Learning How to Rest

Some of the most difficult times for me are the times in which I’m not busy. Sundays and right after the end of a busy term are especially difficult. It doesn’t make sense really. Times of rest should be renewing and refreshing times. I have had times when I think, “It’ll be great when I finish this term and have some more free time on my hands.” But when all the exams are graded and the paperwork is handed in, I’m left thinking, “Now what?” It is at those times when negative thoughts assault me. I begin thinking, “I should go out and start evangelizing. There are lots of unsaved people around me.” That begins a time of introspection and questioning: “Is this from God? Is the Holy Spirit leading me to do this?” It seems like a good thing to do—sharing Jesus with people that don’t know Him—but it’s incredibly burdensome and troubling. If I say to myself, “No, I won’t do this,” then I feel guilty and the accusations of the enemy strike me like flaming arrows.

I share these kinds of thoughts with my wife, mature Christian friends, ministers, elders, and others, and none of them think that these thoughts come from God. This past week I spent two hours praying with a minister about these and related issues. Afterward, I felt like I was able to rest more in not acting on these thoughts. I was reminded that serving, sharing, evangelizing are as a result of one’s loving and secure relationship with God. They are based out of an identity that is rooted in Him and filled with His Spirit. Doing so because I have to is not a proper biblical motivation.

It’s unfortunate that I have to deal with this almost every holiday, day off, or break from school. When will I learn? When can I get over this? I guess these struggles are my lot. Maybe I will deal with them until the day I die. However, I take comfort in knowing that others deal with the same thing.

“For the love of Christ controls us…” 2 Corinthians 5:14 NASB

“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…” Hebrews 12:2 NASB

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Book Review of Found: God’s Peace by John MacArthur

 

I just finished a little book about peace and anxiety by John MacArthur called Found: God’s Peace — Experience True Freedom from Anxiety in Every Circumstance. It was originally published in 1993 and re-published in 2015 by David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Contents and Notes

The content is derived from another of MacArthur’s books called Anxious for Nothing. Like most things that MacArthur writes, it’s biblical.

He writes that God doesn’t want us to have anxiety, and that all form of worry are sin. The primary means of avoiding anxiety is through prayer (Phil. 4). We are also to think about the qualities listed in Phil. 4:8.

Peter was a worrier who told us to cast our fears on God (1 Pet. 5:5-7). This involves humility and an understanding of our identity in Him. If we know that He cares for us, we can trust Him. As we humble ourselves before Him, He will lift us up in due time.

God’s peace is not dependent on circumstances; it’s a supernatural gift. One thing we must do is to turn away from sin as sin is often a cause of the anxiety. We must also live a righteous life according to the Word.

In the last section of the book, MacArthur briefly comments on 31 different psalms which are a help to the anxious.

Reflections

All in all, it’s a quick read and helped me to turn my eyes toward God. There is nothing particularly new, nor does their need to be. I appreciate MacArthur’s biblical approach.

I’m encouraged to have my identity rooted more firmly in Him and not to doubt His goodness or my position in Him.

May we all experience more of God’s peace!