Strive to Enter God’s Rest

You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you.

The sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

What do the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart reveal about who you think you are? Are they in agreement with the words of the Lord God and the meditation of his heart?

As you spend time resting in the word of God daily, forgetting everything you know except Jesus the Messiah, are you aware of a growing desire for your every word and thought to please the Lord? Are you becoming conscious of the Lord’s response to your every word and thought?

Read the words of Scripture slowly and reflectively. Let them settle deep in your soul and take root as you wait in anticipation for the Spirit of God to bring them to life in you.

Rev 3:17-21 – For you keep saying, ‘I am rich, I have gotten rich, I don’t need a thing!’ You don’t know that you are the one who is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked! My advice to you is to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich; and white clothing, so that you may be dressed and not have to be ashamed of your nakedness; and eyesalve to rub on your eyes, so that you may see. As for me, I rebuke and discipline everyone I love; so exert yourselves, and turn from your sins! Here, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me. (CJB)

Through what perspective or light do you see and experience your inner being?

Perspective: a specific point of view in understanding or judging things or events, especially one that shows them in their true relations to one another.1

Don’t confuse your inner being with your external life circumstances, your emotions or will or thoughts.

You don’t know that you are the one who is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked! How can we be so unaware of our state of being?

I, Lord God, rebuke and discipline everyone I love. So…
Exert yourselves, be zealous: to have warmth of feeling; affect, have desire, be jealous over, as of a husband; figuratively, of God.2

Christ himself.

By gold tried in the fire, can mean no other than Christ himself. He hath been tried, indeed, in the fire of every exercise, when for his people he bore the sins and sorrows of his redeemed, in his own body, on the tree. As the Church’s Surety, he stood exposed to the fire of God’s wrath as a burnt-offering; and all the fiery darts of Satan, which in the days of his temptation he endured. And, by white raiment, we may well conceive, the Lord means that spotless robe of righteousness, which on the cross he wrought out, for the clothing all his people. And by the eye-salve to anoint the eyes of his spiritually blind, can mean no other than the unction of the Holy Ghost, by which, in regenerating grace, in the new birth, and in divine teaching, the Church are brought to know all things, 1 John 2:20,27. And it is not the smallest beauty of this scripture, in the counsel of Christ, that what Jesus calls to buy of him, means without money and without price. It is all a free gift, free grace, free love…. Shall you and I take the counsel of this wonderful Counsellor? Shall we seek Him, as our true riches? Accept his white raiment for our only covering before God, for acceptance? And shall we bless him, for the Unction of his Holy Spirit, in anointing our eyes, to behold thereby, our nothingness, and his All-sufficiency

…A note of admiration, that Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth, should thus ask an entrance! Moreover: where is he? He saith, I stand at the door and knock. Marvellous condescension! Jesus stands without! He that by right of creation, redemption, marriage, purchase, conquests, grace, might command all gates to open at his approach, is nevertheless an humble suitor, and stands without. Oh! must not everyone that hears of such grace, or that is conscious of such unparalleled mercy, be constrained to cry out, with one of old: Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without, Gen 24:31.

But, observe not only the Redeemer’s posture, but the Redeemer’s method, to gain admission. He knocks at the door of our heart. And how is this done? Oh! who shall count over, or sum up, all the love-calls of Christ. By his word, by ordinances, by means of grace, by afflictions, wants, sicknesses, sorrows, bereaving providences in our friends, the near prospect, as it should seem, of death to ourselves; the Lord knocks, and knocks again and again, and rings loud peals through all the chambers of our consciences; all which we totally disregard, hear, but turn from: neither can the Lord, by soothing or by threatening, by judgments or by mercies, have the least effect upon our stony hearts, until He himself put in his hand by the hole of the door, opened to his own entrance, and caused our bowels to be moved for him… Hath he made you willing in the day of his power? Ps 110:3.

Our poor, cold, and lifeless nature, by reason of that body of sin and death we carry about with us, renders us but too often insensible to the visits of Jesus. Often he comes, looks in at the window, shows himself at the lattices of ordinances; and we, alas! sometimes hardly glance at him, before our thoughts run away to other objects. But, very mire I am, if our souls were but more alive to the visits of Jesus, we should find that this promise of Jesus would be often fulfilled, and night by night He would come with such love, and bring of that love with him, which is better than wine to make the feast with, and in such fulness, as to be both our company, our food, our bread, and our wine, Song 5:1.3

As for me, I rebuke and discipline everyone I love; so exert yourselves, and turn from your sins! Here, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me.

What words or thoughts have caught your attention in this text? Why?

Alert.

Luke 12:35-38 – “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master’s return after a wedding feast; so that when he comes and knocks, they will open the door for him without delay. Happy the slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes! Yes! I tell you he will put on his work clothes, seat them at the table, and come serve them himself! Whether it is late at night or early in the morning, if this is how he finds them, those slaves are happy. (CJB)

Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master’s return after a wedding feast.
Dressed for action. Lamp lit.

Living proof.

Phil 2:14-16 – Do everything readily and cheerfully — no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing. (MSG)

Waiting.

Gen 49:18 – I wait for your salvation, O Lord. (ESV)

Isa 64:4-5 – From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? (ESV)

Lam 3:25-26 – The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (ESV)

James 5:7-8 – Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (ESV)

Jude 20-21 – But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. (ESV)

Be dressed for action. Have your lamp lit. Wait for the Lord’s salvation. Are you properly dressed for the action associated with being a breath of fresh air and carrying the light-giving Message, while waiting quietly for the Lord’s salvation?

Read the texts again. Chew upon the words. Turn them over and over in your mind. Ask the Lord God what he wants you to receive from them and how he wants you to respond to them.

A sower went out to sow his seed.

Luke 8:5-8 – “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” (ESV)

Through what perspective or light do you see and experience your inner being where this life activity germinates, grows, buds, and produces fruit?

Is your inner life trampled underfoot and devoured?
Is your inner life withered?
Is your inner life choked?
Is your inner life bountiful because you’ve learned to wait quietly for the Lord’s salvation, dressed for action, your lamp lit?

Scripture describes our life from several perspectives.

First, is bios, the period or duration of life. It includes the manner of life, with an ethical sense, the means and cares that pertain to matters of this world, livelihood, business, ordinary life [Natural self].

Second is psuche. Heart, mind, soul. Breath of life, the natural life. The seat of personality. The individual life. [Independent Self].

Third is flesh. Death came through forfeiting of the Life, rebellion against God. This separation from God can be removed only by a sacrifice in which victim and offender become identified. [Deceived Self].

Fourth is zoe. Life as a principle, in the absolute sense, as God has life. Christ is the bestower of resurrection Life. The changing or fashioning anew. Impartation of spiritual Life [True self]. Link to Blog 67 – Life

Are we aware of and familiar with each of these lives/selves so we can recognize what resides behind each thought, emotion and action?

Do we have a different relationship with the word of God depending on which “life” or “self” hears and interacts with it? Bios/natural self, psuche/independent self, flesh/deceived self, or zoe/true self?

Is there a self that casually goes along with God’s word as long as it fits in with where she’s headed anyway? Is there a self that isn’t interested in what God has to say because she’s determined to do life her way? Is there a self that is motivated to keep God’s commandments to earn acceptance and rewards and to avoid pain? Is there a self that yearns for deep, mutual connection, regardless of personal cost?

Are we aware of which self presents itself, which is speaking or influencing us at any given time? Can we simply choose which life or self we are or want to be?

Who intentionally chooses to be trampled underfoot and devoured? Who purposefully chooses to be withered or choked? Is being bountifully productive a life/self that we can choose to make or create for ourselves? Or must it simply, humbly be received as a gift as we wait patiently for it?

Be still and know that I am God.

Ps 46 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah [Pause. Breathe. Reflect.]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah [Pause. Breathe. Reflect.]

Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (ESV)

Pause and consider from what perspective or light you see and experience God, yourself, and the world. Bios/natural self, psuche/independent self, flesh/deceived self, or zoe/true self.

God is…
Therefore I…

If you are interested in discovering who you truly are and to live from your bountiful inner being, then don’t just quickly gloss over the Lord God’s words. Exert yourself, be zealous: discover and develop desire for God and his Word even as he is zealous over you.

Desist.

Ps 46:10 – “Desist, and learn that I am God, supreme over the nations, supreme over the earth.” (CJB)

Ps 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (ESV)

Desist/cease: come to an end.4
Come to an end natural self. Come to an end independent self. Come to an end deceived self.
Be still: slacken: abate, cease, consume, fail, be faint, be feeble, forsake, idle, let alone.5
Forsake natural self. Forsake independent self. Forsake deceived self. Let them go. Become empty of everything false and useless so that you may receive the Word and discover your true self in him.

Read the texts again. What thoughts and questions and emotions arise? Does a word satisfy? Encourage? Convict? Prod? Instruct? Empower? Give hope?

Desist, cease, come to an end. Forsake, let alone. And at the same time:
Be still: to mend, to cure, cause to heal, repair, thoroughly make whole.5
Return to true self. God’s redeemed, subject to his lordship, be his stewards to show mercy with kindness and liberality to all.4

Do you notice the paradox in desisting, in being still?

God is…
Therefore I…

A live promise.

Heb 4:1-13 – For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith. Remember that God said, Exasperated, I vowed, “They’ll never get where they’re going, never be able to sit down and rest.”

God made that vow, even though he’d finished his part before the foundation of the world. Somewhere it’s written, “God rested the seventh day, having completed his work,” but in this other text he says, “They’ll never be able to sit down and rest.” So this promise has not yet been fulfilled. Those earlier ones never did get to the place of rest because they were disobedient. God keeps renewing the promise and setting the date as today, just as he did in David’s psalm, centuries later than the original invitation: Today, please listen, don’t turn a deaf ear . . .

And so this is still a live promise. It wasn’t canceled at the time of Joshua; otherwise, God wouldn’t keep renewing the appointment for “today.” The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience.

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it — no matter what. (MSG)

Today. God keeps renewing the appointment for “today.” How gracious and patient with us the Lord God is! How long will you and I resist him before we keep the appointment with him?

God keeps renewing the promise! Do you realize how he yearns for you to know him? He’s jealous over you. He’ll never stop waiting for you. Have you stopped waiting for him? Have you even begun to wait for him?

The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people, for you and for me, for all of us. We are all God’s people.

Read the texts again. Chew upon these words. Turn them over and over in your mind and allow their significance to be absorbed by mind, body, soul and spirit.

Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from God’s Word—no matter what.

God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey, we’ll surely rest with God. Do you trust God’s Word?

Strive.

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

Strive: to use speed, to make effort, be prompt or earnest; be diligent, labor, study.6

Rest: to make to cease. Sabbath rest. Rest from the burdens imposed by religion. Christ’s “rest” is not a “rest” from work, but in work, “not the rest of inactivity 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 for its satisfaction and development.7

Do you notice the paradox in Christ’s rest?

Salvation.

Rom 10:5-10 – Moses wrote that anyone who insists on using the law code to live right before God soon discovers it’s not so easy — every detail of life regulated by fine print! But trusting God to shape the right living in us is a different story — no precarious climb up to heaven to recruit the Messiah, no dangerous descent into hell to rescue the Messiah. So what exactly was Moses saying? The word that saves is right here, as near as the tongue in your mouth, as close as the heart in your chest.

It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God — “Jesus is my Master” — embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!” (MSG)

Trusting God to shape the right living in us.

The word that saves is right here, as near as the tongue in your mouth, as close as the heart in your chest. The sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart.

The word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. Doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead.

That’s salvation!

Read the texts again, setting aside your own thoughts, perceptions, judgments, your own agenda, to allow response from your inner depths to surface. What do you discover?

 

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)

Become aware of your breath. The breath of the Almighty in you.

Breath by breath. Become conscious of the presence of the Almighty in you. Seek his strength. Seek his presence. Surrender to the influence of the breath of the Almighty that you may serve him.

Inhale.
Exhale.

You must rely on the breath of the Almighty, the Spirit of God who lives inside you, to make you understand Gods words, to discern the thoughts and intentions of your heart, to seek the interests of Jesus Christ and not your own.

With your inhalation draw the words of the Lord God deep within you.

With your exhalation empty yourself of all your own ideas, plans, thoughts, imaginations and words to make room for the words of God to take possession. Open yourself completely to what the Lord God wants to reveal to you about yourself and about him. Become reverently responsive to what he says.

Rom 10:10-11 – With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!” Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this — heart and soul — will ever regret it.” (MSG)

Inhale: (draw the words of the Lord God deep within you)

With my whole being I embrace God setting things right

Exhale. (empty yourself of self to allow the words of God to take possession)

No one who trusts God—heart and soul—will ever regret it.

Wait, watch, listen, be still, be willing for the Lord God to transform you from within, revealing who you really are. Strive and reach for the goal, alive to the life energy that he powerfully works in you as you rest, completely dependent upon him to reach the goal, united with the Messiah.

As you receive the Word of God into that deepest place of your being, the Lord God is rescuing you, he is loosening your bonds to your old nature, he is delivering you from your illusions and foolish boasting. Through Jesus, our Messiah, God is gradually transforming you from within, revealing who you really are, becoming one spirit with him.

2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (ESV)

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1Webster’s Dictionary.

2Exert/be zealous: NT:2206 <START GREEK>zhlo/w<END GREEK> zeloo (dzay-lo’-o) or zeleuo (dzay-loo’-o); from NT:2205; to have warmth of feeling for or against: KJV – affect, covet (earnestly), (have) desire, (move with) envy, be jealous over, (be) zealous (-ly affect).

NT:2205 <START GREEK>zh=lo$<END GREEK> zelos (dzay’-los); from NT:2204; properly, heat, i.e. (figuratively) “zeal” (in a favorable sense, ardor; in an unfavorable one, jealousy, as of a husband [figuratively, of God], or an enemy, malice): KJV – emulation, envy (-ing), fervent mind, indignation, jealousy, zeal. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

3(from Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary. Biblesoft Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2014 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

4Desist/cease: chadal OT:2308, “to cease, come to an end, desist, forbear, lack.” … The basic meaning of chadal is “coming to an end.”

Shabat OT:7673, “to rest, cease.” … By observing the “sabbath,” Israel confessed that they were God’s redeemed people, subject to His lordship to obey the whole of His law. They were His stewards to show mercy with kindness and liberality to all Ex 23:12; Lev 25:1.

5Be still: OT:7503 <START HEBREW>hp*r*<END HEBREW> raphah (raw-faw’); a primitive root; to slacken (in many applications, literal or figurative): KJV – abate, cease, consume, draw [toward evening], fail, (be) faint, be (wax) feeble, forsake, idle, leave, let alone (go, down), (be) slack, stay, be still, be slothful, (be) weak (-en). See OT:7495.

OT:7495 <START HEBREW>ap*r*<END HEBREW> rapha’ (raw-faw’); or raphah (raw-faw’); a primitive root; properly, to mend (by stitching), i.e. (figuratively) to cure: KJV – cure, (cause to) heal, physician, repair,  thoroughly, make whole. See OT:7503. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

6Strive: NT:4704 <START GREEK>spouda/zw<END GREEK> spoudazo (spoo-dad’-zo); from NT:4710; to use speed, i.e. to make effort, be prompt or earnest: KJV – do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavour, labour, study.

7Rest: A. Nouns.

  1. anapausis (<START GREEK>a)na/pausi$<END GREEK>, NT:372), “cessation, refreshment, rest” (ana, “up,” pauo, “to make to cease”), the constant word in the Sept. for the Sabbath “rest,” is used in Matt 11:29; here the contrast seems to be to the burdens imposed by the Pharisees. Christ’s “rest” is not a “rest” from work, but in work, “not the rest of inactivity 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 for its satisfaction and development” (J. Patrick, in Hastings’ Bib. Dic.)…

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