For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath — rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. Heb 4:8-11
Religion – One of the most painful things to see in life or in relationships or in business is a person trying really hard to be what they are not, or sweating to produce what they cannot. It is the essence of religion to put on a face and pretend to be something we are not. It’s the ultimate stress and anxiety in our hearts. Ironically, there are times when we have all tried and failed in such vain attempts at pretense.
Rest – By contrast, there is another place in the Spirit, in relationships and in work, called rest. We see this in the lives of a few. There are those who are at peace with themselves who produce great and graceful results in very natural way without trying very hard. We say, “It came naturally to them.” Fame and fortune and love seem to follow them, and they are always leaders just by the fact that the rest of us would love to be like them. God himself admires them, and even His suggestion is that we should “make every effort” to enter that rest.
What it feels like – Our bodies and minds need to relax and rejuvenate, periodically. Nightly sleep, weekends and vacations are great times of refreshing and we all need them.
However, I want to suggest that the “rest” of Hebrew 4 is Jesus. We can see it as resting from our own religious works, our attempts to become God, and trying to force our lives in the direction that our minds would like. The place of permanent rest is the land of milk and honey. It is not the absence of work; it is the labor of love where we work on our dream and see it come true. Real rest comes into our hearts from finding and fulfilling our destiny. More specifically, our minds and hearts and God’s heart are all flowing together in alignment. In the sphere of our calling, we feel empowered, capable, and fruitful. We can sense that even in occasional setbacks we are more than conquerors. That’s the realm where business, relationships, and life really begin to work. It’s fun and prosperous and delightful. Working at this level actually energizes our hearts. And the realm of rest is really the source of being entrepreneurial and creative. We were all designed to be successful and do to something spectacular in the Kingdom. Until we find that “rest,” our hearts wander without the full measure of peace available from connecting with our destiny.
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. John 4:34-35 NIV
How to get there – Getting saved and going to church is not an automatic ticket into rest. It requires “making every effort,” and many believers simply don’t know how. First, let’s understand the problem. Most of us take a very intellectual approach to life, and we are simply not in touch with what God has written on our hearts. When we make decisions, we believe it’s an intellectual choice with our minds. Nothing could be further from the truth. Virtually all of our decisions in business, relationships and life come right out of our hearts. And it gets worse… life has given nearly all of us some mental programming that works against our hearts. So we know what we want to do in our minds, but we have no clue what is actually in our hearts or subconscious, and no clue what good thing God has written on our hearts (Heb 8:10, 10:16). Quite often this double-minded state leads us to sabotage our own lives or relationships or business. Our hearts are pointed in a different direction, therefore trying to defeat the agenda of our minds. Extremely frustrating! Paul said it well:
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Rom 7:18-20 NIV
Shining the light – The solution starts with giving ourselves permission to pursue the desires of our heart. God has written something there regarding our destiny, and there is little in our society or education that trains us to stay connected with our hearts. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit can hold our hands and show us the hidden things in our hearts – both what God has written and what needs to be changed. We just have to ask him to do it.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Heb 4:12-13 NIV
Practically – Now, when I run into a ceiling or a limitation that I can’t seem to get past in life or relationships or business, the first thing I do is to ask the Lord to show me what is in my heart in two areas. I want to know if there is some area of healing or change needed from something in my past. Secondly, I want to connect with what he has written on my heart regarding the future. My heart is willing to let go of the past offenses and hurts and boundaries if I can see the blessing God has for me in the future. To make a change, we have to see both. I like to use this heart exercise, and there is more information on this topic in the last newsletter, From Poland with Love.
Want to go on to the next level in life or relationships or your business? Change your heart first.