In earthly terms, if we rest well, we find ourselves prepared to work well and to fulfill our responsibilities. Conversely, fitful sleep makes for far greater difficulty in dealing with the issues of life.
The same principle holds even more true in matters of the Spirit.
"We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10).
Scripture calls us to "rest in the Lord," and to "trust in the Lord with all thy heart" (Psalm 37:7; Proverbs 3:5). Upon this foundation of complete dependence whereby we no longer view ourselves as our own workmanship, we then find dynamic motivation and enabling for a life "unto good works." First, rest, then work. As in our physical existence, so must we spiritually keep this order always in heart and mind. Reversal of the sequence leads to frustration and failure. Maintaining the proper order ensures a heart of peace, which leads to hands energized by the Holy Spirit to "maintain good works for necessary uses" (Titus 3:14).
No greater challenge presents itself to the born again believer in the Lord Jesus. Our spiritual enemies continually seek to hinder our spiritual rest. Indeed, they cannot steal from us the salvation that begins "not of works," but of "by grace are ye saved through faith" (Ephesians 2:7-9). The world, the devil, and the flesh, however, can tempt us to a "fitful sleep," as it were. That is, they can distract us from the remembrance and affirmation of the experience of grace that must empower our ongoing devotion to God no less than it birthed us into saving relationship with Him. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Colossians 2:6). We must therefore steep ourselves in the Bible's continual declaration that we work well only as we rest well. The writer of Hebrews concludes this portion of our consideration with one of Scripture's brightest rays of light concerning this vital matter of spiritual order and sequence...
"Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear."
(Tomorrow: Part 2 - "Return unto thy rest" - Psalm 116:7)