We need it. We crave it. God created us with this longing. He set the example of rest during that first week of time, at the conclusion of creation. He built it into the law. He promised it again as he walked this earth and called the weary to come to him and find rest. And yet, even while we claim to desire rest, which God freely offers, we paradoxically keep chasing after tangible and intangible rewards and benefits convinced. We somehow fall into the trap of thinking that our own efforts still need to come into play or will provide better rest.
Rest is not necessarily relaxation. I think I often misdefine it in my hastiness. I think of a quiet moment to put my feet up. An empty day on the calendar. A cleared out email inbox. Retirement. Quiet. Lack of responsibility. None of those are true rest. In each of those scenarios, stress can still consume and bondage to this world can still ensnare.
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.Hebrews 3:13 ESV
Sin is a liar. We think it will bring satisfaction, so we chase after it, seeking what only God can provide. It gives some momentary pleasure, success, or solution and the thrill pleases our hedonistic selves. Instead, God offers rest.
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.Hebrews 4:8-11 ESV
I need to trust his promise. I fight, he says to be still. I struggle, he says the battle is his. I try to “do,” and he says to simply be. The Christian life is to be one of rest. The battle won, the price paid, the eternity secure.
We have a great high priest who is an example, our sacrifice, our savior, our mediator, our brother and his work assures our rest. God’s rest does not rise and fall, it is not illusive or artificial, it does not depend on my circumstances. His rest is what I truly need instead of whatever the world pretends to offer.
Dear Shepherd God, thank you for leading me to rest. Thank you for providing all that I need each day and into eternity. Keep opening my eyes to your work in my life and the true security and peace that you ensure. Forgive me for chasing fake or temporary rest instead. Thank you for the example and the faith to trust you more deeply each new day. In Jesus name, amen.