God has been impressing upon me the importance of differentiating between when I’m being self-focused and when I could use some refreshment. On the one hand, I can see that someone in a difficult situation - say a slave - wouldn’t get much time to refresh and rejuvenate. Yet, they are still called to always live as Christ would. On the other hand, I know that a person needs refreshment. Where do I get that knowledge? And where is the line between self-focus and need of refreshment?
Refreshment is similar to rest. Rest is commanded of us once every seven days - the Lord’s day. So I can know that we do need rest and refreshment.
It seems to me that the line between selfishness and actual need is focus. Either way - whether I actually need rest, or am being self-focused - my focus needs to be on Christ, and His will and glory. Why am I seeking rest? If I am seeking rest because I am focused on needing rest, rather than on accomplishing God’s will, then my focus needs to change. Then I can determine whether I truly need rest.
Proverbs 3:7-8 says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.” Focus on Him - more specifically, being humble under Him and placing my fear upon Him - produces healing and refreshment.
Whenever I go on vacation seeking rest, I inevitably come back disappointed and still needing refreshment. That’s because my focus is on myself. My expectations and my needs and desires weren’t met. In my self-focus, I am prideful, not humble. Self-serving, not God-serving.
When I go looking for what the Lord is going to do that day, I inevitably come back refreshed. My focus is on His will, and what He would have me do. God-serving, not self-serving.
It is for this reason (among others, I’m sure) that God made the commanded day of rest His day. We achieve physical rest by resting physically, but we receive refreshment by exalting Him rather than ourselves.
To go back to the example of the slave: were I that person, I may not get much rest. Yet I can still get refreshment by my humility and fear of the Lord. Physical rest may not be possible, but that simply means that God has determined that it isn’t best for me and/or those that I affect right now, else God would have made rest possible. Talk about a test in faith, patience, humility, and endurance! What a testimony of God’s glory to be refreshed without rest!
May I live in the constant awareness of my humble place under the mighty hand of God. (1 Peter 5:6)