Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
What a peculiar thought- “let us strive to enter that rest!” How do we strive to rest? Isn’t rest the opposite of striving, of working hard? Here we encounter the tension that exists throughout the Christian life, the tension between what God has given us and what we have yet to receive, between what God has already done and what He has yet to do.
In the Christian life, resting is hard work. Because of the indwelling sin still remaining in us, to rest secure and blessed and joyful in the presence of God is a constant fight. Our sin nature is not passive towards God, but is actively working against the Holy Spirit inside us. To rest in God is an uphill race this entire life.
But there is another dimension of this command. We should daily strive to enter God’s rest– this should be the focus of our quiet time every day– but we also must recognize that there is a greater, better, more perfect rest still coming. The burden of the Christian life in this world is to not be lured in by the empty promises of any other earthly rest, whether sleep or weekends or vacations or retirement. Instead of striving toward these illusions of rest, instead of working for the weekend, instead of building your career towards retirement, strive to enter the better rest that God provides. These illusions of rest easily trip us up, causing us to fall into disobedience by neglecting the eternal and important for the sake of the temporary and insignficant. Don’t get caught up in this world’s rest, but instead use all of those things as stepping stones to help you strive towards the real rest. Heaven awaits, and will make every weekend and vacation and retirement and every other form of earthly rest seem as nothing by comparison. Strive, therefore, to enter that rest.
Lord, Help me to keep my eyes on the prize, to press forward and run with perseverance the race marked out for me. Help me to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, who endured the cross and looked beyond it to the joy set before Him. In the same way, help me to despise this world’s imitation of rest and instead press on toward the prize, looking to the joy of perfect rest that is set before me.
“God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.” ~Max Lucado
This post is written by Brendan Beale, author of Cross Connections