HEBREWS 4:9-10: “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.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: What is the secret to living the Christian life? There are so many books, so many steps, so many ideas it can become downright discouraging just to ponder the question. So much of my Christian walk resembles many things – but rest has not been one of them. I have worked, struggled, prayed hard, quoted verses, marched, proclaimed, fasted, memorized, and the list goes on and on. I have been so focused on finding the key to living this life that I have worn myself out!
In reality living the Christian life is a lot like sailing. When I lived in California I had the joy and privilege of owning a 26ft sailboat. It was a modest boat, but it was seaworthy and a lot of fun. I had many adventures on this boat (some a bit scary), but I learned a lot about life and a lot about my walk of faith.
When you are sailing on the open ocean, when the wind is just right, you effortlessly cut through the water like a hot knife cuts through butter. There is really no effort on the part of the sailor. His only job is to keep the boat directed to “catch” the wind, and to stay on course avoiding rocks and peril. The wind is really doing all the work. You find this out when the wind changes or dies. When you have a 26ft sailboat in the middle of the ocean, and there is no wind, you cannot row it to shore. I only had a 7 horsepower outboard engine, and trust me, that barely got us back into harbor when there was no wind.
The Christian life is likened to “rest” because it is not meant to be a life of effort – it is meant to be a life in the Spirit! It is the Spirit of God that fills our sails, and does, in and through us, what we cannot do in our own human strength. This is why the writer of Hebrews says – “..for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” We cease from our work, and we surrender to His work. This does not mean that we simply sit and do nothing. Rather, like the sailor, we are actively engaged in catching the wind – walking after the Spirit, and living in the power of God’s Grace! This is what Paul is referring to when he says:
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV)
We are to work – according to the work of God within us. We are to learn how to sail in the Spirit! Our job is not to try and make things happen, it is to cooperate with what God is doing and discover the glory of His will in our lives. This takes effort on our part, but it is an effort that is filled with joy, for it flows from His power within. Our real job is to keep our focus on where the Holy Spirit is leading so that we do not end up in the rocks. There is a thin line between walking after the Spirit – and relying on our own wisdom, power, and strength. The writer of Hebrew continues:
“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:11-13 ESV)
Lord, this morning I want to sail under the power of Your Holy Spirit. Deliver me from my dependence upon self. Keep me focused on Your will for my life. Let Your Word speak to me each day and divide between the thoughts and intentions of my heart so that I can stay in the center of Your will. Help me today to enter fully into Your rest – and sail! In Jesus Name!