February 24, 2016

Enjoying God's Rest

God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. Hebrews 4:1 (NLT)

Are you experiencing the promise of God’s rest?  What is that rest, and how can we experience it when our lives are so crowded with over-booked schedules, daily demands, and unexpected pressures? The promise of God’s rest in this passage isn’t taking a nap or the “eternal rest” when you die. Jesus explains this rest in a simple invitation in Matthew 11:28-30.

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. 

Jesus says there’s a rest that is received and one that is found. We receive God’s rest when we come to Christ. We experience this rest when we make peace with God through faith in Christ as our Savior from sin. Our soul finds rest in Him! Sins forgiven! No more guilt or shame! The Message paraphrases Christ’s invitation like this: 

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. 

Have you come to Christ to receive that rest in your life?  The writer of Hebrews warned that many have heard the invitation to come, but few responded with faith so they have never experienced that rest. It is the rest of salvation. In Hebrews 3:19, the Bible says, 

So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter His rest. 

To experience this rest, we simply believe and receive what Jesus offers. Then, there is a rest Jesus said we find as we learn from Him in our daily walk with God. This is a rest that many forfeit through ignorance or neglect. Their faith journey feels heavy and burdensome.  If the yoke you are carrying is hard and the burden is heavy, then it didn’t come from Christ.  Somehow, you picked up a yoke He never intended for you to carry.  A common mistake is to begin by faith but live by relying on our own strength.  We experience peace with God when we receive the rest Christ offers freely.  We experience the peace of God as we find that rest that Jesus promises those who learn from Him. The Message paraphrases the last part of Jesus’ invitation like this:

Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

Renew your relationship with Christ today and enjoy the rest God offers.