“It’s hard to rest when you have nothing to fall back on.” We were discussing the biblical warning against failing to enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:1-7). My friend expressed a common mindset that I’ve fallen into many times.
By: Daniel Oines
I call this mindset “when/then thinking.” Here are some examples:
- When my husband changes, then I’ll quit nagging.
- When this bill is paid, then I’ll stop worrying.
- When my son gets a real job, then I won’t fret.
- When I get a diagnosis, then I’ll feel better.
- When my daughter breaks up with the jerk, then I’ll enjoy her again.
- When this project is finished, then I’ll engage with my family.
- When I lose ten pounds, then I’ll quit complaining.
- When I get the promotion, then I’ll take time for myself.
These all sound like legitimate reasons to worry and strive. But these are symptoms of not entering God’s rest. God’s rest is not freedom from hassles; it is freedom from being controlled by them.
- Rest is achieved by trusting God.
- Rest is ceasing from striving, controlling, and worrying.
- Rest calms the storm within me.
When/then thinking is a trap. This mindset keeps us in turmoil. It depends on our ability to fix our problems or on a change in our circumstances. It basically says, “When I can see how things will work out, then I’ll trust God.” Jesus says don’t wait, instead: “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NIV).
True rest doesn’t depend on whether our situation works out as we hoped. It comes from bringing our concerns to Jesus. It comes from surrenderng our burdens, busyness, or lack. We experience rest when we live yoked to Him.
Hebrews says: “Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7, NASB).
Today is all we have. We deceive ourselves when we tell ourselves we’ll trust God when…. Today is the day to lay down our burdens.
Can you imagine living free from worry? What would it be like if you didn’t react when people tried to push your buttons? Imagine not being shaken by an unexpected bill or an unwelcomed doctor’s report. Would you like to have a peace that isn’t tied to your circumstances or other people?
Today, we can repent of putting conditions on our faith and obedience. We can stop saying “When this happens, then I’ll rest.”
Have you ever fallen into when/then thinking? What difference would it make if you entered God’s rest today? Join me in prayer.
Lord Jesus, I come to You with my burdens, needs, fears, deadlines, and dreads. I choose to surrender the outcome of these into Your hands. I surrender the conditions I’ve put on my faith. I choose to rest in Your love, Your sovereignty, Your goodness, Your power, Your provision, and Your perfect will for my life. Grant me the grace to trust you TODAY.”
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I appreciate your prayers as I prepare for the release of my study: Give Yourself a Break, Discovering the Secrets to God’s Rest.
Debbie W. Wilson