Rest for Your Soul

Where do you go to find rest for your soul?

Is it in fellowship with a person? Getting everything done so you can relax? Some sort of pleasure?

Most things that we think will provide rest for our souls will not do so. In fact, a little reflection on our experience would show us how elusive our quest for rest has been.

Why do we continually pursue possessions, entertainment, vacations, and people as if they would provide the real rest for our souls that we are looking for?

Part of the reason is the messages we are bombarded every day: Live más! If you really want to live, get Taco Bell! You haven’t moved across the earth unless you’ve gotten the latest car! You aren’t significant unless your clothes have the Nike symbol on them (amazing how Nike has convinced almost every teenage boy to believe this. Congratulations, Nike!). You haven’t really lived unless you’ve gone to Australia or Sandals or . . . Message after message tells us the same thing, and we probably don’t even realize that this is shaping our view of the world.

The amazing thing is that all the great teachers of the world, Christian or not, agree on this: the things that commercials promise will make us happy won’t make us happy, won’t make us better, and won’t bring us lasting joy.

These teachers agree. Instead of joy and happiness being found in circumstances and things, joy is found in a state of soul that can be content whatever the situation.

Marcus Aurelius wrote his book Meditations on this very topic. How can a person find true happiness amid the shocks of life? He wrote this book to help himself find contentment even while in the midst of battle defending the borders of the Roman Empire. Here is just one example of his analysis:

Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the country, seashores, and mountains; and you, too, are wont to desire such things very much. But this is altogether a mark of the most common sort of men, for it is in your power whenever you choose to retire into yourself. . . . tranquility is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind (4.3).

Happiness is a matter of character not of place or possessions.

The Christian faith takes this one step further. According to the Christian faith, it is the state of our soul that is most important. However, it is not primarily something we achieve but a gift we receive that makes the difference. The gift is a relationship with God in which we find joy and contentment because God gives us what we need, and we receive it by faith.

According to the Bible, in a relationship with God, we have joy, peace, acceptance, security, and purpose. Our struggle comes from lacking these things. Our restoration is when we can enjoy these things, and each of us can enjoy them at any time, if we will accept the fellowship with God that He offers us.

Enjoyment of this relationship is available to anyone at any time in any place in any condition.


One Reply to “Rest for Your Soul”

  1. I agree, Wes. And I would add that we must deal with sin. All have sinned and must turn from sin. And it must be a conversion as well as a lifestyle. The other day I said something about someone and the more I thought about it I knew I should not have said it, for it was a judgmental statement. I had to apologize to the person I said it to about someone else. This lifestyle keeps our “conscience void of offense”. Have a wonderful Christmas with your beautiful family.

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