The paradox of the Christian walk is that the 'resting in God' that the Bible talks about (Heb 4v1) is not just something of inaction (Psalm 46v10), but is achieved by both an active submission to His will (James 4v7 / Luke 13v24)) and an active beholding of Christ (2 Cor 3v18). While we may clearly understand what it is to submit and obey, we may not have as great an understanding of what it is to behold Jesus or the fact that only by an active beholding of Him can we be enabled to continue to obey in a loving and fruitful way born by the Spirit and not by the works of the flesh. The following passage gives us great insight into what exactly beholding the Lord means:
2 Cor 3v18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
This passage of scripture shows us that the beholding of Jesus is primarily a contemplation of His glory. This means that we must make it an active and continuous practice in our lives to think about Christ's goodness and His person. We must take time to think about His love and offer our thankfulness to Him, and sing to Him with full sincerity and gladness. We can stir ourselves up to do this by thinking about all the wonderful works of God that the Bible tells us about, the hope that He has given us, the grace He has shown us and the good things He has done in our lives and for others. Furthermore, we can meditate on His perfect character and the creation He’s made and how that reveals His power and majesty. We can also do this by listening to good worship music, listening to others worshipping Him, worshipping Him ourselves by song, and by speaking in tongues. There are obviously many things about the Lord's glory that we can contemplate, and of course, a speaking and communing with Jesus and a reading of His Word should be central in all these things. As we contemplate Him in this way, we are changed by the renewing of our minds (Roms 12v2), and this is a key ingredient to the fruitful resting that God has in mind for His people.
In light of the above, we come to understand that both obedience and a beholding of Christ are inseparable ingredients in a true rest of God, and go hand in hand, for like faith and works (or faith and fruit), there cannot be one without the other, for one springs from, complements, completes and perfects the other. If we only have obedience, we may be no better than the Pharisees who worked but had no real and true love for Christ, and if we only have a beholding of Jesus, we may be no better than demons, who believe but also tremble because while they believe, they do not obey Him. True Holy Spirit breathed obedience will come because of a true love for, and empowerment from Christ, which itself has come from beholding Him, and a real beholding of Jesus will come because we are submitting to, and obeying Him in a right and fruitful way and for the right reasons, being motivated by a love for Him, not just a holy fear.