Entering into Rest

Daniel 12:13 But as for you, go on your way until the end. You will rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.”

Busy, busy, busy…..that seems to be the mantra of our day. People talk and act like busyness is just such a burden and yet they continue to fill their days with endless chores and events that seem to never end.

Americans tend to think busyness is a badge of honor. If your really busy then you must be moving up the ladder of success or you’ve got so much going on that it reflects your level of importance.

I have often found myself far too busy, so much so that I left very little room for anyone else in my life (other than those within my circle of busyness). I have to frequently step back and check to see what I’m missing. I’ve learned that there is a lot going on in the world around me, Kingdom of God stuff that has eternal value that I have been missing. There are really godly people around me that will enrich my life, challenge me, and strengthen me in time of need….only if I wasn’t so busy.

Have you ever thought about leaving time in your schedule to meet new people, experience other ministries or outreaches, or simply have some quality time with the Lord?

James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

I propose this….we have lost sight of our priorities. We believe our families should come first before everything and so we leave little room for people outside of our sphere of influence. We think our jobs are so important, our career paths and goals are worth getting up early and working late for and yet very few people say they wished they had worked longer hours on their deathbeds. We will always have work to do, houses to clean, errands to run, and vacations to plan….in the end we will find that our religion was worthless.

Back Door Believers

Have you ever asked yourself how important your faith really is?

Matthew 24:42-44 “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

For many, showing up at church has become only a ritual. We might talk briefly to a friend or shake a couple hands, but our rituals say nothing about our love (or lack of love) for Christ. The real work of a believer is between Sunday’s, the time that we spend in the world, deciding how we spend our evenings, or determining where we invest our energy.

Back-door believers show up just before church starts and leave just as it ends, they did their service, they punched their ticket, and then head back into the world they go, no better off than before they came. Their religion is nominal at best, they act like God gives them credit for time served and they completely miss the opportunities that were right before them.

Kingdom Work

Those who are truly of the Kingdom of God understand that God’s work is woven into all of the fabric of life. True believers want to influence their families for Christ, they desire to be a light for Christ in their workplaces, they think of others before themselves in how they show love, and they recognize they have a role in the body of Christ.

Luke 17:20-21 “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

The Church is not just some element of life that is to be separated from reality, gathering among believers should be an extension of the work God has been doing throughout the week. Worshipping together is the culmination of God’s faithfulness and our subsequent response.

To rest in the Lord is to recognize our days have been ordered by Him and know we were faithful to obey all that He has shown us. When we gather as believers, sharing with others what obedience entails is part of what encourages others in their walks with Christ. It doesn’t take a great man or woman of God to learn obedience, but knowing how to listen in prayer and through the Word is vital throughout the week.

The Kingdom of God is made of ordinary people like you and me. People who love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and consequently love their neighbors as themselves. Jesus means everything to God’s people, for those who are bold in sharing the good news of the gospel, they place the work of the Kingdom over what others might think of them.

Do you know what awaits God’s people?

Matthew 24:45-47 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.”

Honor awaits the faithful.

The Finality of Rest

Life is short. The work we have before us is only for a moment. Once completed, the culmination of life will bring the report of all we did and didn’t do for Christ.

*Did we Trust Him or did we place our trust in something else?

*Did we act in obedience or was it all about us?

Hebrews 4:6 Since, then, it remains for some to enter His rest, and since those who formerly heard the good news did not enter because of their disobedience, “

*Did we believe His Word and live by His Truth or did we live to the world?

These are questions we should ask ourselves now, before the finality of life is complete. For those who lived for themselves, for the world, or lived in fear they will go forth into everlasting shame.

Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

For those who truly believed God’s Word to them…the reward is more than I can describe here.

Hebrews 4:9-11 “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from His works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”

Rest is the culmination of work. Good rest is the result of good work. Only God is good therefore the only rest that is good comes from the work that God did through you. The way God does His work through you is by you listening and obeying.

God may do His work by using the wicked but they will have no reward. There will be no rest for the wicked, their striving after the world will leave them destitute for eternity.

Isaiah 30:15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.”

Don’t lose heart, don’t grow faint, stay strong in the Lord and remember His faithfulness. He is not slow in keeping His promises, everything we see and hear today is happening just as He foretold. For those who patiently endure, they will find rest for their souls.

We can serve the Lord in the midst of our jobs, while we raise our families, and as we go about our daily chores. Resting in the Lord is not only stopping and reflecting, but it is keeping Christ at the center of all we do.

Isaiah 30:18 “Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.”

Continue your work with a joyful expectation of what is to come. Be bold, knowing your strength is found in Christ alone. Strive for purity and holiness, for you will see God in the midst of it.

When the Bridegroom comes, we will cease from our work and enjoy Him forever…be sure your lamps are lit when He does.

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