The same two words keep popping up on everything. At least it has seemed that way over the past couple months. These words have come to me in a verse texted by a friend. In an Advent devotional. On a Christmas card. In a song on a Pandora playlist. In a book. And now as I study Exodus in preparation for my girls’ Bible study, I see it again.
In the Bible when the same word or sentence is repeated it is for emphasis and deliberate purpose. Could it be in the frequent reappearing of the same two words that God is telling me to pay attention? That He is waving me down and whispering in my ear…
I’ve written about it before when I posted Be Still My Soul and Be Still My Anxious Heart and mentioned it again in my New Years Resolution post. But it’s just not going away and is becoming the Be Still refrain going on in my head. So when I read a friend’s comment on one of my posts about something I had written in the past on her grandson’s CaringBridge page, it grabbed me.
“RESTING IS ACTIVE.”
Whoa. I said that! Doesn’t sound like rest if it’s active?
Maybe the contratiction of it is why this concept has stuck with me from many, many years ago when I studied the book of Hebrews in a women’s Bible study. It was there that I first thought about these two phrases:
“Pay attention…lest we drift away” (Hebrews 2:1)
“…be diligent to enter His rest” (Hebrews 4:11).
To understand this active rest my leader painted the word picture of what it is like when you are relaxing on a raft in the river. Without doing anything you will automatically float downstream away from the river bank where your belongings are. So though you are resting, you must actively pay attention to keep your raft in the same vicinity.
This is what the writer of Hebrews is telling us. If we don’t actively pay attention to the gospel, the good news of God’s grace, we will drift away. By not doing anything it will happen automatically. This is why we must be in the Word. This is why we need the gospel preached to us on Sunday morning. This is why we need the body of Christ to encourage and walk alongside us all the time. To help us stay focused so we rest.
A rest that comes only in the peace that Jesus brings in to our life when we realize He worked and accomplished our salvation for us, so we don’t have to. But without paying attention to this truth we easily fall back in to the achievement salvation mindset I talked about in my New Years post. This is because our human default mode says we need to make ourselves better, do more and work harder to be a “good” Christian, to be accepted, to hold it all together. To combat this false belief takes diligence – striving – to remember that it was His works and righteousness on our behalf so that we can have true rest.
Being Still is hard work that we don’t know how to do. It is active, but counter-intuitive to the activity we gravitate toward. We want to be in control; to do something to try to alleviate pain, change a situation or make ourselves better. Jesus says though that the only way to experience My Peace, to know true Rest requires paying attention and focusing on Me; any other “work” is exhaustive and in vain.
How Great is our God who even enables us by His grace to actively rest in Being Still!
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