Soulful Rest

Dec 05, 2011 10:35 AM EST

“This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” Jeremiah 6:16

The soul longs for rest in the Lord’s love and security. It’s when a body’s activities and emotional capacities run ahead of its soul that distress begins to define a disciple. Rest for the inner life is required for the outward life to leave behind an eternal impression on those it encounters. Indeed, God speaks inwardly with truth and trust to listening hearts.

We each confront crossroads in our everyday lives that invite a secular frame of mind or a scriptural mindset. The new way may seem nice, but behind its modern mask is confusion, clutter and contempt for Christ. The old way may seem stale and sedate, but when applied prayerfully it is refreshing, rejuvenating and relationally healthy.

“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you” (Exodus 33:13a).

For example, the Lord may be leading you to adopt an abandoned child, but you feel pressure from society and even from some family members not to follow through. But you know adoption is a way to represent your heavenly Father’s love to a lost, discarded and confused child. God’s way is to go through each open door in faith and obedience. Your soul stays sensitive and alive when you bring hope and love to another needy soul.

Or, your crossroads may be a career opportunity that seems exciting one moment and terrifying the next. You know the Lord’s track record of faithfulness has been flawless with your family, but fear causes you to “what if” yourself into procrastination. Perhaps He is saying to cut loose your umbilical cord to the culture and embrace Christ’s new call. Your soul is searching for significance beyond the secular into spiritual integration.

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Soul rest comes with regular doses of doing nothing or doing routine acts of something. Just as a body’s muscles stretch and grow with exercise, then rest, a soul’s spiritual stamina stretches and grows with strident service, then quiet contemplation. A soul needs to “be” more than it needs to “do”. “Doing” without “being” shrivels your soul, but “doing” from “being” fattens your faith. Thus, walk in the good way with God in soulful rest.

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him” (Psalm 62:5).

What activities do I need for my “doing” to flow from my “being”, so my soul can rest?

Related Readings: Psalm 62:1; 116:7; Matthew 11:29; Hebrews 4:1-6

The author of Wisdom Hunters daily devotional is Boyd Bailey. For more information, visit: