For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. – Hebrews 4:10
Imagine it is Sunday. Is your mind racing? How long does it take for you to come to a place of rest?
My son is currently working through these Insanity workouts. It takes him 2 hours to cool down after a strenuous workout – it takes that long for his body to stop sweating. Similarly we go into Sunday after such a strenuous workout week but expect that we can just ‘stop’ and ‘focus’ without our mind racing – I wonder if that is why we take a full day? Because God knows our body and how long it takes to cool down after the pace we drive at all week….
Entering His Rest
Have we even entered His rest? How would we know? Do we believe in our hearts as well as confess with our lips that Jesus truly is Lord? Have we taken his yolk upon us – that yolk that is light and easy because He is gentle and humble in heart and in that we find rest for our souls! (Matthew 11:29)
In being yolked with Christ we cease from our own works. This is our inheritance in Christ. It is where we make every effort to enter that rest by choosing to depend on God, yielding to Him through storm and thicket, through unknown terror and enemy encounters. We enter His rest by faith. That means when I am in rest, I am boasting of His gift to me rather than my own strength to make it happen. I actually am bringing glory to my Father by saying ‘I desist from my own effort to save me.’
Remaining in and Enjoying His Rest
This rest is for us now. Charles Spurgeon describes it as ‘a matter of present enjoyment.’ But how?
1. We remain first by remembering the pattern the Lord gave us for this rest is the Sabbath. Just like the communion is a continue memorial reminder of the sacrifice Christ made for us, the Sabbath, is a continual memorial reminder of our rest we have in Christ. The Sabbath can anchor us in that rest. The Sabbath can remind us that Christ sat down, He is seated in the heavenlies, and now lives to intercede for His church. His work on the cross finished. Now He pleads the cause of the saints and the saints to come wooing us by His love, calling us to draw near to Him, to put on His yolk for He is humble in heart.
Even as we explore the Sabbath, we need to understand that this Sabbath is not a requirement of our faith. “In the New Testament epistles there are only 2 references to the Sabbath (Col.2:16; Heb.4:4), both these passages the apostle Paul clearly explains that this day is not a required day to be observed by Christians. To the Hebrews in the Old Covenant they were under obligation. In the New Covenant neither Jews nor Gentiles are. There is no command after the death and resurrection for the Church to keep the Sabbath as an obligation to Christ.”
But there is a command to rest in the finished work of Jesus. So what happens? We throw off the yolk of bondservant and temporarily enter the life of slavery again. Our soul loses its rest. It becomes weary and then it starts to wander or visa versa. The Sabbath is there, standing guard every 7th day to remind, be careful, lest the deceitfulness of sin, the pride of life or the lusts of the flesh begin to lure you away. And then you forget that your Savior has washed you clean through and through. Be careful lest you begin to think you must have this all accomplished on your merit! Watch less you, who are but dust, begin to think you are super-man or super-mom! Come! I beckon you, the Sabbath says, to lay aside your cramped quarters of computer screens, office cubicles, commutes and acknowledge anew who I am and who you are not. The Sabbath anchors our week, anchors our soul in the hope that is Christ Jesus.
2. We make effort to remain in this rest by also acknowledging that rest is good for us to do. Any medicine can be tough to swallow, but if we know it is good for us, are we not more apt to take the pill? The treadmill is running fast, the sweat pours off our brow from the week’s work, our heart races and the adrenaline makes it feel like it’s impossible to stop. Jesus stands by with refreshment and asks us to drink from the living waters and not hew for ourselves broken cisterns. Our Great Physician whispers it is my food and my drink you need right now, come away and rest for awhile. Stop the treadmill, slow the heart, drink from me. And we know in our hearts that this is very good, so we perhaps begrudgingly turn off the machine, grab the towel and allow our body to begin to cool down. Why? Because we know it is very good for us to spend time with our Jesus.
3. We make effort to remain in this rest by also humbling ourselves under and to His holiness. Holy means set apart, sanctified. God set apart this Sabbath to make it holy. A time to turn our eyes away from the profane of the earthly and back to the pure and undefiled of Heaven’s Day. It is a time when we relearn where our righteousness comes from, Who gave it to us, what it means to us and our cleansed anew in body and soul with that which comes from the spirit. The dross is allowed to be skimmed off. The glory of the Lord, as His face shines upon ours, lifts our countenance as we are once again aware of the desire to be holy even as He is holy.
And as I make every effort to remain in this rest of heaven, there are practical things I rest from as well.
The Sabbath Challenge
This is a challenge to assess our Sabbaths and to perhaps recalibrate them more in line with that which we know in His promises, that which we believe in faith. When I do this, I begin to rest from all sorts of earthly ails:
1. I rest from title and importance that keep me too driven
2. I rest from fears and anxiety that keep me from sleep
3. I rest from planning for unknowns that keep me feeling so overly responsible
4. I rest from scheming for I wants that discontent my soul
So let us labor, therefore, to enter that rest. Laboring not to save ourselves, but labor to stop laboring.
- What do your Sabbaths look like? How long does it take you to ‘cool down’ from the busyness of your week?
- What can help you remember the work that Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross for you and for me? What do you need to lay aside during your Sabbath rests, so that you can anchor your soul to Jesus?
- How have you, in the past, stepped off of the treadmill of life?
- What desires are deep within your soul? Could you allow yourself the time to listen to His heart for you so He can work to align your desires with His desires?
What do you think? Which of these Check-in questions hits home for you? Would you be willing to share?
(This information was first shared with the Promised Land Living Alumni during the Module 2 Refresher call. If you would like more information about Promised Land Living and/or the Refresher calls please contact us here.)