I was relaxing, sitting on my floor and studying Luke. (I am loving Luke!) I had a friend over. By all appearances, she was equally relaxed. “Did you know,” she suddenly said (Naturally, I paraphrase.), “I have a friend who tells me that there is a verse in the Bible about striving to enter rest. Isn’t that weird? We usually think of striving and resting as opposites.”
“Yeah,” I said, becoming that obnoxious Bible geek as if my knowledge was superior to hers, “I think it is in Hebrews.”
I looked it up and informed her that in context it is about striving to enter into the rest of grace versus the work of the Law. That was my reading anyway. I haven’t studied Hebrews yet, so asking me my opinion in a few years when I have would be more reliable.
It reminded me of a verse in Romans that has always intrigued me. I mentioned it to my friend. “There is actually this verse in Romans…”
That says that we should consider the kindness and sternness of God. “Sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided you continue in His kindness”. The verse strikes me because taken out of context, one could assume God is going to be stern with those who are not doing a good job following all His commands. But when read in context the verse means something much different. In context those to whom God will be stern are those who have fallen away from believing that they will receive righteousness through grace and have started to think that if they follow the Law really well, they can attain it on their own merit.
I love that paragraph in Romans. God will become stern with me if I turn away from His kindness in offering me grace through faith not by works.
I have been resting well recently. I am so grateful that I don’t have to work to get to heaven. I can rest. Instead of putting all my energy in trying to look good and holy and pure on the outside, I can rest in His grace, delight in Him and trust Him to clean my inside so the outside also will be clean.
Every year about this time, I seem to write about rest. I think following Jesus is really synonymous with learning to rest in Him. Denying myself, taking up my cross and following Him is no joke; but when I have learned to come to Him for all my comfort, it is more than doable.
I am in such a challenging time in my life, but I am resting in Him more than I ever have.
I don’t have much more to say tonight. I am simply extremely grateful that part of fighting the good fight and running the race to win is simply striving to enter His rest.
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Romans 16
Rejoice! Because great is our reward in heaven.
How do you strive? Do you strive to prove you are good enough to enter heaven on your own merit, or do you strive to enter the rest Jesus has already prepared for you through grace?