Hebrews 4:1-11 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
‘So I declared on oath in my anger, “They shall never enter my rest.”’
And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: ‘On the seventh day God rested from all his works.’ 5 And again in the passage above he says, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’
6 Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, 7 God again set a certain day, calling it ‘Today’. This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:
‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
Sorry to go on about the "Finding Our Identity" journey I'm on, but that which God has been drawing my attention to while on that walk is speaking to me through these verses. It's the 'rest' that gets to my attention.
Several times this past week, being moved beyond ego, God opened my eyes to how often we believers look for Him 'out there', and how we look for true love and true happiness and peace, and so on, 'out there'. We focus so much on our external circumstances, on what's going on about us and 'out there', that we fail to remember that God is in us and that we find true love, and peace, and so on in Him... in Him IN US. We even close our eyes and pray to Him while picturing Him in Heaven, on High, somewhere 'out there', as though He is far from us.
We're forever walking away from God, or leading Him to where we want to go, searching for that love, or that peace, or that hope that is missing from us, that we believe is in another man, or somewhere 'out there', and we fail to close our eyes and look into our own hearts to find Him and His.
I'm led to believe that, many times, we fail to seek Him in our own hearts because we've been told that our hearts are no good, that we are no good, despite being told in the Bible God will put a new heart in us. We look upon ourselves as being sinful, so we don't trust anything IN US, despite the fact that, through Jesus and all He has accomplished, we've been made right, or righteous, before God. And, because we don't accept these things, we go off wandering again, looking for something else to help us, heal us emotionally, free us, wondering where on earth God went and why we can't see Him. And there He is, all this time, with you, in you, speaking with that still small voice of His, in your heart, and you're not listening.
If you want God's rest, seek God for it; accept Christ and have your sins forgiven. If you have already accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, then you've been made righteous before God and been given not only a new heart, but the mind of Christ, also, and His Spirit. Everything you ever need to make you happy, to enable you to know and be filled with true love, is in you - if God is in you.
When we find true love and happiness and peace and hope and so on IN HIM IN US, then we can face the external world and not lose these things. His love rises up from within us - as does His peace, His joy, His strength, His hope, the faith He gives us, and so on...then it flows out of our hearts like living water, to others in our 'external' world. When we meet with God in our own hearts, we can then face the storm and surf those waves with faith - no surfboard needed. We can be faced with devastation and still hold on to the peace that goes beyond all understanding. We can feel the world coming against us - be that through illness, unfaithfulness, loss, or whatever we face daily - and still know hope, faith and peace. We can be slapped down by our enemy, and still know love - and still give it. We can face those struggles we face and, yet, still know rest.
We don't have to go off looking for true love, looking for peace, looking for comfort, and hope and so on. It's already ours. It's in us. It's in God and He is in us, and we are in Him. We need to pull aside from the crowds, from the noises of life, and be still, knowing He is God, knowing He has the answers, knowing He will never leave us nor forsake us, knowing as long as God is our story ends with a 'happily ever after' scenario.
Ezekiel 11:19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
Romans 8 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation – but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
1 Corinthians 2:15-16
15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,
‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’