What does freedom mean?
If I told you that you were free to do anything you wanted, and money, time, and health weren’t a factor, there are plenty of things you’d probably say you’d want to do. Maybe you’d go on a series of fantastic vacations on every continent. Maybe you’d go on a shopping spree at all of your favorite stores. Maybe you’d play a game as the quarterback of your favorite football team.
One thing people typically never say is “nothing.” No one talks about getting a day off, even though what people often need most is a nap.
This is not a 21st-century thing. While we point to social media and readily available streaming content, and our insanely high caffeine intake, people have been trying to overachieve since biblical times.
The writer of Hebrews reminds people that we are indeed free in Christ, meaning that Jesus’ sacrifice and subsequent resurrection have eliminated the power of sin and death. It also means we are free from the laws that the Israelites had to follow to gain their righteousness, and this would have been exciting for those who heard the Gospel. The author is reminding those Hebrews he’s writing to, however, that there is indeed wisdom in God’s original instructions:
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” (NIV – Hebrews 4:9-11)
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. It would have been very exciting for those who lived under the restrictive nature of the laws of the day to no longer have to follow them, but what the author is highlighting is that the rule does not simply exist for the sake of itself. Indeed, some of these instructions should be followed to care for ourselves and others.
If I were to ask you to picture “the person God made you to be,” no one would describe a tried, burned-out person. So why do we try so hard for that exact image? The instruction to rest is for everyone, and so I ask you: are you resting? Do you have a certain amount of time set aside to reorient yourself around the truth of Jesus? Where could you implement that this week?