The funny thing about Rest is that it doesn’t mean you have nothing to do. We have plenty to do! As a matter of fact, the author of Hebrews uses words like “zealous”, “exert”, “diligently”, “fearlessly”, “confidently”, and “boldly” when describing our obtaining the Rest (Hebrews 4: 11, 16). All of them imply that I have a role. So here are some “How to’s” that I’ve learned:
1. Guard your gates– Here’s how I think about it. There was a steep price that was paid for my Freedom. Jesus Christ, who committed no sin, suffered and died an unimaginably horrific death because of His unconditional love for me and His desire to bless me beyond measure. So, now that I am free, No one’s taking it from me! I am going to fiercely protect it. There are gates to our spirit that must be protected: our ears, eyes, and mouth.
- Ears: Since faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), it is important for us to be mindful of who and what we listen to. We will find ourselves accepting and believing whatever we consistently listen to. So, from music on the radio to well-intentioned friends and family, be careful what you allow to speak louder than the voice of God. Refuse to receive words that are contrary to what God has spoken (Yep, even if it costs you friends or even family).
- Eyes: Just like our ears, what we focus our eyes on will eventually dictate the direction we go in. I remember when I was learning how to drive, my instructor warned me not to stare or focus on anything too long, especially something that was not if front of me, because I would eventually steer the car in the direction of whatever I was focused on. Don’t allow yourself to focus on circumstances, people, or anything that can distract you. Peter was walking on water toward Jesus, but when he took his eyes off Jesus and began to focus on the storm around him, he starting sinking fast (Matthew 14:28-30).
- Mouth: As beings who were created with the same power to create with words as God used when He created the earth (…and God said let there be…), the importance of what we say and the impact our words have on our lives and the lives of those around us can’t be understated. Solomon spent a lot of time talking about it in Proverbs. I’m gonna point out just a few: Proverbs 13:3 and Proverbs 21:23 instruct us to guard our mouth to keep out of trouble. Proverbs 18:20 warns that we will have what we say, good or bad. I like the explanation in James 3:3 best- if we can control our tongue, we can control who we are, what we do, and what we have. Speak only that which is in agreement with the Word, and if you’re not sure what to say about a situation, don’t say anything until you know what He says about it.
2. Get intimate– Here’s a scripture we hear a lot, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). No, it doesn’t mean that we have to walk around mumbling religious prayers to ourselves all day. It means that we should be in constant fellowship with the Spirit, having a constant awareness of His presence in us, and allowing ourselves to listen and be led by Him…all day. This takes getting used to. We’re used to being the captain of our ship…making our decisions and then asking God to bless them. Well, He has called us to be sons (and daughters), which means we need to be led by Him (Romans 8:14). When you think about it, this takes the pressure off us! He’s in control of and has already taken care of our provision, our protection, our peace, our everything! We just have to trust him to direct our path to it (Proverbs 3:5-6).