What Real Rest Looks Like

taking a look at what the Bible taught me about rest

My friend Renee has a great blog called Entering His Rest, and I can’t tell you how many times I read something on her blog only for the same theme to pop up in my life just days, weeks, or months later. Rest is a concept that God is continually talking to me about, and every time I think I’m good at resting I learn more and more about real rest.

On Wednesday morning I clicked on my YouVersion iPhone app, and by a twist of fate (i.e. because this was the last chapter I looked up) it opened to Hebrews 4 and these words: Promised Rest for God’s People.

Uhh… yes, please!

And because I then proceeded to highlight and bookmark the entire chapter, I’m just going to share it here. It’s a shortie, but a goodie.

God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. 2 For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. 3 For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said,

“In my anger I took an oath:
‘They will never enter my place of rest,’”

even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. 4 We know it is ready because of the place in the Scriptures where it mentions the seventh day: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5 But in the other passage God said, “They will never enter my place of rest.”

6 So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. 7 So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted:

“Today when you hear his voice,
don’t harden your hearts.”

8 Now if Joshua had succeeded in giving them this rest, God would not have spoken about another day of rest still to come. 9 So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. 10 For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. 11 So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.
Christ Is Our High Priest

14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

There’s a lot there. I think I’m going to be sitting with it for a while. One of my favorite takeaways is that God loves rest. He promises rest. And we can find it through Him, when we let go of all the silly hustle and bustle of this world and remember that it’s cool – Jesus has done it all. We are saved by grace, and we’re free.

What about you guys? Does anything stand out to you? Are you continually learning more and more about God’s great rest like me, or is it something you just “get” naturally.

Have a great weekend! A new dose of hope and memory verse card is coming tomorrow!


P.S. More good stuff here

Ann Voskamp shares Three Ways to Really Enter into His Rest Right Now

Original photo of Straw Hat by Kondo Yukihiro.  Text added by Stephanie Oh.



  1. In some ways, you might think that living through years of illness would make one a little wiser in terms of “rest.” But for me, I think maybe that’s precisely why it’s a hard concept for me to grasp–my body hasn’t known physical rest for years (maybe ever). I’ve only just begun sleeping in the last 6 months. I’m clearly not an expert in rest!

    But here’s what’s on my mind right now: There’s so much I can’t do because of weakness in my body, and yet I dare say that “not doing” is not the same as resting. Does that make any sense? I guess what I’m trying to say it that resting is not a matter of “doing things” (not resting) versus “not doing things” (resting) but rather a matter of “doing” versus “being.” Resting is more about *being* fully present to this moment of my life, not agonizing over the past or worrying over the future–regardless of what I’m actually “doing.” And maybe that’s why I find this passage so enlightening on the concept of rest. Here in Hebrews 4, “rest” is being used to describe our eternal life with God, which tells me that “rest” is about relationship. Because isn’t that what really makes eternity with God something worth having–the restoration of unadulterated relationship with Our Creator? So it makes sense, then, that the things which will bring us the most rest in our lives are the things that will bring us into deeper, more constant relationship with God. And Hebrews 4:16 seems to hammer that idea home. We’re talking about rest and the way to get there, is to lay ourselves right down at the throne of God and let Him offer grace and mercy and help for our journey.

    So I guess it turns out that rest doesn’t have to be elusive for any of us, no matter what state our bodies or our lives are in. It’s a matter of choice, I suppose. And not the once-for-all kind of choice but the day-in-day-out, make-it-again-and-again choice to seek Him and find the rest we so desperately long for.

    And, yet again, I win the “longest, most rambling comment” award! Thanks for giving my heart things to ponder–it’s a joy to share the journey on the narrow road with you, Friend.


    1. Courtney, we’ll gladly give you the award if you keep the great insights coming. 😉 I totally know what you mean and feel like the struggle with rest is something all of us who have gone through years of physical illness can relate to. Maybe that’s why we all tend to connect so well with each other – because we get it. I’m still learning how to make that daily choice to accept rest, and I’m glad He continues to patiently offer it to me. It’s a joy to share this journey with you, too!


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