Let us make every effort to enter that rest
Hebrews 4:11-13 (NIV) Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
The author of Hebrews compared our spiritual journey to that of the Jews making their way to the Promised Land. He reminded the Hebrews that they were promised a place of rest, but many never made it. We, too, are promised a place of rest from our efforts to be made right with God. If we place our trust in Jesus' work in our place, we no longer strive to please God by keeping rules.
It is a strange paradox that we make every effort to enter that rest. What is the effort against? The author points to two things, unbelief (3:19) and disobedience to the voice of God (4:6). Our sinful nature leans toward unbelief and disobedience, and we must make every effort to keep from sliding in that direction. When we see the historical examples and examples in lives around us of the devastation of unbelief and disobedience, we should let it remind us that going in that direction is utterly destructive. Make every effort to stand firm in your faith and obey the voice of God today.
Next, the writer tells us that the Word of God is a living and active thing. It is not just words from long ago. We share it with others, but as we do, it speaks to us. Those stories we read are God's voice to us today. It examines the thoughts and attitudes of our heart. Make every effort to hear and receive what is being said, mixing it with faith that results in action.
The language of the last verse implies that we must look straight into the eyes of God as He examines the very depths of our soul. He sees it all. There is no fooling Him. All the more reason to listen to and obey what the Word of God is speaking to your heart today.
Consider: Are you listening to the living Word today?