Posted on Wednesday, Sep 09, 2020 by Craig Denison
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8 NKJV
One of the great realities of relationship with God, a symptom of his love and grace, is that he never forces his desires or even good gifts on us. Life with God is about listening for his quiet invitation and saying yes as wholly and quickly as we can. And so it is with needed moments of rest and healing.
Every day God makes his healing available to us. At the most foundational level, eternal healing through salvation is available to all, yet is not forced upon us. A part of the mystery of faith is the need for us to say "yes" to even a gift like salvation. God's healing and covering for all of our sins is as close as a "first, true yes" to him within our hearts.
But every day there is healing God wants to provide for those wounds caused by this world we live in. But that healing is never forced upon us, but rather extended to us in the form of an invitation. And part of living an abundant life in God is developing rhythms to live in a constant state of "yes" to God's invitations – a posture of receiving we must embody in heart, body, and mind.
And we must acknowledge that a "yes" to God's invitation is in fact at odds with the very structure and systems we're living in. Saying "yes" to God often requires slowing down, being still, making space for God to work at a depth that is beyond words or understanding, and when we move to action, doing so for his glory rather than our own. Simply saying "yes" to God often requires saying "no" to the things of the world.
In Matthew 10:39 Jesus says, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Somehow abundant life in God comes not by looking for the easy path – the path of self-gain, but by denying ourselves, picking up our crosses, and following the ways and person of Jesus (Luke 9:23).
When the world says that the morning is a time to get ahead on the day, Jesus says it's a time to root and ground ourselves in him. When the world says that financial security and abundance is a cornerstone of a happy life, Scripture teaches that "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils" (1 Tim. 6:10). And when the world teaches us that rest and recovery is a sign and symptom of weakness, God modeled for us in the Creation narrative and in his command for the Sabbath that rest is good, holy, and woven into the very fabric of our being, our faith, and our world.
So today, think for a moment about the rhythms of your life. What rhythms are right now helping you say "yes" to God? And what rhythms are keeping you from saying "yes" to God?
What rhythms could you keep or create to live with a deeper and more frequent "yes" to God? And what do you need to say "no" to today that you might have space for more and better "yeses"?
If I may, here are a couple rhythms that are helping me say "yes" to God, as well as a few "nos" that I often need to voice.
Rhythm One: Keep the Sabbath
Genesis 2:2-3 tells us, "And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation."
God, a perfect being with no weakness, a being who dwells in all of eternity and does not need rest or sleep, chooses to rest as an act of holiness, goodness, and celebration.
Ezekiel 20:20 says, "keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God."
A weekly day of real rest from both career work and family work creates a rhythm that both helps us heal and recover, but also sets our feet on God's path instead of the world's.
So my encouragement is simply this, set aside a day a week that is purely for enjoyment of God, enjoyment of family and friends, and connection and deep rest for yourself. If that needs to be a different day than Sunday, especially if you are a church leader or heavily involved in service at your church, make the space for it.
Rhythm Two: Spend your first moments alone with God
There is no more important daily practice in saying "yes" to God's invitation of healing than beginning your day in God's presence.
The "yes" of spending your most important moments of the day with God makes it easier to live with an abiding "yes" throughout the rest of your day. And the alternative is equally true. It's truly challenging to say "yes" to God when we begin our day by saying "yes" to work, entertainment, social media, our appearance, exercise, family, or news.
Every day with First15 we have a free devotional guide to help you find and keep an abiding connection with God. Feel free to check it out if you want a practical way to say "yes" to God's invitation to moments of healing every morning first thing.
Craig Denison is the author of First15. First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.