Most people look forward to the weekends and holidays because it means that they are finally going to get to do something other than work. Weekends and holidays often represent rest and relaxation from the weariness caused by a week of labor and toil. And because of this, many decades ago someone coined the phrase, “Thank God it’s Friday!”
The dictionary defines labor as: Productive activity, especially for the sake of economic gain. And it defines rest as: Refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion and labor.
These definitions make perfect sense to me, as I am sure they do to you. But for some reason, when it comes to spiritual things, especially in relation to receiving a manifestation of those things that God has promised in His Word, very few believers are interested in the labor part, only the rest part. And that is exactly why most Christians never experience a manifestation of the things God has promised them in His Word.
So let’s look at what the Bible says about these things, and I believe that I will be able to help you arrive at a time of rest. That is, if you will allow me to involve you in the productive labor that must come first.
“Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”Hebrews 4:11 KJV
Labor precedes rest, not the other way around. However, never mistake laziness for rest, as one is the enemy of the other. They are often mistaken for being similar when nothing could be further from the truth. I say this because when it comes to spiritual matters many people are lazy, and so in their lives laziness replaces labor, which in turn prevents them from ever entering the rest of God. Laziness is a thief and a destroyer, while rest is a blessing from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Before I further deal with the rest that God desires for us to enter into, I must first discuss with you the issue of the labor required for you to enter His rest.
First, you must understand that labor is not a negative thing at all. It is actually the vehicle that is taking you to your destination. So don’t make labor your enemy or you will live a very empty and disappointing life.
So then when it comes to spiritual matters and our walk with Jesus, what exactly is this labor that the verse above is referring to? To answer that question let’s take a close look at another verse below.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
Studying the Word of God to find the answers to your life, and the promises of God to change your circumstances is work. It’s labor. And again I must point out to you that it is the only vehicle that gets you to the place of enjoying God’s rest in your life.
Because studying the Word of God is considered labor by the Holy Spirit, may provide an explanation as to why so few Christians want anything to do with it. Sadly, they would just as soon settle for the misery that the devil has brought into their life than to pay the price of laboring in the Word of God to get His promises and His plans deeply rooted into their heart. Without which, I might add, they will never enter God’s rest.
The statistics of Christians who never read their Bible is staggering. In fact, the national stats regarding reading in general are shocking. More than 33% of adults never read another book the remainder of their life once they leave high school. What really surprised me was that with college graduates the percentage of individuals who never read another book is 42%. That is just unbelievable to me.
And here are some additional disturbing stats. The number of U.S. families who have not purchased a single book in the past year is 80%. And the number of adults who have not been to a bookstore in the past five years, which would include Christian bookstores I might add, is over 70%.
Now the reason I included these statistics is because most Christians are as bad or even worse in refusing to buy and read the necessary resources to accompany their own personal Bible study, (if they even have a personal Bible study). A study, that if it did take place, would elevate their lives and upgrade them in every area.
And what’s more, is that far too many Christians won’t even put themselves through the labor of getting themselves up and dressed to get to their own local church to hear God’s Word ministered to them more than once a week, if even that often. So then it goes without saying why it is that most Christians have never entered God’s rest.
So let’s take a moment to focus on some Christians stats of American believers who attend church consistently, regarding Bible reading. Less than 45% of Christians who attend church consistently read their Bible more than once a week (not as part of a church worship service). More than 40% of those who attend church consistently only read their Bible occasionally, usually only once or twice a month. And about 20% of Christians who attend church consistently never read their Bible at all.
You see when you labor in the Word of God to gain an understanding of God’s promises and become rooted in them, it provides rest for your soul. In other words, this rest that is available means that you are now able to live free from stress, worry, fear and anxiety, even in the middle of the worst circumstances of life.
When you release your faith for what God has promised you in His Word, God’s rest prevents you from growing weary and fainting in your mind while you are waiting for the manifestation. But if there has been no labor, there will be no rest, and likely no manifestation either. So labor to enter into God’s rest.