Rest is an important part of a human being’s journey of life. Ordinarily, a time of rest enables one to rejuvenate, to refresh and to plan and organize for the next activity, the next undertaking – the next thing.
For one to take rest, it means that they have been involved in something intensive, tiring – something that leaves one exhausted; sometimes strenuous, something that required a lot of attention, detail, energy – could be emotional, mental, physical, even spiritual.
And for the believer who hears this voice, hearkens to it and believes, the Bible further says, “For we who have believed do enter that rest….” Hebrews 4:3a.
What is rest? Simply put, to rest is to relax. We can look at rest from different angles; for example, from the physical perspective, when one rests, it means they cease doing what they were focusing on and take a break. On the other hand, spiritually, to rest is to find peace and calmness in a situation and in life generally. It also means to be of a sound and an undisturbed mind. To rest in the Lord, in many occasions means to find ultimate place of no sin, to get to eternal life after the end of life here on earth.
This article will focus on spiritual rest.
As noted earlier, just as in physical tiredness, believers can sometimes get spiritually exhausted, tired and almost lack spiritual power to move forward to the next level. Different life circumstances such as sickness, loss of loved ones, lack, broken relationships, loss of business or a job, or any other unfortunate situation could lead to spiritual exhaustion. A lack of a deliberate move to feed on God’s word and lean on him fully, could also lead to extreme exhaustion and to a larger extent, a turning back to the world.
The Bible in Hebrews 4:2 notes that:
“…but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not MIXED WITH FAITH (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), by those who heard it.”
Whereas the scripture above was referring to the Israelites, it also carries a lot of meaning and impact for today’s believers. Many are the people who on a regular basis, particularly on Sundays, get to hear the word of God. In deed they fill churches, not only within our Kenyan borders, but worldwide. They hear the word preached and as a result, many have a great deal of the knowledge it presents. But unfortunately, they have not mixed this knowledge with faith – they have not personally relied, trusted and leaned on God’s power and wisdom to guide them in their daily lives. And as such, it has very little, or no impact at all in their lives. They live lives comparable to those who have no time for God, no place for God in their lives.
“As for those who didn’t believe, God said, ‘in my anger I made a vow; “They will never enter my place of REST.’”” This was God’s response to the Israelites who did not believe and for sure, did not enter the Promised Land.
Thankfully for us today, the door to spiritual rest – to spiritual freedom, to a life informed by and founded in the word of God – is still wide open. And not only is the door open, but a voice continually calls, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:7b). And for the believer who hears this voice, hearkens to it and believes, the Bible further says, “For we who have believed do enter that rest….” Hebrews 4:3a.
It is not uncommon for a believer to find themselves engulfed in seemingly endless situations that present themselves as helpless and permanent, with one objective – blinding from the spiritual truth and ultimately causing spiritual blurredness.
I have personally, on several occasions in my spiritual walk, experienced situations which, when I looked around, did a 360 degree overview of how to maneuver them, I felt helpless, distraught and to say the least, bound in that particular situation. Looking at my abilities, capabilities, and generally my natural resources, it felt like I would never be able to pull through. But, on the other hand, the good news is that, the minute, I turned to God and realized that He is my helper, my all in all, and as such fully trusted in him, I, without a doubt, and in the shortest time possible, found rest from the exhaustion, the weariness and the distraught that had been caused by the seemingly, helpless situation.
The word of God is “alive and full of power (making it active, operative, energizing, and effective); it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and (the immortal) spirit, and of joints and marrow (of the deepest parts of our nature), exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) – (AMP)
Looking closely at the above verse, we see the following:
- The word of God is ALIVE and full of POWER. This simply means that it is living – it is not dead. The bible in this amplified version explains this word further – it is full of power, therefore making the word active, making it operative, energizing and effective.
- The Word of God is SHARPER THAN ANY TWO-EDGED SWORD … Some time ago as I was reading this very verse, I saw the word of God as the doctor that operates on a patient in a hospital theatre. For such a doctor His aim is to restore life, and energize it. He has to be one that abides by every detail so as to be effective at the end of the day. The word of God is more thorough – it is way beyond what doctors can achieve. Indeed, while our doctors do a thorough job at their operating tables, the word speaks of itself further and says, “it is sharper than any two-edged sword”. Again I imagine of the operation tools used by doctors – and without a doubt they are good, precise and up to the task, but not beyond what the word of God does – it penetrates to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and (the immortal) spirit, and of joints and marrow (of the deepest parts of our nature)! My Oh My! I am awed! I am bare before the Word – my spirit, my soul and my body (the joints, the marrow), and literally the deepest parts of me – are known by the Word. From this verse, I see the ease in which the Word does his work of separation!
- God’s Word does the impossible – exposes and sifts and analyzes and judges the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. Yes, this is the word, and just in case you have any doubts, I would like to remind you that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. (John 1:1). Nothing is impossible with God. Yes! God’s word is God Himself – no wonder he can expose and sift and analyse and judge our very thoughts and purposes. How vulnerable are you to God? Have you given him authority over your mind; and your purposes? Can he alter your plans? Can you bend your will in order to take his?
So How Do We Enter Our Spiritual Rest?
In addition to the voice calling and asking God’s people not to harden their hearts when they hear the call, God through His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, further calls us saying,
“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. (I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls).” Mathew 11:28 (AMP)
If you are like me, your spirit must be racing in joy and excitement just by the reading of the above verse – and I just like the way the amplified version brings it out. I just want to enjoy the ease, the relieving and the refreshing of God in my soul!!!
As we introduced the topic of rest at the beginning of this article, we noted that for one to need rest, they must have been tired or have experienced some kind of exhaustion. The Bible here tells us – come to me (to the Lord God)! The call here is specifically for those who are in labour (toil, hard work, challenges, difficulties, unbelieve) – they are burdened by the struggles of this world – rebellion, drugs, adultery and fornication, broken relationships, lack of trust, sickness, and all manner of things that cause tiredness and a blurring that keeps one away from God, away from believing and trusting in God thus causing a spiritual separation from Him. God extends his love and calls to all – including those who have given their lives to him, but they are burdened by worldly pleasures or other forms of challenges. Some have prayed and asked God to intervene in their situations and this seems to be taking long. Whatever the labour, whatever the burden is, God calls and says, “I WILL GIVE YOU REST. I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.
God’s intention of giving Christ is to rescue us from the destructiveness of the devil, thus easing, relieving and refreshing our lives. He wants everyone to be eased, to be relaxed, to be refreshed so as to be able to believe in him and have a personal relationship with him – Thank God He is not calling and directing us to a third party! He is calling us to HIM! “Come to Me”, He says. He wants everyone to have a personal relationship with Him. Will you draw near to him today? Will you lean on him? Will you confidently trust him and surrender your life to Him? Will you allow him to operate on you; to expose and sift and analyze and judge your very thoughts and purposes so that you can walk in freedom and clarity in your life?
It doesn’t matter what kind of labours you might be in right now, what kind of burdens you are experiencing, God is calling with an aim to ease you from these labours and burdens – Will you yield to the call today, NOW and enter God’s rest?
YOUR FAITH IN HIM WILL OPEN A DOOR TO YOUR REST.