Day 8: Resting Well
Resting is Gospel-Centered
Five of my eight children are taking the state mandated assessment this week. They have been preparing all year for this test. It is a high stakes year for some, meaning that if the student fails the test, they do not proceed to the next grade. My kids feel the weight of their responsibility and I anticipate great outcomes from this group. But it has not always been that way.
Last year, I had one squirrely kid who would not listen– to the teachers or their PHD/Reading Specialist mom. This child possesses the kind of forceful personality of a CEO bottled up in the body of an eight-year old. Beyond that, they exhibit an know-it-all attitude that I found near impossible to train. You cannot teach a person who thinks they already know what they don’t know. Needless to say, the child not do well…
It’s the best thing that ever happened to them.
One evening, I sat my precious CEO know-it-all down, knee to knee, with the facts and the reasons we believed they failed to succeed. It was essentially a Come to Jesus meeting. We first cried and embraced the tragedy of the situation. Then I pointed them toward the gravity of the consequences of the path they were currently choosing — and we went over a plan for how to change the behaviors. In elementary terms–it would be essential for them to alter their attitude and approach to learning in order to be successful. They must become teachable–open to receive what the authority in their life gave.
It’s as if we find ourselves in a tender, but firm, Come to Jesus meeting of our own with the writer of Hebrews. Picture yourself sitting knee to knee, strongly warned about the dangers of unbelief through the failures of the wandering Israelites in the desert. Then, as we looked at in Day Seven, you receive the charge to strive for a better outcome to enter the promised rest.
Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. Heb 4:11
Just as the challenge is given, a plan for how to be successful in entering this rest is made plain. If the writer wanted you to sit down to heed the warnings of unbelief, they are strapping a seatbelt across your lap to keep you listening about now. This next verse is important!
12 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. Heb 4:12
You see—you and I are just like my squirrely kid. We sometimes think we already know what we don’t know. But failure often follows.
The writer of Hebrews points us to a plan for success. “The Word of God is living and active,” full of power and able to discern our thoughts, attitudes and intentions of the heart. The message here is that this Gospel, this Word, is different. We are encouraged to embrace it because this Word is changeless yet able to meet you where you are. It lives. You and I do not have any other resource available that can compare to this Gospel.
If we want to truly rest, we must read this Word and receive this Word. It will not be enough to listen to podcasts. These reading plans will not be enough. Going to a great God-honoring church is wise and prudent, but it will not satisfy your need to rest in Christ. You and I must commit to spend the time to read it. Hear it. See it. Memorize it. We must get the Word in us any and every way possible – but let it be the actual Gospel, not something about the Bible.
Do you want out of those desert places of wandering? Have you come to the place that you can admit you don’t have all the answers? Are you teachable? Can you receive what the Lord is ready to give? Because you and I have no hope of believing Him or choosing Him above everything else without this Gospel. We just don’t have what it takes within ourselves to move out of our desert wanderings any more than the Israelites.
The key to believing God and leaving those desert wanderings behind is through the living Word of God.
And you will be on your way to Resting Well.
With much affection.
For His Glory,