This verse in Hebrews 4:11 about rest has always intrigued me. “So we must make every effort to enter that place of rest.” We have to make an effort at entering rest? Effort seems the opposite of rest. How does this work?
The previous verses about obedience show the meaning. Obedience and the rest of God are connected. When we work hard at obeying God it produces rest in our spirit, soul, and body! Obedience is the effort we make to enter rest. Rest from not walking with him.
Holy Spirit is never rushed
So why are we? My observation is that Americans are one of the busiest, most scheduled people on earth. It is a badge of honor when someone asks you how you are doing to reply, “I have been busy”. If we are not busy, we often feel shame or made to feel lazy. This is not a Biblical value and is the opposite of rest. I propose we need to stop being busy to the point of exhaustion. I challenge you that if this is your lifestyle, you are not obeying God. You have added too much to your schedule because of wrong expectations from others or yourself.
Could the Biblical answer to ‘how are you’ be, “I am at rest”. Here are some tips to enter his rest.
CHANGE Your PACE, CHANGE Your PERSPECTIVE
SLOW your PACE, FOLLOW the GRACE
Life is often overwhelming. So how do we walk in rest at these times? Here is one tip. Don’t double down and just endure in your efforts, at least not at first. Ask Holy Spirit what you should eliminate instead. He may give you an answer that could make all the difference.
Stop TRYING to be SOMEBODY
We spend a lot of energy, consciously and subconsciously, working for significance and desiring people to notice what we are doing. This is a mindset that robs you of rest. It is easy to say but hard to do, stop. Only care about what Jesus thinks about what you are doing. Ask him daily.
REST in people’s PRESENCE
We allow others to rob us of our rest and peace. Enjoy people, don’t perform. When around others, you don’t have to fix them. You don’t have to solve their problems. You don’t have to be responsible for them. You don’t have to keep the conversation going. You don’t have to minister to them. Just enjoy being there.
You DON’T have to be RIGHT
This is a source of stress, the need to convince others of your opinion. A source of rest is not sharing your opinion. Enjoy listening to others. When you share your opinion, don’t convince. Just share. It is a peaceful, restful place. Eventually, truth wins out.
Get BORED, then DAY DREAM
Are you ever bored? If you are never bored, you are probably over scheduled. Boredom is a sign that you are finally getting some margin in your life. Boredom is where you move from tasks that have to be done to dreaming of the future. It’s time to work at getting bored.
RESIST the NEED to KNOW
Do you have FOMO – fear of missing out? FOMO can rob you of rest. Are you always trying to know, to understand, asking others, etc. because something in you needs to know? It’s a miserable place that steals your rest. Our connected world because of the internet and media reinforces the fear of missing out. Today I challenge you to disconnect. If something really big happens you will find out. Don’t worry. The rest of it just clutters up your thoughts and steals your rest. Use your brain for more productive thoughts.
If STRESSFUL not GOD
Either what you are doing is not God or it is the way you are doing it. As soon as you feel stressed stop. Ask Holy Spirit which it is. SLOW DOWN for DIRECTION. Stay close to your emotions and allow them to point you to Holy Spirit for clarification.
RESPOND don’t REACT
How many times have we lost our rest by reacting to a circumstance or something someone did immediately? We blurted something out or just did something we knew wasn’t the best. REST is learning to NOT REACT. REST is learning to RESPOND after first praying through and thinking about it. The key is to quickly check with Holy Spirit how you should respond. When you do this, you are controlling the circumstances and not the other way around.
Prayer Guide: Holy Spirit, I give you permission to show me every place in my mind, emotions, memories, and body where I am not at rest. Let me become as restful and purposeful as you are. Let me be sensitive to your leading to know how to make rest a LIFESTYLE not an EVENT. Amen.
“So we must make every effort to enter that place of rest.” Hebrews 4:11