Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you for committing this day to pray for our prodigals and for revival. We greatly appreciate it.
A while ago, I was challenged to read the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 and underline the words rest and light. Read the text with me; I’ve underlined the words for you:
Come to me, all 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 shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
The question was then asked: “Do these words describe your life?” I had to admit that very often the opposite is true. Life is work—difficult and heavy…at times, very heavy! How do we enjoy rest in our souls when life is so full of trials, stress, and heaviness?
The Hebrew writer wanted God’s people to live at rest, and he reminded them and us that it can only happen when our hearts and minds are focused and filled with Christ. In chapter four, he pointed out three great realities that impact our rest in Christ.
First, he wrote that rest can only be enjoyed by those who truly believe the promises of God. After describing Israel’s unbelief and unwillingness to take what God was offering, he admonished, “Let us, therefore, strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience” (Heb 4:11). It may sound strange to say, “Strive to rest,” but don’t be fooled by the language. In the original text, the word “strive” has the idea of giving diligence to, or endeavoring in an earnest, speedy way. Enjoying God’s rest requires intentional, operational faith. It’s not something we slip into; it is appropriated by faith. This is true for any promise He gives us.
Secondly, he states that the believer must allow God’s Word to reach into our inner being so that the power of God can effectively work in us. In verse twelve, he describes God’s Word as a double-edged sword which penetrates deeply. This means that we must do more than just read God’s Word; we must seek to hear God’s voice through His Word and listen to Him speak in a personal way to us. It means we continually ask the Lord what He wants to teach us, what He wants us to learn, and how we need to change. This involves a humble approach to God, and a willing readiness to repent and allow the sword of His Word to cut unnecessary and unwanted things from our lives.
Thirdly, he reveals that there is a sympathetic, ever-present high priest who desires His people to draw close to Himself for comfort and help. These are the exact words, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:14-16).
As we pray today, may we find rest in HIM.
With love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel