in the Lord many years ago. As I write this article today, in 2016, our world is careening to destruction more every day. Anti-biblical homosexual marriages, not even whispered about 50 years ago, are now legalized in many nations and are widely accepted. Terrorism has wounded the soul of entire nations. The family has disintegrated, and in many large cities at least 2/3 of babies are born and raised in fatherless homes. Many millions more unborn babies are routinely and savagely executed in the womb. The list of moral decay could go on and on.
These things can take rest away from our souls. What can we do? Hold onto “good old-fashioned” Bible values. Seek out the “ancient paths,” the biblical values that have undergirded great societies for centuries. Respond to the world’s declining values just as Jesus did when Satan tempted Him three times in the desert: “It is written … It is also written … it is written” (Matthew 4:4,7,10).
Search the Bible for “the good way.” Walk in biblical ways and values, even though you are likely to be mocked by the ungodly as ignorant and intolerant. However, unlike your mockers, you will “find rest for your souls” as you adhere to God’s ways as they are clearly revealed in His Word the Bible.
There comes a restful peace to our souls when we know we are walking rightly, biblically before God. We feel a confidence, a security, that God is pleased with us and with our walk with Him, so what can man do to us? The answer? Nothing!—“In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11)
As our opening verse says, let your “soul find rest in God alone…[and you] will never be shaken” (Psalm 62:1-2).
©2004, 2016, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.