This post has been adapted from the chapter, “Lie #7: God Can Set Others Free from Pornography Addiction, but Not Me,” in my new book, 10 Lies Men Believe about Porn. This post is part 4 in an 8-week series on life-changing faith. If you would like to begin at part 1, you can do that here.
When you are burnt out and exhausted, there is nothing that feels better than rest. It’s the only thing that can recharge you. Jesus understood this deep desire for rest within us, which is why He frequently combined His offer of life with the promise of rest:
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
Jesus clearly promised rest for all who follow Him, so why are so many of us burning out? Why are we exhausting ourselves trying to live moral lives but still going nowhere?
To answer that question, let’s take a look at Hebrews 4:1–2:
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. 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 (Hebrews 4:1–2).
The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that God’s offer of rest is still good. The reason some who were professing faith in Christ hadn’t experienced it was because they didn’t actually trust what Jesus had done for them. They said they had faith in Him, but their actions proved otherwise. They weren’t experiencing rest because they wouldn’t stop working to earn their salvation.
A few verses later, we see how fully believing in Jesus really does lead to rest:
All who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world (Hebrews 4:10).
In order to experience God’s rest, you must trust Jesus when He says there is no work left to do in regard to your salvation. You must believe that it really is finished. Hang up your hat, sit down with Jesus, and rest in the fact that He has already completed the work for you.
To further clarify this, let’s look at a few behaviors that may expose a belief that there is still work left for us to do:
- Do you keep asking for forgiveness every time you sin? Could that be a sign that you don’t believe Jesus when He says all your sins were forgiven at the time of His death? If you don’t believe your sins are already forgiven, you will keep trying to earn more forgiveness.
- Are you going to confession to seek restoration from a priest? What does that say about your trust that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man, or your ability to have access to the throne of God? If you don’t believe you can speak directly with Jesus, you will seek out religious rituals in order to feel spiritual.
- Do you keep making promises to God to become a better person? Is that a sign that you don’t really believe you have been transformed into a new creation? If you don’t believe you are already a new creation, you will keep trying to change yourself.
All of these actions expose a belief that Jesus needs your help to save you. There is still work to be done. But no matter how hard you try to contribute, these things will never work. And as long as you keep chasing after them, you will never be able to rest.
The only thing that will provide rest is to trust that every word Jesus said was true—even for you. Trust that your salvation is secure and rest in the fact that the work is done.
Only we who believe can enter his rest (Hebrews 4:3).