23 Mar Resting Daily in Him
After last week’s warning from Hebrews 3, I clearly identify my natural tendency to harden my heart in virtually every area of my life. In verse 7, we hear that warning again: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.”
Here, the writer of Hebrews mentions rest 14 times, tied in with this warning—apparently, it’s important. So much so that when God created the world, He rested on the seventh day. He never needs to rest, but He modeled it for us because He knows we need it.
In Hebrews for Everyone, NT Wright says, “that the ‘rest’ will always remain God’s gift, not something we can ever construct for ourselves by hard work.” Having just returned from a skiing vacation, this strikes me as the exact opposite of the way many people I know live. Real rest doesn’t factor in, even on vacation. We work hard to attain the luxuries we think we need and deserve. We like to think we have it all under control. We focus our energy on extending and improving our lives. In our consumerist era in which we can always know more, be more, do more, have more, we lose the ability to slow down, unplug, and truly rest. Is it any wonder that our hearts are hardening when life is all about us?
Daylight savings time and the travel accentuate my need for rest this week. I long for it. Somehow vacation never offers the rest that I think it will. I’m thankful for the time off, but it’s never fully satisfying. Reality and responsibility return, ready or not. If I’m trusting God day in and out, not relying on myself to be and do it all, I should be resting daily in who He is and not in what I can or cannot accomplish on my own, on vacation or at home.
“If I’m trusting God day in and out, not relying on myself to be and do it all, I should be resting daily in who He is and not in what I can or cannot accomplish on my own, on vacation or at home.”
As my responsibility extends well beyond my ability, I am overwhelmed by my need for rest. I sense how much of my faith has been in me. While I know that I cannot withstand the weight that only God was meant to carry, sadly, I continue to try. Pride, arrogance, insecurity, and fear all play a role in building this shaky illusion. The writer of Hebrews encourages me to hear His voice and find my rest and hope in Jesus, especially when circumstances and sin make it challenging to do so.
Verses 12 and 13 show us the role that Scripture plays in piercing through our hardened hearts. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”
“His Word exposes me for the fraud that I am as I try to live independent of Him and settle for an earthly version of rest that will never restore my soul.”
We are called to turn to God and His Word repeatedly for truth, direction, and accountability. When we don’t like what we find there, we must press onward in obedience, allowing it to expose us, convict us, and change us. As our community group works through re:generation, a 12-step discipleship group that focuses on finding healing and recovery in Christ from all forms of brokenness, we are trusting God and obeying Him through each challenging step, even when all we want to do is run away and hide. I must have faith to obey and persevere in my commitment to Jesus to receive the peace of Christ today and the ultimate rest in heaven that He promises. God alone knows my motives, desires, and innermost thoughts. His Word exposes me for the fraud that I am as I try to live independent of Him and settle for an earthly version of rest that will never restore my soul.
“Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!” Psalm 95:6-7 Lord, let us heed this call today.
Midway through launching her four teenage/young adult kids into the world, Keri enjoys life with her loving husband, a fun job, and random volunteer roles. She has a weakness for iced mochas and cookie dough, but fortunately likes to exercise too. She’s working on saying yes to more things that matter and no to more things that don’t. Keri attends our Downtown campus.