He Promises, You Can Rest

Rest.  It’s something that some people have no problem with. Then, there’s me.  My brain tends to be super active all the time. I typically have a lot of energy, but then comes a 50,60, 70 hour work week.  My reserves are drained. My emotions are spent. My spirit not particularly charged. All of a sudden sickness hits, and I am forced to stay home from work for three days.   I have never taken three days off from work. I am almost depressed as I am home recovering from sickness, not to mention that I feel really bad. I am just so tired. So tired.  

“You’ve been really busy. You need to rest.”  People at church say this to me when they see me sick. More than one person.  Multiple friends out of the kindness of their heart try to give me a cough drop, and want to pray for me.  I allow them to pray for me. However, I am almost embarrassed that I am coughing so much. I really wish I hadn’t come to church at all because I feel just so exhausted to my core.   No amount of coffee really helps much.

I am forced to slow down my body, go to bed earlier than usual every night for a couple of weeks.  However, slowing down my mind, well that’s another thing all together. My mind keeps circulating through the questions like, “Why am I so sick? Why haven’t I kicked this yet? What is wrong with me?”   The answer is – I am just tired. I’ve been running too hard for weeks without much balance. I kept some commitments that I should have let go. I am just exhausted.

Have you been there?? It’s no wonder that the Apostle Paul talks a lot about rest.   In fact, in Hebrews 4  he talks about the promise of God’s rest.

1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. a 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

“So I declared on oath in my anger,

‘They shall never enter my rest.’?” b

And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” c 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”   Hebrews 4 NIV 

Let’s break down what he is really saying here.  In verse 2 he says that some had the gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them, but the message they heard was of no value to them.  They didn’t put faith in Jesus Christ. However, those who believe in Jesus Christ do “enter that rest”.

Jesus finished the work for us.  When we choose to believe in that finished work, then the spirit of Jesus living on the inside of us equals rest!   Salvation equals rest from trying to earn acceptance from God. We can’t rest and still be striving for God’s love.   We can’t rest and still be trying to do enough good to win God’s approval. If we are, then we truly aren’t enjoying the rest that has already been granted to us through Jesus Christ.  

Paul goes on to talk about how God rested on the seventh day Himself, permanently. 

“And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.”  

Having a day each week to recharge and rest is definitely important, but let’s remember that God is sitting on His throne.  This Scripture says that He has been resting from His work of creating the world, since the second He finished it!!  At least, that’s how I look at it.   He created the world and then His creation missed out on enjoying the Garden and walking and talking with Him like He desired.  They did their own thing.   For hundred of years His creation did this.   So then He says, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”   However, God re-nigged on this oath later on by sending Jesus as the one to finish the work that we should have had to do in order to earn the right to rest.

It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience.  Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.    Hebrews 4:6-10 NIV

God again set a certain day for rest when He sent Jesus to create a new oath of rest for us- TODAY!   Is God saying He wants all of us to stop physically working and sit on our butts all day?!  No. I believe He is saying that every day you can stay in a state of rest in our souls – our mind, our will, and our emotions.   We can rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.  We can rest in the fact that He done it all for us.  We can lay down all worries and cares.

I love what Matthew Henry says in his commentary on Hebrews 4. 

“We, who have believed, do enter into rest, v. 3. We enter into a blessed union with Christ, and into a communion with God through Christ; in this state we actually enjoy many sweet communications of pardon of sin, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace and earnests of glory, resting from the servitude of sin, and reposing ourselves in God till we are prepared to rest with him in heaven.” (Biblehub.com)

So essentially when there is lack of peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, we are not enjoying that rest that should come from our union with Jesus.    Oh, but when we who have received Jesus, make an effort to stay in that state in our souls, it truly delights our Father God.

28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11 NIV

In this last week when a friend asked to pray for me because I was still coughing when we were in a group setting,  I said, “At this point, I’ve had enough people lay hands on me and pray for me. I believe it’s a walk of faith right now in terms of my healing.  I believe there’s spiritual and soulish roots that are contributing to it, that I am getting free from. I’m getting better.” And it’s true.

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.  Hebrews 4 NIV

The Word is dividing those areas in my soul that doesn’t want to rest and wants to strive, fret, and worry about anything and everything.   I’ve been asking the Holy Spirit to reveal any patterns of thinking and lies I’ve been believing about myself and God that have opened the door to these negative emotions and sickness in my body.    I’ve journaled them, I have confessed them, and I have released them to be covered in the blood of Christ Jesus that has paid the price for my peace and joy.

I’ve rested my body, but I’ve entered back into true rest by going into undistracted times with Jesus, the Lover of my Soul.  His Word is restoring my soul into a place of peace and trust about all things in my life. The only “work” is laying down fear, failures, frustration, anxiety, and stress, and giving it to Him.  Hours go by and I realize that I am in a state of bliss with Jesus. That’s right, a state of bliss. Joy and adoration. Peace and stillness.

And my strength is returning.  My physical symptoms are diminishing.  God is faithful.

When I go back to work after vacation, I know that I can continue to stay in this place of rest, even when I am working.  That’s right. It’s true. 

We can stay seated in our souls.

We can stay in constant communion with Jesus.   

He is rest.  

If you are in a state like I’ve been in, my prayer for you is that you heed the voice of Jesus calling you to focus your whole attention on Him.  He alone can restore your soul into a place of rest.