Summary: True rest comes by starting to reflect on things above rather than on your troubles here below
The Benefits of Rest and Reflection
Illustration:There’s no music in a rest, but there is the making of music in it. In our whole life-melody the music is broken off here and there by ’rests,’ and we foolishly think we have come to the end of the tune...not without design does God write the music of our lives. Be it ours to learn the tune, and not be dismayed at the ’rests.’ They are not to be slurred over, not to be omitted, not to destroy the melody, not to change the keynote. If we sadly say to ourselves, ’There is no music in a rest,’ let us not forget that there is the making of music in it.
"Carry some quiet around inside thee," the well-known Quaker, George Fox, used to say. "Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit, from thy own thoughts, and then thou wilt feel the principle of God to turn thy mind to the Lord from whence cometh life; whereby thou mayest receive the strength and power to allay all storms and tempests."
1. Why do you suppose that some people feel guilty when they take time for rest and reflection?
Even Jesus needed time when he could gain refreshment for his mind, emotions and soul. (Mark 1:35) Very early in the morning, Jesus got up and went out to a lonely place and there He prayed."
Paul knew he needed to recharge his mental, emotional and spiritual batteries so he took an interval from his labors. Different personalities get recharged in a variety of ways.
Paul regained strength by visiting Christian leaders, traveling with trusted companions and recounting some of the successes God had blessed him with. Be sure that you follow Paul’s fine example by making necessary provisions to periodically recharge your batteries. (Eph. 4:22-24)
Trust the Lord to prompt you to rest and reflect so you do not overextend your self.
Paul recharged, refreshed and replenished his strength when he put away anger and put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Eph. 4:22-32) Only when we take time to put off the old sinful desires and put on the new life of Christ’s power by mediating on His word will are we restored by the power of the Holy Spirit. Ask the Lord to help you rethink, reconfigure and renew your mind with the fresh perspectives that are given in times of restful reflection.
2. Paul used these times of rest and reflection to prepare for his future. Proper preparations prevent poor performance. The best plans are made when we are able to listen to the voice of God without interruptions.
Trust the Lord to help you to prayerfully take times to rest and reflect on where you have come and where you should go next. (Prov. 3:5,6)
3. Paul combined times of rest and reflection with positive interactions with Godly advisers. Try not to isolate yourself completely from Christian fellowship. Paul used his recuperative time to strengthen other believers and follow-up converts in Galatia and Phrygia. Fix your thoughts on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praise-worthy. (Phil. 4:8)
Trust the Lord to help you find less demanding ministries that will provide edifying interactions during your times of recuperation.
4. Paul even used the time of reflection to take a thirty day vow to refrain from meat and wine. Most of the time our vacations tempt us to pork out with food and beverages. Paul wrote, "Discipline yourself for the purpose of GODLINESS, for GODLINESS is profitable not only in this life but also in the age to come." (I Tim. 4:7,8)
Be careful that you do not do more harm than good when recreating.
5. Paul shaved his head as a sign of thankfulness and consecration to the Lord during his time of reflection. There may be some special way that you can use your recuperative time to write, read or to offer some special act of consecration to the Lord.
Ask the Lord to guide you in a way that will make it a memorable time for all.
6. Paul networked with his churches during his recuperative time. The apostle never forgot how the churches commended him to the ministry. Do not forget that you are dependent on other members of the body of Christ as they are on you. Paul wrote, "Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose." (Phil. 2:2) Make that a prayer for Godly unity in your circles.
Use your times of recuperation to participate in a good Bible conference, prayer meetings or times of healthy fellowship.
7. Paul’s recuperation time helped other members assume leaders roles. Give other people a chance to preach, teach and minister as leaders in your fellowship.