What is the goal of R.E.S.T. ?
The seven principles of R.E.S.T. (Resist Evil Stop Temptation) offer you a strategy to grow deeper in your Christian faith. This is accomplished as you choose to stop the hurt and destruction by quitting a harmful habit while improving your relationship with God . It’s for people who feel stuck and want to get unstuck. (This became the Amazon book Getting Unstuck 7 Steps to Freedom).
Your Life Has Meaning
Here are the principles, one through seven, to use to increase your closeness with God, others and you. The most important relationship to improve is with God. This connection was ruined in Eden (Genesis 3) and then fixed by God’s Son, Jesus (Luke 4:18). These principles cause intimacy (close relationship) with God to grow up as you follow them. You’ll see intimacy with God strengthened as you allow God to work with you to change an unhealthy habit that you’re caught up in right now.
7 Principles of R.E.S.T. :
- Ya gotta wanna stop the hurt and destruction by switching your focus from the temptation/habit to the solution, Jesus, then
- Ya gotta take personal responsibility for you while you’re making Jesus the focal point of your affection, then
- Ya gotta refuse to go along with temptation because you realize Jesus is your true treasure, then
- Ya gotta cooperate with God—not once but continually, this builds maturity into your relationship, then
- You’ll experience results: healthy relationships and intimacy exist because God comes first and you desire to please God and do what God wants to do, then
- You’re realizing temptation’s threat of ruin is one more opportunity to advance freedom as God becomes your preferred companion, then
- You’ll see that free-will choices and your love for God are the means for ultimate fulfillment and independence from temptation’s deception as you put into daily practice the principles of REST.
Benefits of R.E.S.T. : (Getting Unstuck: 7 Steps to Freedom)
- You’ll finally decide to do something to stop the hurt and destruction in your life.
- You’ll take personal responsibility for you.
- You’ll get tough and refuse to compromise.
- You’ll strengthen your relationship and intimacy with Christ (and everyone else).
- You’ll experience what it feels like to be healthy.
- You’ll realize God’s peace and protection.
- You’ll progressively prevent evil from ruining you.
Summaries of R.E.S.T.:
Another way to improve your relationship with God is by quitting a harmful habit. What will this do for you? Well, I’d say at least two things: 1) You’ll find out for yourself that God is really real. 2) You’ll feel better about yourself. And here’s a bonus thing, 3) All your other relationships will begin to improve too.
How does it work? How do I make it happen for me? There are seven steps to R.E.S.T. (Resist Evil Stop Temptation). Here’s the Step 1—7 summaries.
Step 1: Ya gotta wanna stop the hurt and destruction by switching your focus from the temptation/habit to the solution, Jesus.
There are two ideas that interconnect to form this step. The first idea is this: 1) You have to want to a) improve your relationship with God and b) change your behavior. 2) You have to change your focus. Many people fail to quit a hurtful habit because they: a) focus on the problem needing change instead of b) focusing on the solution to their problem—Jesus.
So, in order to complete Step 1 you have to make two choices: 1) decide to once and for all do something positive to change a destructive habit. 2) Switch your focus from the destructive habit to the promising solution.
Your choices do matter and you will see results if you choose what I’ve suggested. Now move on to the second step.
In this step you eliminate excuses. No more pointing fingers of blame at something or someone who has no control over the choices you make.
Ya gotta take personal responsibility for you while you’re making Jesus the focal point of your affection.
Like the first step this step has two features. 1) You accept responsibility for your own actions and 2) this becomes your accomplished reality as you focus on your desired love for God.
As step 2 is put into practice the choices made are your choices, you own them. It is important to see that no one can stop you from succeeding if you’ll forget about trying to shift your trouble to anyone other than you. When you look in the mirror the reflection is the person accountable for you.
If that’s straight in your head it’ll be because, again, your focus is on Christ Jesus. “I’m making responsible decisions because I choose to and because I choose to protect and promote my relationship with the Lord.”
It’s okay if you have to fight to accept what is your God-given gift of choice. Taking responsibility because you’ve determined to respect and love the Lord is a giant step forward. And it sets you up for Step 3.
If Step 1 and 2 are your new reality then you’re ready for the challenge of Step 3. This step is more than willpower, but it takes your willful choice to make it come to pass.
Step 3 ends up showing you what measure of sincerity and effort you actually possess. What’s your number? The range is from 0% meaning not doing anything to help yourself to 100% meaning you’re doing whatever is necessary to win.
Step 3: Ya gotta refuse to go along with temptation because you realize Jesus is your true treasure.
Just as in the previous steps there are two harmonizing ideas at work. 1) The refusal to participate in an empty and worthless temptation and behavior because, 2) you’ve figured out true pleasure, joy, and peace develops from your connection with Jesus. Why would you want to compromise this relationship? When this step is operating correctly you won’t settle for anything less than the best.
This is also a good spot to introduce a point that is critical in making R.E.S.T. operate beneficially. Temptation is vigilant. It is at all times on the alert to alter your moral choice. Expect temptation never to be too far away from where you are at this moment. Temptation’s intention is to keep you sick.
Even so, by refusing to go along with temptation, because you’re committed to discovering and enjoying the next piece of treasure in Christ, you set yourself up to continually succeed. Step 4 then becomes your next healing choice.
You’re feeling better because you’re making productive choices and your relationship with God is improving. So far, you’ve decided to do what you know you must do to get the results you’re longing for.
God has always been close by, now you’re noticing and your choices show it as you exercise your free will. This ability to choose is God’s gift and you’ve been taking more and more control of its correct operation. True, you may have experienced some slip-ups. Even so, they’ve made you realize that by yourself you’re not big enough or good enough to stop temptation or move forward in your relationship without Jesus.
Be relieved, you’re right where you ought to be. You’re ready for Step 4: Ya gotta cooperate with God—not once but continually, this builds responsibility into your relationship.
I feel like I should remark that some try to begin at a modified step 4. I mean people realize that for them to succeed in their quest to quit a damaging habit they need God’s help. And so they expect God to deliver to them whatever they are asking for without any action on their part. “God you take this it’s too much for me.”
You’re right, it’s too much for you. The mistake is in forgetting that you also have a part to winning your freedom and enjoying a renewing prosperity in God. It’s absolutely useless to assume you can dump your situation on God and forget about it. If you assume that God will make things better without you doing anything, you’re seriously misguided. This isn’t going to happen, relationships never succeed if they are only one-way.
Consequently, step 4 has two pieces that fit together just as in previous steps. 1) Yes, you must cooperate with God not only once but also, 2) continually. What is at play here is your freedom of choice. Your power to make a choice must remain activated and functioning. You’re building a relationship and the Lord intends for you to see the benefits of building a relationship “together.”
Your choices are changing you. Constant cooperation with God is improving your relationship and confronting temptation effectively. Step 5 is waiting for you.
What was ruined in Eden (Genesis 3), Christ has restored—friendship with God.
Step 5: You’ll experience results: healthy relationships and intimacy exist because God comes first and you desire to please God and do what God wants to do.
At first reading this may sound a little confusing but here is where you are:
1) You’ve decided to do something constructive to change what has been sabotaging you. You’re focusing on Jesus instead of your destructive habit.
2) You’ve taken responsibility for you.
3) You’re refusing to go along with temptation’s evil efforts to keep you under its control.
4) You’re cooperating with God continually. Meaning, you’re working together with the Lord to enrich your behavior and consequently, your involvement with God is becoming stimulating and strong.
Step 5 is an eye opener. While it may not have been obvious to you before, now the results are evident because you’ve committed to and followed the first four steps. Foremost, you’re seeing definite returns on your invested connection with God. Subsequently, you’re experiencing more command over your harmful habit(s). The saying, “Success breeds success” resonates truth in you.
As your relationship with God progresses you’re noticing that your other relationships are also growing. Your relationships with those you love. With friends as well as enemies. And, notably, your relationship with you. As a result, because you’re awakening a rewarding relationship with God and have chosen to make the Lord your primary interest, your zeal and determination intensify. In other words, feeling healthy is a sensation you’re reluctant to trade and long to protect.
There isn’t any freedom or peace like the peace and freedom Jesus makes available. This revealed fact is alive and simmering within you. Your right choices are becoming obvious to you (and everyone you come in contact with). Thus you desire to keep moving forward. You’re eager for step 6.
The freedom that comes from good health feels wonderful and is a terrific motivator. You never want to be sick again.
Step 6 says: You’re realizing temptation’s threat of ruin is one more opportunity to increase freedom, as God becomes your number one companion. (Previous steps in “Current Projects”)
In Step 3 I said that temptation’s intention is to make you suffer and keep you suffering. Since you’ve been cooperating with the Spirit of God you’ve found out that temptation rarely quits fighting you. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. As you practice these steps of R.E.S.T. temptation can actually transform you into an effective spiritual fighter. How?
When you recognize you’re being tempted and refuse to give in you unlock opportunity. The opportunity is to use the treasure extended to you by Jesus and then to grasp that further treasured opportunities will open up for you. What’s being accomplished is turning the table on temptation’s evil intent.
Does this mean you’ll always win and never lose? Not at all. Until the end of time there is the possibility of failing. Because this is so you continually cooperate with God by remaining humble, dependent, and focused on Jesus.
Temptation/Evil isn’t stronger than Jesus. Jesus was/is never intimidated by temptation/evil. And when you keep your concentration on Christ you don’t need to be intimidated either.
Again, temptation can become a way for you to bring about further intimacy with God. Why? It works as you follow the seven steps of R.E.S.T. These principles remind you that God is all-sufficient not you. This respectful outlook helps you to stay reliant on the Lord and is the best place to be. This is precisely what Jesus did. What’s happening is that you’re making good choices instead of bad choices; healthy choices instead of unhealthy choices. As a result your relationship with God improves—becomes well again—and you don’t want to trade this for anything.
Fun changes its definition. So Step 6 sings this tune: Every time the temptation comes it is an opportunity to move closer to God.
You’re ready for the final step, 7.
You’ve arrived at a special place; at this place you’re cautiously optimistic. You are because you’re seeing results, yet wondering if these will last. Your connection with God has improved. Certainly you recognize you have a long ways to go, but it’s okay having something to work on. You probably should always feel this way. How come?
Because, it isn’t to your benefit to ever feel self satisfied. I believe Jesus told us the secret to living at the top when he said to his disciples, “I have food that you know not of.” (John 4:32)
Jesus had no intention of keeping this a secret from them or us. When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and empowered those in the upper room (Acts 2) they began to comprehend what Jesus had said and meant. Spiritual food is available when we’re weak and relying wholly on God. Remain childlike. Become like a fuzzy yellow chick that instinctively doesn’t stray too far from Mom because it may get snatched.
Step 7 is: You’ll see that free-will choices and your love for God are the means for ultimate fulfillment and independence from temptation’s deception as you put into daily practice the principles of R.E.S.T.
In this step three things are going on at the same time, 1) You’re exercising your free will choices. 2) You’re happily cooperating with God for your own wellbeing. And 3) You’re experiencing liberty from what used to be your double-crossing habit. Is there a better place to be than this? At times temptation will tell you, “Yes there is.” Or, “Remember when…” Or ask, “Have you had enough of this Jesus stuff?”
As in Eden you’ll be faced with a choice, decide to choose life. Keep the relationship with God fresh and don’t allow it to develop into merely religion. Christ Jesus is the one who has fresh surprises for you as your allegiance and alliance deepen.