The Believer’s Rest – Romans Chapter 4:
“Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,
“As I swore in My wrath,
They shall not enter My rest,”
although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this passage, “They shall not enter My rest.” 6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before,
“Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts.”
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us are diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
14 Therefore, since 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 cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4 (NASB)
The ‘rest’ the Apostle Paul was writing about in Hebrews, particularly in Chapter 4, had remained a great mystery to me for over 30 years. When I would read Hebrews chapters 3 and 4, I sensed in my spirit there is a dimension in God that was far deeper than I had experienced in my walk with Him.
God had blessed me with His presence in the early seventies and the anointing of God would come and His presence would descend upon me as I would minister the word. However, there was always a deep struggle within my heart, soul and mind to know God on a greater dimension. I would pour over the pages of God’s word attempting to discover that hunger and thirst which my heart cried for. When I came to the Book Hebrews, it was if there was something missing in my heart which I needed to take hold of or receive from God. It was a rest God desires to give to those who seek and pursue to know Him more and more each day.
While there was anointing which would come upon me, it did not remain and the struggle with my flesh and spirit seemed to be a constant war I could never overcome. The flesh seemed to prevail and I would cry unto God for help, but I could not find the rest I read about in Hebrews. I did not realize there is a dimension in God where I can live, if I allow God to cut all the flesh out of my life.
There was mixture in my life and little did I realize God was going to deal with me for a long time, and deep would be the valley God would force me to go through to come into a rest in which the flesh no longer overwhelms my soul and spirit.
It has been decades since I stood with confidence to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and walk away after the presence of God would come upon me. I would then wrestle severely with my flesh. I felt like a failure and darkness would flood my soul as I struggled with self, trying within my own strength to be what I believed God desired me to become. However, I always fell short and the self confidence I once walked in did not fulfill my spirit, soul or mind. I would be critical of the ministry of others and focused on the flesh of man rather than lift my eyes to seek the face of God.
Finally, after spending decades in darkness of soul with little to no desire to serve the Lord, I came to a place where all I wanted was rest. My heart cried for rest – if only I could come to a place where I could have rest within my inner man. I knew God and I prayed to Him; however, there was a deep, deep peace and rest missing in my life. I finally came to a stance where I did not care anything about “my ministry” nor did I have a desire to “minister” to other people. I just wanted God. I wanted for Him to come to me and deliver me from my failures, my sorrow and pain of soul – my flesh.
Deliverance from self only comes by the mercy and grace of God. His Holy Spirit must come to us and force us to admit we are nothing in the flesh; and, we must come to the point where we admit we are nothing but the dirt of this earth without God. Jacob faced this at Peniel where he wrestled with a man until daybreak. Here was where Jacob finally faced the fact of his humanity and received a touch from God – it changed him. He named the location, Peniel which means “face of God.” Jacob finally had to yield to God to receive peace and rest. The only option we have is to throw self onto the Alter of Sacrifice and cry out “consume me O Lord, and let me come forth as gold purified by your fire. Take all the dross of my flesh and remove it from me.” There, we meet God face to face.
Once we are willing to lay down everything we think we are, desire to become, and have attempted to become in our flesh, will God receive the only thing we have to offer to Him – all of our life and heart without reservation.
I had to reach the place in my life where I no longer attempted to protect my reputation, my possessions or my future desires. He brought me low and stripped me to the core, cut away the desires of my flesh, stood me up and began to fill me with the ability to look through His eyes, to see as He sees, to hear the very heart beat of His heart.
I am making a strong statement: God literally turned me upside down and dumped everything I possessed out, and then He burned the carnal desires out of my flesh and placed within me a passionate desire to know Him and the power of His suffering and gifting of His presence upon my life. I have no desire be anything more than what He desires me to be. I am content and complete in Christ. I need no more and nothing less. I have entered into His rest – the blessed place where the precious Holy Spirit has full control of my life.
In Him I move and live and have my being:
“That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him and find Him, though He be not far from everyone one of us. For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your poets have said, For we are also his offspring. For as much then aw we are the offspring of God, we ought to think hat the Godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. (Acts 17:27-29 KJV)
In the past I stood near Him, now I am in Him and He resides within me with the power of the Holy Spirit. He no longer comes to me – He comes and powerfully lives within me as King and Lord – in the temple He created – my heart. I am free to approach His throne with full confidence and stand in awe of the greatness of His Holiness, power, majesty, love and grace and I enjoy the gifting He has given unto me.
I desire nothing more than His presence within my heart, spirit, soul and mind. There is no desire to attempt to impress anyone with my knowledge, self-confidence or selfish ambitions of my flesh – I need Him and Him alone. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords and is Holy. I am humbled that God would come to me, of all the men and women on this earth, and deliver me for darkness of soul and establish me upon the solid Rock of His truth with His anointing upon my life. I know He has come to me and is now opening doors without me even reaching for the doorknob.
Years ago, I received a vision of the most beautiful broad river I have ever seen naturally or in pictures, photos or from any source. I saw the most beautiful luxurious, magnificent, splendid and lush view beyond what a picture could capture. I saw myself in the middle of that river free and floating in peace, enjoying the presence of God and I heard this in my spirit: “I am going to use you to bring people into My presence where they can partake of me.”
I forgot all about that vision as I drifted in darkness of soul and sorrow as God was in the process of stripping me of all pride, selfishness and desires of my flesh. All I could do was to focus on my current circumstances. I lived to die naturally and even cried out to God to come and take my life. I saw no hope and no future. I seemed to be dead, dry and thirsty, ready to die. I referred to this as the dead of a vision when I was younger – little did I understand I had yet to walk through the valley of death of a vision from God.
But God looked down upon my situation, saw my heart and through the pages of an old Bible begin the process of bringing me to the current place of total rest and confidence in Him. I do not have to do anything to enjoy His presence. I am yielded to Him. What He asks me to do; that will I do – for it is not work but worship. I have come to rest from my labor and I rest in Him with a peace that I can enter the throne of His presence and ask for His will to be done according to His good pleasure.
Is it because I am so special? No. It is because He has brought me to the Alter of His Love and I have thrown my flesh and all the baggage I was carrying, all I had, all of my flesh or hoped to be and offered it as a sacrifice to Him with a cry from my heart – “consume me and set me free.”
Friends, if you have never come to the Holy Ground of His Presence, you cannot possess the rest He has to give you until you willingly throw the flesh of self onto the Alter of Sacrifice and allow Him to consume you. If you do, you will come forth with the fragrant of His Presence upon your life – it will not be a fragrance of pride or self – it will be the fragrance of His Presence and He will begin to unlock doors that were sealed in the past and all you have to do is to rest in His Presence. It is living in the river of His Presence and He will begin to take your broken, wounded, ugly life of this earth, which may still be seen through the eyes of this world who once know you, and He will use you to accomplish great things for Him. Family, friends and others will not understand, but one thing they will have to confess: He is not the same person I once knew. God will begin to use us as we walk daily in His presence with eyes focused upon Him.
I have explained this experience as if I am walking daily on a razor. It cuts my flesh when it attempts to raise its ugly head and, on the other side, it cuts away the thoughts of inferiority and lack and gives me confidence and faith in God. The word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword and when applied to our heart it cuts away the flesh. It is called circumcision of heart. Abraham experienced natural circumcision – a pattern of what God desires to do in every heart – cut away the flesh of our heart. Paul spoke of this circumcision in Romans 2:28-29: “For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.” (NLT)
Additionally, the word of God becomes the words of my mouth as a sword to bring life to others – this seems to contradict the thoughts of our mind. How can the words of my mouth be used as a sword to bring life? The sharpest knife yields the least painful cut. A dull knife tears the flesh. A sharp knife cuts easily, even gently; we don’t feel the same pain as that of a dull blade. God takes his word and wraps it in His love, if we are yielded to Him, and He uses gentle words from our mouth to cut deep into the flesh of the hearts of others without us even realizing God is speaking through us to repair and heal spiritually wounded and hurt hearts. Please do not separate Hebrews 4:12 from verse 13. Taken together, these verses tell us much about God and our heart.
The Word of God is not simply a collection of words from God or an instrument to communicate ideas. It is living, life-changing, and dynamic as it works in our heart and mind. With the incisiveness of a surgeon’s knife, God’s Word reveals who we are and what we are not. It penetrates to the very core of our moral and spiritual life. It discerns what is within our heart, both the good and evil thoughts and intentions, even though we do not know our own heart. God’s Word demands decisions in our mind and heart. We must not only read the written word, the Bible; but we must also listen to the word of God as it is preached and taught within our natural hearing, AND we must also listen to the quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit and be immediately obedient to God to do what He is speaking into our spirit, regardless of the channel He chooses to speak to us, and allow His word to mold and shape our lives.
Nothing can be hidden from God. He knows everyone regardless of where we are, and everything about us is wide open to his all-seeing eyes. God sees all we do and knows all we think. In fact, He searches the deep things within our heart and knows the intentions of our heart. Even when we are unaware of His presence, His is here (not there) – right near you, right now. He is constantly present – even when we attempt to hide from Him. He is always watching us and waiting to hear from us. We cannot keep secrets from God. Peace and rest comes into our heart as we yield 100% unto Him.
O Lord, I give thanks to you for delivering me from the river of self and bringing me into the river of Your Presence.