Devotional: Applying the Bible to my today.
Read: Hebrews 4
My husband often shares this wonderful analogy involving an egg, carrot and tea (some great philosopher may have given this analogy first, but since I've only heard my husband say it, I will give him credit).
If exposed to boiling water...
When all three items are exposed to the same environment, a boiling pot of water, they are all impacted, but only the tea makes a difference to that which surrounds it. Such are our hearts at times.
Much of what goes on in this world - in our homes, communities, schools, churches, jobs - will have an impact on us... sometimes our experiences are good, but at times they expose us to the pot of boiling water.
Thankfully, the Word of God never leaves us without hope; the text regarding the improperly conditioned heart leads right into Hebrews 4 beautifully noting we do NOT have to be in this distress because there is "rest". Most children will fight off the mere mention of rest, but for those of us in adulthood that have been in the boiling pot for quite some time - rest sounds utopian, and it is a key to being the tea rather than the carrot or egg. Let's look at 3 types of rest exemplified for us in this text.
1. Rest and satisfaction with one's work (vs. 3-4, 8-10). On the 7th day God rested from His work. The Bible never says He rested because He was tired; in fact, it doesn't even mention Him sitting idle. It instead states that He blessed and sanctified the 7th day (Genesis 2:3), and just before the 7th day began, Genesis 1:31 states, "God saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good." He had satisfaction in His work. Is it possible we can enter into this same rest? I encourage you to look around at the opportunities God has provided and given the courage to uphold, and simply take rest in His faithfulness and our willingness to endure and obey. The results of our willingness may not appear today, but it will come.
2. Rest of deliverance (vs. 14-16). Drawing near to the Lord will provide us rest as we realize He is a God who can sympathize because through Jesus, He too was fully human and experienced temptation, loss, hurtful words and betrayal. And through this same Jesus, God provided us grace and deliverance. It is an amazing story of sacrifice and mercy. God knew, when He put Jesus on the cross, how dark our hearts would be, yet He loved us so much (and because He had vision for who we can become) that He made the sacrifice.
3. Rest of salvation and a life of eternity. This is not specifically mentioned in Hebrews 4, but it is the message of the entire Bible. We can rest in the assurance that God has made a way for us to enter into a place of perfect peace. It is hard to imagine what that may be like! Because of this promise, we don't have a reason to fear even death.
We can protect ourselves from creating a heart that is too hard or too soft by entering into God's rest that He created for us. If we allow our hearts to be molded and shaped by the world - we become blinded. When our hearts are at rest and properly conditioned, we are more at ease and able to see opportunities, allowing Him to work through us to change the world.
Father God, I pray today that You will see our hearts and help us identify the areas in which we have become too hard or too soft. I so desire for my heart to be compassionate and even angry about the things in which You are compassionate and angry - but I also want to be in Your rest so that I can be most effective for whatever opportunities You put before me. I do not want to be blinded by a heart that has been molded and shaped by the world rather than by You. Praise be to Your name that such a rest exists! Amen.