I was recently praying for the Bible school that I am staffing, asking God where we are at mentally and spiritually as a school. More than that I was curious about what He wanted to teach us and where He wanted to take us.
It's such an incredible privilege to be able to partner with God on a journey, knowing that He doesn't just lead us without our input and without partnering with us. Jesus put it this way in John chapter 15 verse 15 "No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you."
Jesus calls us friends and then qualifies what a friend of God means. That we now know what God is doing, we are being joined with Him in His plans, His plans are no longer a mystery to us. So, on this particular night I was asking God to reveal what He was doing and what He wanted to do.
This is what He said, "You can hunger and thirst for me, but also have rest." Think about times when you are hungry, I mean really hungry. The only thing you can think about is food. These questions probably run through your mind: When did I last eat? When is dinner? What's for dinner? Is there a snack I can eat right now? Hunger involves your whole body. Yes your stomach is growling, but your whole body is affected as food becomes more and more important in your mind.
This is what hungering for God looks like and what it feels like. He becomes just as important (if not more) than food. Hungering and thirsting for God needs to be a whole body experience, not just a mental exercise.
On a deeper note, I believe that it starts with our heart position towards God. We need a mouldable and soft heart, so that He may start to change us and reveal Himself to us in new ways. Out of this heart position, it can now effect our whole beings.
So, how does hunger and thirst, correlate with rest? We first need to define what Biblical rest is. The first place we see rest in Scripture is when God rested on the 7th day after He made creation. We need to understand that we were created to work out of a place of rest, not towards it. God created the world, and then out of that rest we started working.
Rest is not sitting in a big comfy chair, reading a book and drinking coffee or watching a sports game on a Sunday afternoon after a long week at work. Rest is state of being. It's a place of intimacy with the Father. It's knowing who you are and knowing who God is. Hebrews 3 verses 7-11 gives us an excellent example of NOT resting. It says in verses 7-8, "Today, if you hear his (God's) voice, do not harden your hearts as in rebellion" Then God says in verses 10 and 11, "They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways." He says these things and then says "They shall not enter my rest".
Building truth, gaining insight
Truth never contradicts itself in Scripture, although we may not fully understand what God is saying, what He says will never go against what He has said previously. Instead of contradicting itself, it will always build upon itself. As we read Scripture, we start to see how concepts complement one another instead of tear one another down.
As the writers of the New Testament were writing, God was taking them deeper into truth, revealing new things and how each concept worked in a real life situation. God never reveals a concept that we can't walk out as reality in our own lives.
Once we know who we are (as God's children) and then who God is (as a good Father) we now can now be at rest. Once our hearts are soft, making sure to listen to God and follow in His ways, we get to enter into His amazing rest.
Here's my challenge: Let's hunger and thirst for God and allow God to reveal the truth about who He is and how his truth effects every area of our lives. Let's learn to be at rest in everything we do as we gain confidence in who God is and who we are.
Jason LaLone is on staff at YWAM Brisbane. He is passionate about discipleship, taking Jesus's command to make disciples of all nations as a practical reality that he can live on a daily basis. He loves lasagna, cats and use to dislike Monday's, making him most like Garfield.
Jason LaLone's previous articles might be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jason-lalone.html