In my previous message, “Waiting for Him”, I stated that, in this time of lockdown Jesus wants to come to us as Resurrected and Ascended Lord to bring us Rest, Restoration and Revelation.
How do we enter into these three things? Let us look at the first of these, Rest.
Hebrews 4 is all about us entering His rest and we are admonished not to fall short of this (Hebrews 4:1). Entering His rest is synonymous with living in His peace (shalom).
According to Vine’s Concise Dictionary, “The Hebrew word for rest is “nuach” meaning to rest or to be quiet. Sometimes, it is synonymous to “shabat”- sabbath, to cease or to rest. The Greek word for rest is “anapausis” meaning cessation or refreshment. Christ's rest is not a rest from work, but in work, not the rest of activity, but of the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections, of will, heart, imagination, conscience- because each has found in God the ideal sphere of its satisfaction and development.”
Hence, we need to learn how to live in His rest. This is not doing nothing or being passive, but it is having deep spiritual rest (the peace of God) even in busyness.
Three hindrances to rest are:
1. Unbelief (in God & His Word)
“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19.
Unbelief in God’s goodness and promises leads us into anxiety and worries that drain faith and lead us into stress and a restless spirit.
2. Unrighteousness (sin)
“There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.” Isaiah 48:22
Living an unrighteous lifestyle with undealt with sinful thoughts, words and deeds leads to a lack of rest in our spirits.
3. Pride (arrogant & self-centred)
“Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me. Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:1-2
A proud and arrogant heart can never be at rest!
Therefore, we need to still and calm our hearts (Psalm 131:2) by coming to the Lord (Matthew 11:28). But how do we do this? The following 4 R’s are the key to entering His rest, even in our busyness.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! …. and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4,7)
Paul urges his readers to rejoice in the Lord twice (emphasising its importance) in order to enter this rest. Practice living a lifestyle of rejoicing from the moment you get up to the moment you fall asleep. Choose to rejoice in Him in all things and His peace will start to flood your soul.
“The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” Isaiah 32:17
Living a righteous life leads to peace and rest. This is not self-righteousness but the righteousness of Christ He imputes into us by faith through His grace as we repent and claim that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21) through His shed blood! Every day at the Prayer Altar take time to confess your sins and claim his cleansing and righteousness and live in great peace and rest.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Laying all your needs and requests before the Lord and trusting Him to hear and answer you will still your heart and mind and bring you into true rest and peace. As you daily pour out your prayers, petitions and intercessions before the Lord at the Prayer Altar you will find more of His peace will flood your soul.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
Reflecting on the Lord and on His Word through praise, worship and biblical meditation will still and quiet our hearts and lead us into deeper rest in Him. Every day take time at the Prayer Altar to meditate on His goodness and on passages of His Word that you read in your daily reading.
In this time of lockdown let us learn to enter His rest by practising these four things and cultivating a lifestyle of His shalom in our lives.