Strive to Enter His Rest
by Leah De Salles Rodriquez
“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:11 (ESV)
I’m someone who tends to strive. Even saying that makes me sigh heavily after the admission, but it’s true. No matter what it is, when I’m tasked with something, I strive. Whether it’s becoming a stepparent, cleaning the house, or accomplishing something for work, shoot… I’m striving now!
God, in His mercy, spoke to me clearly one morning, “There is no striving in My grace.” Obviously, I’ve been doing something wrong, and in His tenderness, my Daddy wants me to knock it off.
1. to exert oneself vigorously; try hard: He strove to make himself understood.
2. to make strenuous efforts toward any goal: to strive for success.
3. to contend in opposition, battle, or any conflict; compete.
4. to struggle vigorously, as in opposition or resistance: to strive against fate.
5. to rival; vie.
Wait…what? Do you see the shift? It starts as this commendable trait – “to exert oneself vigorously, try hard”. “To make strenuous efforts toward any goal”… yeah! That’s right. But then, the same word turns into, “To contend in opposition, to struggle vigorously and…rival”?!
If we aren’t careful, “striving” goes from being pleasing to the Lord to being displeasing. Lines are blurred, especially when culture encourages going harder, faster, and longer. There are many places in scripture where the reader is encouraged to strive. Here are a few:
- “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:24 (NKJV)
- “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me,” Romans 15:30 (NKJV)
- “This being so, I myself always strive to have conscience without offense toward God and men.” Acts 24:16 (NKJV)
There are also scriptures where striving is a negative thing. Here, also, are a few:
- “Woe to him who strives with Him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots!” Isaiah 45:9a (ESV)
- “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 1:14 (ESV)
- “…those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish.” Isaiah 41:11b (ESV)
I have come to understand that the desire of my heart is to do well. Who doesn’t want to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”? When I first came to Katie Souza Ministries they called it, “having a spirit of excellence”. Whew. That’s a nice cover for my drive! But the truth is that God was calling me to enter into His rest and trust Him. I’m ever learning to be responsible for only what I am responsible for. “There is no striving in My grace.” My grace.
Sitting in the backyard one evening, repenting for my lack of understanding and striving gone bad, I took a deep breath and contemplated how I could switch gears and “enter into His rest”, even in my works. Looking at the beautiful Arizona sky, I heard Him say, “Now… delight”. Delight? Ah… delight. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (ESV) If I can become someone who delights (def. a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy) in my tasks at hand and trusts (def. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, of a person or thing [God] ) then I should, by all means, be able to do well. Quite well, indeed.
What is something that you’ve been striving in? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
When you hear the word “striving”, does it have positive or negative connotations? Why?
What is one thing you think you can do differently to strive according to God’s will?
Share your thoughts with us…
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