That seems like a strange question to ask the first week of January, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t I focus on measurable goals and making something of 2016 instead?
Or does the quality of rest in our lives greatly affect the quality of our days?
Jesus desires to give each of us His rest, and in the gospels, He tells us how to enter into it. “Come to me,” He said, because He is the way. The transaction looks like this: When we come to Him, He gives us rest. Or we don’t come to Him, and then we miss out.
Make note of that–It’s possible for us to miss the rest He offers.
Hebrews 4 warns believers—don’t fall short of God’s rest.
Therefore, 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. Hebrews 4:1
So then, what is the rest God offers us?
In the fullest sense, God’s rest is a future promise–a heavenly resting place. We cannot enter into it by proving ourselves enough, or by hoping in our own skills and gifts and actions. It’s impossible. We are not that kind of righteous.
We only enter God’s rest through faith in the finished work of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
As we turn all the details of our lives over to Him, letting Jesus rule as our Lord, we enter His rest like never before.
But there’s more. While on earth, God’s offer of rest also involves a deep, settled peace that fills our hearts and minds, no matter what happens within our days.
How, then, do we be sure to enter His rest? Again, only by faith.
In the wilderness, the wandering Israelites lacked faith in God and His word. They doubted God’s plans and promises. They wanted to go back to what they knew, which was slavery. They didn’t trust God, so instead they lived in restless unbelief.
It doesn’t have to be like that for us!
Don’t fall short of God’s rest by failing to persevere in your faith.
Don’t become complacent with unbelief.
Don’t allow a sinful, unbelieving heart to move you away from God.
Instead, “Let us make every effort to enter that rest” (v. 11).
Let us fight unbelief with regular cleansing by the Word.
Let us strive diligently, to work out our faith, but never to hope in our works.
Do you struggle to trust everything in your life to Jesus? Do you have a hard time letting go of outcomes and relying on Him rather than on yourself?
Sometimes I do. But as I continue to work out my faith in God, I certainly find deeper rest.
Is your heart at rest in Jesus, friend?
It’s never too late to start there, whether 5 days into the new year or 50. Look to Him. Ask Him to help your unbelief. Be diligent to trust in and rely on Him. Enter His rest.