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How Can We Receive Rest?

Sabbath…is not about worship. It is about work stoppage. It is about withdrawal from the anxiety system… —Walter Brueggemann

Have you ever heard the saying, “God helps those who help themselves”? There are some who are absolutely convinced this saying is straight from Scripture. It’s not. In fact, what we find in Scripture is exactly the opposite: God offers rest to those who stop their striving.

Hebrews 4:10 says, For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 

Following His work of creation, God entered rest and Scripture implies that He has been resting ever since. This perpetual resting is Sabbath rest. We are invited to experience this rest all the time, in every situation.

But there is a condition. We must believe that Jesus is who He says He is; we must accept His invitation. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Until we come to Jesus, we will not receive our rest.

Why then are anxiety, conflict, and worry still present in the lives of some believers? Not feeling God’s rest doesn’t mean our salvation is at risk. Rather it means that we have an opportunity available to us: We can stop striving and start trusting.

In order to experience God’s Sabbath rest, we must rest from our own work just as God rested from His. Instead of taking things into our own hands, we’ll leave them in His. When we trust Him in this way, we will experience rest.

I know it sounds like passivity, but it’s not. If we were to turn to the end of the Hebrew letter, to 13:20, we’d read, May the God of peace … equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ … 

In other words, to stop our striving is to trust God’s equipping. He is the One who works in us and through us. As we surrender to His indwelling Spirit, we find perfect rest.

Jesus, loosen my grip on circumstances and unknowns. I offer you my focus and accept Your equipping. By depending upon Your Spirit, I will live and love in a way that’s both pleasing to You and restful for me. Such grace! Amen.

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