Inclusion within rest. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? The opposite would be exclusion from rest which doesn’t sound so lovely. The question is, how do we enter into the rest God provides? And then, how do we stay in it? These questions take us to Hebrews chapter 4. We learn in this chapter that in order to enter God’s rest we must believe (Hebrews 4: 3), we must be obedient (4: 6), and we must cease from our own works (4: 10).
If we desire to enter into rest we must believe. The Greek word for believe is pisteuo. This word carries the meaning of entrusting our spiritual well-being to Christ and of relying upon Him for salvation. We also must be obedient in order to enter in. Hebrews 4: 6 reveals that those in the wilderness did not enter in due to willful disobedience. They knew what was expected and they still disobeyed. We cannot be in rest if we are disobedient. In addition to believing and being obedient, we must also cease from our own works to enter in.
What is this rest? Here in Hebrews chapter 4 the Greek word used for rest is katapausis. It carries the meaning of settling down and causing to desist. We cannot be both laboring toward our own goal and at the same time resting in God. When we labor toward our own goal we are still in a place of self-effort. Self-effort cannot coincide with being in God’s rest. In order to enter in, we must cease. We must cease and desist. We have to stop.
Once we stop, then we may enter in. “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” May we enter in to this rest more and more fully each day. May we cease in order that He may have His way. May we let go of the control we think we have and allow God to rule and reign more fully. The more we cease the more we will find ourselves in rest.
We enter in as we believe, are obedient, and cease from self-effort. We enter in by faith. We stay in rest in the same way. If we move out of rest, we repent of our lack of belief, our disobedience, or our self-effort. And then we enter back in and we find ourselves in rest once more.