We have been discussing the paradoxes of Scripture in church these last several weeks. Yesterday I got to speak on the paradox of “laboring to rest” which we find in Hebrews 4:11. This post is the conclusion of the matter. So f you missed the first two section s they can be found at the links below:
What we have learned to this point is that the work…the labor we are called to do as Christians is the work of having faith in a living loving God. We are called to do that in a world that is constantly trying to steal our faith and get us to believe only in our own strength.
The writer to the Hebrews in the verses leading up to our opening verse in Hebrews 4: 11 makes this clear when he writes,
“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,” Hebrews 4:1-3
Our work our labor is to believe and have faith in God and to allow that faith to propel us through life rather than our own strength.
Some people scoff at this way of living saying it makes God a crutch. They would say that God helps those who help themselves. But the truth is that we are a people who need a crutch.The world, and even our own inner monologues often tells us that we have to save ourselves, that we cannot rely on God so we have to trust in ourselves, our own strength. The problem is that every time we follow this line of advice we end up in trouble. Some people have gone so far as to make even going to Heaven a work that man can accomplish in his own strength. Others following that advice of working their way to Heaven have worked their way right out of trusting Christ and into Hell. I had one man tell me that if in fact he could not get to Heaven on his own merits he was not going to rely upon someone else’s sacrifice to get him into the pearly gates. That man died and for all his labor he ended up with an eternity of torment.
When the Bible tells us to labor to enter into rest it is not talking about a list of do’s and don’ts but about laboring to build faith in the work of Christ in our lives and this is indeed a labor for the whole world is set against it:
The world tells us to work to get ahead. Christ says trust me and obey me and I will give you the life I intend for you to have.
The world says work hard and pay your own way. The Lord says trust me, pray and do the things I tell you to do and I will supply all your needs.
The world says do good works and God might be impressed enough to let you into Heaven. Jesus says come unto me and trust my work on the cross to save you and then you can rest from your labors.
In the end we have a choice about how to labor. Laboring in our own strength leads us to exhaustion and ultimately failure. Laboring to trust God and His way for our lives leads to rest and peace and ultimately success. It seems like a no-brainer to me but which will you choose?