Hebrews 4:8-11. 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.
Who doesn’t need a little more rest? Ask almost anyone how they’re doing on any given day and they’ll tell you how busy they are, or how tired, and how much they need a break. It seems that in any moment if we’re not physically exhausted we’re emotionally exhausted. Or spiritually. Why? Because we’re so busy. And as much as we might lament our busyness in front of others, the truth is we wear busyness as a badge of honor. If you’re not busy then what are you doing with your life? What value are you bringing to the universe? To be busy is to be accomplished. Productive. Important. Busyness justifies our existence. Not rest. So even though we all say we need a rest, the truth is that most of us are very uncomfortable with resting.
Hebrews 4 is all about rest. In verses 8-11 we are given something that every one of us needs – a theology of rest. To guide us into this theology of rest the author of Hebrews will remind us of three truths:
- for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his – God created everything in six days and then rested on the seventh day. All of human history, all of God’s redemptive plan, flows from rest.
- For if Joshua had given them rest – Joshua led the Israelites into the land of promised rest. A promise of no more wandering. No more insecurity. No more instability. No more hostility. But this promise was never fully realized by the first Joshua.
- there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God – A future day of glorious rest awaits the people of God. Rest is the goal of all history. Still waters and green pastures are our destination. All things will end in an eternal sabbath.
But how do we get there? How do we find true rest? Lasting peace? The end of all insecurity, instability, and hostility? How do we receive what the first Joshua could not deliver? We will need a better Joshua. And we will need a finished work.
Matthew 11:29-30. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
This is the only place in all the Bible where Jesus describes his own heart. Jesus defines himself as rest for our weary souls. He self-identifies as gentle and lowly. Tender and kind. His arms are always open. He is always there for us. Always accessible. No strings attached. No hoops to jump through. No ladders to climb. We don’t even have to let go of our burden first. The rest comes when we come to him and exchange our yoke for his easy one, not before. The fact that you have a burden on your back is exactly what qualifies you for his rest.
In another place Jesus will say this:
Matthew 16:24-25. 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
So how do we strive to enter Christ’s rest?
More prayers? More meditating? More mantras? More consecration? More dedication? More me time? More sermons? More podcasts? More CCM? More Bible study? More serving? More naps? More yoga? More adult coloring books (are those still a thing?)?
There’s only one way to enter into the rest of Christ – death. Take up your cross. Lose your life.
Here’s the great paradox of our union with Christ – we strive to enter rest. We work at not working. We master not being the master. We practice the self-control of not having to be in control. We live by dying. Dying to all the plans, and goals, and busyness, and performance reviews, and ladder climbing, and life hacks, and “getting better,” and doing more, and getting more, and being more.
This rest for our souls is only possible in Christ. Only when he is enough. Only when he has finished the work. Only when his heart of gentleness and compassion satisfy your deepest longings. Only when his accomplishments are enough for you. Only when his record is all you are relying upon. Only when “to live is Christ.”
For whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Will you enter his rest today?
Have you been striving to rest in Christ? Or just striving?
You in Christ
How does being in Christ bring us to a place of spiritual rest?
Christ is you
What part of your life is preventing rest today? How can you turn it over to Jesus?
Playlist: Rest in Christ