In last week’s post, I began this topic of habit training for ourselves by focusing on morning rhythms of renewal, and the foundation for understanding our need for this.
I know you’re likely ready to get to the how of this, but I think it’s helpful to continue focusing on the principles behind why we need to do it, and to dig a bit deeper.
Let’s begin by looking at Jesus and a truth that scripture tells us about who he is.
“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. 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. 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” (Hebrews 4:14-16, ESV).
This is a commonly visited passage, and one that I think is helpful if understood in the greater context surrounding it. So let’s back up a few verses and read the ones preceding.
“For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 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. 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” (Hebrews 4:8-13).
As we read this passage, I want to highlight a few themes that surface: the ideas of rest and perseverance.
When we consider the idea of rest, the question arises…is the rest referred to here in the past, present or future? I found the ESV Study Bible helpful in explaining this, so I will quote it here:
“Makes the most sense if the rest is understood as already inaugurated but awaiting consummation. He looks primarily to the future, as indicated by the need to continue striving to enter this rest (vs. 1, 11, 14), and by the promise of the cessation of struggles in this life (9-10). Yet there remains a sense in which that future rest touches the experience of this life (v.7).”
Taking that into consideration, what can we conclude from this entire chunk of scripture in Hebrews 4, and how it informs our understanding of pursuing rhythms of renewal and rest?
Firstly, Jesus is our great high priest who sympathizes with us.
Now, I know Jesus was not a mother, but because we know he is our great high priest, we can be confident he sympathizes with our weaknesses…even those that we experience in our roles of motherhood. And once we begin next week to look at him through the gospel of Mark, we’ll see how through his days of being fully human he really can relate to motherhood more than we may expect.
We can trust this truth about him, and it should endear us to him all the more. He understands and knows and sympathizes with us! What a comfort to know that the Savior of the world understands our need for rest and renewal.
And what’s more…he knows exactly what we need to pursue in order to receive that rest now, even as we wait for the perfect rest we will one day enter with him. The already/not-yet of this blessing of rest comes with his equipping for our present day. We are not left alone!
Secondly, we need to remember the complete and perfect rest we will enter one day, and let that fuel our daily rhythms of rest now by frequently returning to God’s Word.
Because Jesus is our great high priest, we can approach his throne with confidence…daily! We should strive for this because we need it and because we want it. What a gift we’ve been given to have access to the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us – we have access to God’s throne – why would we not strive to enter that rest daily, or even hourly?
And lastly, this continual pursuit of resting in Jesus will fuel our need to persevere on our journey now.
All this talk about resting at the feet of Jesus doesn’t mean we will end up taking a nap (although, let me be clear – sometimes that’s the most spiritual thing we can do as mamas, ha!). No, resting at Jesus’ feet is not something we pursue so that we can lay back and ease our way into the Kingdom of God. Resting in Jesus will spur us to action, to perseverance on this journey we are called to walk as followers of Christ. We rest not to quit. Rather, we rest to continue. We rest to battle. We rest to persevere.
Rest and Perseverance – the two go hand in hand.
Next week we’ll watch our great high priest in action by venturing into the book of Mark. I dare you to go ahead and read ahead – the whole book. You won’t regret it.