Hebrews 4:9-10 KJVS
9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
- “How far are we willing to let God lead us without showing us the outcome before we stop trusting Him?”
- This test is one of the best ways to measure our spiritual maturity, the depth of our relationship with Christ, and our love for Christ.
- The better we know God and the greater our faith in Him, the more we will trust Him, and the more we will be able to enter into that place of rest He has prepared for us.
- It is wrong and a sin to be anxious, worried, or fearful.
- I have a choice. I can continue to live in fear, worry, and anxiety, or I can begin to learn to truly trust God.
- Through my relationship with Christ, God has given me the grace to be free from all worry and fear if I choose to let Him free me.
- I realized that fear and worry were not only sinful, but destructive to my life.
- The difference between concern and worry is that worry causes us to focus on the problems and circumstances, while concern acknowledges them but our focus is on God’s faithfulness and sovereignty.
- I realized that we can even pray with worry. That is when we pray and our focus is on the problem instead of on God and His faithfulness. This is really like complaining in a religious mode. When we are praying with worry we feel heavy and burdened down, but when we pray with faith we feel strengthened and the burden is lightened. Our confidence grows when we lift our problems to the Lord and rest in Him.
- I need to learn to trust God with my whole heart.
- “When we work in self-effort and worry God rests, but when we rest from worry, anxiety and frustration, God works—trusting instead of trying.”
- Or simply put: When we work God rests, and when we rest God works.
Hebrews 4:11 ESV
11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
- When the Bible commands believers to enter into God’s rest it is not speaking about inactivity or carelessness. It is a place where by faith we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to enter into His works because we have ceased from our own works and are no longer burdened or vexed by worry, anxiety, or fear.
- When the Scriptures say we must “strive to enter that rest” some may interpret this as an oxymoron or a contradiction. In reality, it perfectly describes the process by which a believer will be able to enter into that place of rest.
- We enter into God’s rest by striving or exerting ourselves through prayer, studying, meditating on God’s Word, and through Christian fellowship until we come to a place in God where our faith and confidence in Christ is unshakable.
- “so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” — The Greek word translated in the ESV as “disobedience” is translated as “unbelief” in the King James Version and Young’s Literal Translation. It means “refusal to believe; obstinance, rebellion” and so some translate it as “disobedience.”
- Unbelief stops us from entering that place of rest where we are free from fear, anxiety, and worry. Unbelief is a refusal to believe, a resistance to be persuaded to trust God, or an unwillingness to labour or exert ourselves to find that place of rest in Christ.
- “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest” — Let us strive or exert ourselves and be willing to learn to trust God so we will be able to enter into that place of rest, free from fear, anxiety and worry, so we can cease from our own works and enter into God’s works.
- What a wonderful place to live! A place free from worry, anxiety, and fear. A place where we are fully confident in God’s faithfulness and love. A place where we bathe in God’s perfect peace and joy independent of the circumstances we face.
- Worry, anxiety, and fear produce only torment and turmoil. No one would ever say that they enjoy having anxious or fearful thoughts. However, many Christians are not willing to pay the price required for the Holy Spirit to lead them to that place of rest or they do not truly believe that such a place even exists.
- When we cease from our own works and enter into the place of rest so we can enter into God’s works, not only will we find ourselves free from worry, anxiety, and fear, but we will also be freed from frustration, disappointment, and discouragement.
- One of the ways we can discern if we have rested from our own works and have entered into God’s works is if we are free from frustration, disappointment, and discouragement.
- When one is engaged in doing their own works, then discouragement and disappointment can easily set in when things fail to work out or come together as we would have hoped or expected.
Isaiah 42:1-4 NKJV
1 “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
2 He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth.
4 He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”
- These verses in Isaiah, Chapter 42, are clearly a prophecy about Jesus Christ and His earthly ministry.
- There are a number of things that are noteworthy about Jesus’ ministry.
- “He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.” — Jesus’ ministry would result in justice and salvation, not only for Israel, but salvation would be extended to all nations.
- “He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”
- No matter how great the sin is or how much people and the devil would try to oppose Him, Jesus would not fail nor be discouraged until He completed His ministry to “establish justice in the earth.”
- Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would not fail in His ministry to bring justice to all mankind. Jesus began to bring justice to mankind through His sacrificial death at Calvary and He will complete it at His glorious return.
- Jesus brings justice to those who put their faith in Him through justification. However, for those who oppose and reject Him He will bring justice to the earth by judging all evil doers and ending all rebellion.
- “He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.”
- This verse does not mean that Jesus only whispered when He spoke, because He often preached to multitudes and He had to raise His voice to be heard.
- However, it does mean that when He spoke, it was never out of frustration or discouragement. Jesus always conveyed a message that would point the people to the Father and the way of salvation.
- An example of Jesus raising His voice with a message of hope, inviting those who were thirsting after God, is found in John 7:37: “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.””
- If anyone is thirsty for salvation, for God, and true and eternal purpose, just come to Jesus. He is there to satisfy the deepest longings of your heart.
“A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth.”
- Jesus is patient and merciful and in His tenderness never gives up on us even in our times of brokenness and deepest struggles. He tenderly works with us until He brings forth justice for truth, so we can be healed and walk in freedom from all the lies and wounds that have imprisoned us.
Isaiah 53:2-3 NKJV
2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
- “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground.” — Jesus was born into a world that was like “dry ground” where nothing good grew and the hearts of people had grown hard and callous because of the oppression and torment of sin.
- “He is despised and rejected by men.” — Jesus was surrounded by people who opposed God and hated Him.
- “A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief “ — Jesus was filled with sorrow and grief as He witnessed how sin had hardened hearts and destroyed people’s lives.
- Not even Jesus’ own family and disciples understood Him or the work the Father had given Him to do.
- Why did Jesus never grow discouraged or fail although He came to a world filled with death, given over to sin, and openly hostile to God?
Luke 2:49 NKJV
49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
- The reason Jesus never grew frustrated or discouraged was because He was not engaged in His own works. He had entered into His Father’s works. Even as a twelve-year-old boy, Jesus already fully understood that He was called to be about His Father’s business.
John 9:4 NKJV
4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.
- Jesus understood that He was sent to do the Father’s works and not His own works.
John 5:19 NKJV
19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
- Jesus never grew frustrated because He knew on His own He could do nothing. Jesus was always attentive to what the Father was showing Him, because Jesus only did the works of His Father.
John 4:34 NKJV
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
- To Jesus, the most important thing for Him to do was His Father’s will. His Father’s will was like food that sustained Him and gave Him purpose to fulfill the ultimate goal for His life—“to finish His work.”
- Jesus’ ministry was birthed out of His relationship with His Father.
- Many times Christians become burned out in ministry because they are doing their own works instead of the Father’s works and they end up exhausted and frustrated.
- They are striving to be “successful” in their ministry, but the Spirit is actually calling them to simply be faithful in the work that the Father has given them to do and leave the results up to God.
- The natural tendency for people, especially in the West, is to strive to be successful. Their metric is not faithfulness but success.
- This can leave Christians feeling discouraged and frustrated when they don’t measure up to their own expectations or the expectations of others. However, when we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ the words that we will wish to hear are, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” (Matthew 25:21b).
Isaiah 40:28 NKJV
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
- Since God never grows weary, frustrated, or discouraged, neither will we when we cease from our own works and enter into the rest He has provided so we can begin to do His works.
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2).
- Preach the word in season and out of season—when men’s hearts are open and soft and when men’s hearts are closed and calloused. When we realize this is God’s work and not ours, then we will not grow discouraged or frustrated when some fail to respond. Our responsibility is just to sow the seed and water the ground. It is the Holy Spirit who brings the increase—it is God’s work. (1 Corinthians 3:7).
Isaiah 30:15 NKJV
15 For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not,
- God called Israel to cease from her own works and to enter into His rest. God is also calling each believer to enter into the place of rest where we can learn this wonderful truth: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
Proverbs 3:5-8 NKJV
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
- If we apply these four verses from Proverbs, Chapter 3, to our lives it will usher in a level of peace and joy that will transcend whatever circumstances may confront us.
- These verses challenge us to begin a spiritual journey to learn to fully trust God.
- “Trust in the LORD with all your heart” — The Hebrew word translated as “trust” means “to be confident, sure, be bold, secure, to feel safe.”
- “with all your heart” — If we are 90% confident in God, but there is still 10% where we are not fully confident in God’s faithfulness and love, then that 10% will result in worry, fear, frustration, or discouragement when things seem to be going in a wrong direction. The strength of a chain is always measured by its weakest link.
- The following points found in these verses provide a blueprint by which we can grow in our confidence in God
- “And lean not on your own understanding”
- This principle does not mean that we “check our brains at the door.” It means that we do not determine God’s faithfulness by the apparent circumstance we face, but by the truths found in God’s Word
- “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
- When, as believers, we acknowledge that God is involved in every detail of our lives and that He is faithful to direct us in every decision we make and every step we take, a new level of confidence will fill our hearts as we face the future.
- As we acknowledge His faithfulness in our lives and look to Him for guidance He is faithful to lead and guide us. He will open doors that need to be opened and He will close the doors that need to be closed.
- “Do not be wise in your own eyes”
- To find that place of rest God has for us and enter into His works we must have a humble heart and grasp that God knows better than we do.
- We may not always know what is best for us but God does. Because of that we can pray the greatest prayer of surrender that will bring a deep and abiding rest to our souls, “nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42b).
- Don’t fear God’s will—it is always perfect.
- We can let God lead us on the path that He knows is best for our lives.
- “Fear the LORD and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:7).
- To enter into the rest God has for us it is essential that we have the fear of the Lord. We must not make any provision for the flesh but flee from evil.
- When we have the fear of the Lord a wonderful delight of the reality of His presence will be with us.
- When we begin to dabble in anything that is ungodly or unclean, no matter how small, the flesh will rise up and that place of rest in Christ will immediately evaporate
- When we are in the Spirit we are in that place of rest but when we are in the flesh the enemy robs us of peace and joy because “to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6).
- “It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:8).
- The result of following this pattern in Proverbs, Chapter 3, is that we will enter into that place of rest where we will be invigorated — “It will be health to your flesh” We will be able to stand strong against the pressures of life — “And strength to your bones.”
Acts 20:22-24 NKJV
22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there,
23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.
24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
- In Acts, Chapter 20, Apostle Paul provides a wonderful example of how through rest he was able to boldly face persecution — “chains and tribulations await me” and an unknown future — “not knowing the things that will happen to me there.”
- Paul knew hardships awaited him because the Holy Spirit repeatedly told him — “chains and tribulations await me.”
- This is not a prophecy that many would want to receive but Paul embraced it with joy. He saw it as an opportunity to spread the gospel and fulfill the ministry God had given him. — “so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
- Paul’s response to the tribulation and hardship that awaited him is both breathtaking and inspiring — “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself.”
- Paul was immovable because he had entered that place of rest through his total confidence in the goodness and faithfulness of Christ.
- Jesus had given His life for Paul and now Paul was ready to give his life for Jesus!
Acts 16:22-26 NKJV
22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.
23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.
24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.
- This story in Acts, Chapter 16, is a wonderful example of Paul and Silas being in a place of rest while experiencing severe hardship.
- They were maligned, beaten severely, and thrown in prison, simply for sharing the love of Christ and preaching the Gospel.
- Many people would be fearful and anxious, poisoning each day worrying about what tomorrow might bring, or angry and indignant about their unjust treatment.
- Paul and Silas responded as if they had just attended the most marvelous and delightful banquet.
- With their bodies bruised and bleeding, sitting on a cold dungeon floor, they began praying and singing hymns of adoration to God as if they didn’t have a care in the world. In fact, they didn’t because they had learned how to rest in Christ.
- Paul and Silas’ response was so astonishing that their fellow prisoners attentively listened as they prayed and sang to God — “and the prisoners were listening to them.”
- Instead of Paul and Silas shaking with fear or anger because of their circumstances, the prison shook and their chains fell off. — “Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.”
- When we enter that place of rest we will also be able to sing praises to the Lord even during very difficult or painful times. Instead of being imprisoned by our circumstances we will find our chains removed and the doors open.
Psalm 119:23-24 NKJV
23 Princes also sit and speak against me, But Your servant meditates on Your statutes.
24 Your testimonies also are my delight And my counselors.
- The psalmist was confronted by important people and princes, who slandered and spoke evil against him.
- Instead of allowing their words to bring turmoil, fear or anger, he began to meditate on the Word of God.
- The psalmist’s heart was quieted and his heart was filled with delight as he allowed God’s Word to instruct him.
- He had found that place of rest in God.
Jeremiah 50:6 NKJV
6 “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray; They have turned them away on the mountains. They have gone from mountain to hill; They have forgotten their resting place.”
- God was speaking to Israel, but He could be speaking to Christians when we find ourselves struggling with fear, anxiety, frustration or discouragement. We have forgotten our resting place which is in Christ.
- The Hebrew word translated as “resting place” means “a place to rest or dwell, a place where one can lay down and stretch out.” A resting place is a place of repose, relaxation, and refreshment where one can feel secure.
- However, when we are not in that resting place we will find ourselves struggling with anxiety or frustration. Jeremiah says that we are like lost sheep wandering aimlessly on the rugged, harsh and rocky mountains of life. If those who are to shepherd us are not pointing us to Christ to find rest and security then they are leading us astray.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
- Jesus wants to teach us to live a life free from the worries, fears, and crushing burdens of life. However, He doesn’t do that by insulating us from every unpleasant event, but by calling us to Himself so we can learn from Him and enter that place of rest.
- The first step to learn how to enter into the rest Jesus promises is to hear Him calling. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We will hear His voice calling us as we meditate on His Word and as we wait on Him in prayer.
- As we spend time in prayer, God can teach us many things. Without a developed prayer life we will be unable to learn many things Jesus wants to teach us.
- The second step is to recognize when we are carrying heavy burdens. We can become so used to being weighed down with anxiety, worries, fears, and frustration that we fail to recognize this is neither normal nor God’s will for our lives.
- “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7).
- The third step is to learn to give our heavy burdens to Jesus. For some reason Christians sometimes struggle with giving over their burdens to Jesus. They seem to want to hold onto them even though doing so is both painful and exhausting.
- It is a learning process to give our burdens over to Jesus and not to take them back again. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.”
- To give our burdens over to Christ does not mean we have no further responsibilities or requirements. What He is asking us to do will not destroy or crush us “for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
- When we give our burdens over to Jesus we are to take His yoke upon ourselves. If we fail to take Jesus’ yoke when we give Him our burdens, we will either become irresponsible or take back our burdens.
- A yoke is a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the neck of two animals and attached to a plow or cart that they are to pull. When we take Jesus’ yoke upon ourselves it means we are joining ourselves to Jesus so that we co-labour with Him.
- When we give Jesus our burdens, we need to take His yoke upon ourselves, so those things that are important to Jesus are important to us.
- We give Jesus our burdens and rest from our own works. Then we take His yoke so that we can enter into God’s works.
- Another meaning for the word yoke is “a balance or pair of scales.” When we take Jesus’ yoke it brings balance to our lives. When we are carrying our burdens then our lives are out of balance. Jesus will bring balance to our lives so we don’t neglect those things we need to do and we will not be overly preoccupied with other things.
- Balance is another aspect of entering into God’s rest. Balance will bring our lives into proper order and harmony will settle into our hearts and lives.
- How do we know when we have taken His yoke or when we are still carrying our burdens? Simply by asking, “Are we burdened down with the problems and worries of this life or do we have a deep inner joy and peace independent of the circumstances we face?” Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
- What does the light yoke that Christ wants us to carry look like?
- It looks like thanksgiving. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
- It looks like joyful obedience. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3).
- It looks like believing in God. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1).
- It looks like trusting in God’s faithfulness. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13).
- It looks like living a life fully surrendered to God’s purposes. “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10).
Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
31But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
- “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;” One reason Christians struggle and are spiritually weak is because they fail to develop and practice the discipline of waiting and entering into God’s rest.
- It is interesting the order given: flying, running, and walking.
- One may think it should be walking, running, and flying, but that would be the order of the natural mind.
- What takes the greatest level of spiritual maturity: flying, running, or walking?
- When an eagle soars far above the earth it requires little effort. It rests, allowing the winds to carry it forward.
- Although running expends much energy, it is usually for a short period of time and gets you to your destination quickly.
- Walking is a much slower paced activity and may require many days to get to the final destination.
- It is interesting to note in Isaiah 40:31 that running may cause a person to grow weary, but walking may cause a person to faint and drop from exhaustion.
- God trains us in waiting, starting from the experience of flying like an eagle and then running, but the greatest level of strength, endurance, and maturity is seen in those who have learned to walk with the Lord.
- Even an immature believer who has a supernatural encounter with God can wait upon the Lord in prayer during those experiences.
- It’s wonderful when God visits us in extraordinary and supernatural ways, but they don’t reflect day-to-day living.
- However, through supernatural encounters, God is wooing us into a deeper relationship with Him—it is not the place we can live, but is a glimpse of where we will one day live.
- While flying represents being caught up in supernatural experiences with the Holy Spirit where we are not at all in contact with the earth, running represents perseverance in ministry.
- When a person runs they are not fully in contact with the earth, but they leap from foot to foot as they fly through the air.
- When a person is ministering and the Holy Spirit is anointing them with the gifts of the Holy Spirit as they preach, teach, or pray for people, they are energized by the Holy Spirit and minister with such conviction and faith that it appears they have unstoppable faith.
- When a person is ministering, the full weight and pressure of life is lifted as the Holy Spirit empowers the person to speak words of life and faith.
- However, our lives do not consist of always preaching or ministering, but just living.
- While flying represents being caught up in supernatural experiences, and running represents ministering under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, walking represents living moment by moment, day by day, in the reality of the struggles, sorrows, and joys of this life.
- When a person flies, his feet never touch the earth, when a person runs his feet are only sometimes in contact with the earth, but when someone walks their feet are firmly in contact with the earth.
- While some have experienced God in supernatural ways, when those experiences don’t reoccur they quickly fall back into their selfish pattern of complaining unless they understand their relationship with God is the ultimate goal.
- Supernatural experiences with the Holy Spirit are meant to help us learn to enter into the place of rest, so we are able to walk daily with God with joy and peace in our hearts independent of our circumstances.
- Others seem to do well when they are engaged in ministry, but their private lives and their thought life sadly lacks the discipline of enjoying God’s presence when they are not in the limelight.
- However, those who have learned to walk daily with the Lord enjoy His presence, and have developed the discipline of waiting on Him daily, they are the ones who will be able to weather the storms of life and shall renew their strength and not grow weary and faint.
- They have learned to enter into that place of rest where they have ceased from their own works so that they can enter into God’s works.
1 John 2:6 (NKJV)
6He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
- If we are abiding in Him and are learning to wait upon the Lord then just as He walked we are to walk. In other words, we are to live the way Jesus lived out His life, day by day and moment by moment. Remember, Jesus’ spent most of his life on this earth working as a carpenter.
- Jesus was always in that place of rest where He only did what He saw His Father do.
- In the coming weeks we are going to go through the seven rest principles so we can identify which ones we are struggling with and learn how to apply the remedy for each one to our lives so we can enter into the rest that God has prepared for His people.
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