Striving to rest

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:11 ESV)

Planning for a vacation is usually fun and exciting, but it does take a lot of effort to get there. For most of us, it doesn’t just involve purchasing tickets, booking hotels, and packing luggage. We also need to responsibly detach ourselves from our work, meaning that we cannot leave any loose ends while we are away. Our bosses and co-workers depend on us to not leave a mess for them to clean up. And so we must continue responding to the crescendo of activities to everyone’s satisfaction and then delegate responsibility so that the work continues while we are away. All that can be exhausting, and I find that it takes me at least a day to finally unplug and get away.

Entering into God’s rest requires that same kind of effort if not more. The rest that he offers is the relief from having to earn our way back to him. He frees us from the chains of sin if we remain in him. If we truly want to enjoy the presence of God and have a restful spirit, then we need to spend time with him. If we can plan a vacation, then we can certainly make our visits with him our highest priority. Every day we have opportunity to cast our cares and concerns into his hands, and then receive advice, love, and comfort from him. By reading or listening to scripture, we discover encouragements and affirmations meant for us; and by his words we are rejuvenated with peace and clarity.

There is a deep connection that we can all experience because God knows how to speak into our hearts. He knows our preferred spiritual language, and uses it to teach and inspire. For me, God connects through books because I love to read, especially the works of Christian authors. For others, he may connect through sermons, prayer, work, nature, or even music. Whatever method he chooses, he will certainly draw you into his Bible so that you gain a better understanding of him and yourself. Jesus’ desire is for you to accept his invitation to rest: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

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