Jesus said, "Come off by yourselves; let's take a break and get a little rest." For there was constant coming and going. They didn't even have time to eat.
16 The LORD’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. 17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. 18 My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.
We live such busy lives, pursuing all kinds of avenues of interest and demand, seldom realizing just how much of our bodies, souls, and spirits are being depleted in the process. Our invitation today is to come into a place of refreshing - the place where the Spirit of the Lord dwells. It is there that we will find the refreshment of body, soul and spirit.
To be refreshed means that we find new vigor or energy by rest. In our first passage today, the disciples had been out healing the sick, casting out demons and were returning back to Jesus to share the many stories of their journeys. Jesus knows the limits of the physical body - instructing them to take time to get a little rest. You can only go at an "amped up" physical pace for so long - then the body will rebel. It needs physical, emotional, and mental rest in order to restore the energy it needs for that type of activity. Jesus was instructing them to take time to make themselves "fresh" again.
A freshness of spirit comes in taking time to get alone with Jesus. A freshness of body requires taking care of it by adequate rest, nourishing food, and the right amount of activity to keep it physically fit. Freshness of mind is something that we often overlook. When we neglect re-energizing our minds, we get burned out. God does more than provide for our spirit and body - he also provides for our minds. Mental "health" is achieved in keeping balance in our lives - allowing mind to meditate of things that build up and restore in sufficient amounts that there is balance maintained.
God's promises to Israel were that they would dwell with a righteous God. The fruit of living with a righteous God is peace, quietness of spirit, and confidence of mind. God's intent was that we would live in undisturbed places of rest. In other words, not affected by what the world was hurling our way. How on earth do we ever get to that place of undisturbed rest? It almost seems impossible.
Did you know that one of the outcomes of "rest" is to be reinvigorated? We think of rest as the ceasing of activity - God's desire is that we cease our activity and allow him to show us his activity! That is were we find rest - in stopping our activity long enough to acknowledge his. In doing this, we bring honor to the one who requires to place of "center-focus" in our lives.
The invitation to come into a place of refreshing is really a call to cease from our own striving - striving to overcome sin, striving to live better, striving to keep it all together, striving to be perfect. The enjoyment of the place of rest is that we are enlivened by the Holy Spirit - rejuvenated at the core of our being. The passage from Isaiah has a key to this "ceasing". Don't just scan over it or you will miss it.
"The effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever!" In other words, the effect of dwelling in the presence of a righteous God is that his righteousness will affect us. The affect is quietness and confidence. Quietness of mind and confidence of spirit are end-products of dwelling in the presence of God - taking time to get alone with him often enough and long enough to be affected by his righteousness.
The next time you feel like you are "over the edge" in living life - come into refreshing. Your life thrives best where there is balance. If you are out of balance, you're in a place of danger. Just as a washing machine rocks, bangs, and clangs when it is "out of balance", so your mind, emotions, and body will go through all kinds of needless gyrations, not fully accomplishing the purpose for which they were created. It is only when we are "in balance" that we can accomplish what we were created to accomplish.
The invitation is to come into refreshing - get balance in your life once again!