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Let Us Therefore Strive to Enter That Rest

16 February • Friday after Ash Wednesday


Hebrews 4:10-16

10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 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. 13 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.

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Meditation

 

This passage contains a number of themes which we can expound on, to benefit our spiritual health. However, we shall pick on the theme of rest and ask how we might apply the teaching of rest in our Christian life.

To begin with, rest is something which our Heavenly Father has not only taught us to do, but He has also shown us by practising rest Himself. The Genesis story


informs us that after creation, God took a deliberate break to rest from His work. This is sometimes referred to as Sabbath Rest. In the Decalogue, God commanded us to keep the Sabbath holy, that is, to take a break from our normal chores, so that we will have more time to focus on God and enjoy His presence in our midst.


In our fast-moving world, when most of us are usually preoccupied with our works—studies and extra- curricular activities for students; busyness with our jobs and social life for adults; finding ways to make more money to keep up with the Anils, the Ahmads and the Ah Huats in our materialistic world—no wonder we hardly have time to rest.

Unless we accept and practise rest as a spiritual discipline, we will miss out on an invaluable means of grace which God uses to help us grow in wholesome and holy ways. Rest restores our battered body and mind. Rest renews our sometimes sagging spirit. Rest refuels our complete self, energising us and preparing us for a more faithful, fruitful life and ministry.


Our weakness which may cause us to neglect rest may be attributed to the pressure to conform with what is happening in our consumerist and highly competitive world. Thankfully we do not have to allow our weakness to stop us from doing what is right. We have God’s word which is sharper than a double-edged sword to guide us, nurture us and form our character. What a privilege it is to know that we have Jesus Christ, the great High Priest who can help us overcome our human weakness and learn to pause for rest.


Borrowing the second verse of William D. Longstaff’s hymn, we can find rest when we

“Take time to be holy, the world rushes on; Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.”


Prayer

 

God of Sabbath, thank You for showing and reminding us of the importance of rest. We confess that sometimes we are so overwhelmed with works and a false sense of security, that we neglect to take a break and have a good rest. Grant us the desire to make it a point to rest for our own spiritual well-being in our long-haul faith journey. In the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Amen.


Action

 

Put aside time to reflect on your relationship with God. Have a purposeful quiet communion with Him, as a way of practising rest. In your spiritual exercise, find a rhythm which suits you. Begin, for example, with half a day, per week, for rest and consider moving on to having a full day silence retreat, once a year.


Rev Dr Daniel Koh Kah Soon

Pastor, Barker Road Methodist Church oversees the works of Oasis BRMC Mission @ Bukit Batok. He is active with the Methodist Welfare Services and other Christian outreach ministries.

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