My son and I spent a few days with friends at their home in the beautiful northern region of New England in the US. Our visit followed my ninth consecutive year of fruitful but intense ministry in East Africa. Depleted and in need of recharging, I was grateful for the physical rest my friends’ hospitality provided.

Ultimately though, it was the spiritual refreshment I experienced that did the most to renew my heart, mind, and strength. As my host Michelle and I dug into Hebrews 4 together, she encouraged me to meditate on the passage and to reflect on the rest, wisdom, comfort, and direction that are offered through Jesus alone.

I was particularly struck by verses 1-6, which explain how God’s promises of rest still stand. This rest has been prepared since He made the world. We have proof God cares about rest because He Himself rested on the seventh day; and God’s rest is available for people to enter.

Yet “even though this rest has been ready since he made the world” (Hebrews 4:3), the writer of Hebrews declares that many fail to enter into spiritual rest because of faithless hearts that refuse to believe God created rest for His people and because we disobey God, as the people of Israel did (Hebrews 4:1-3,11).

While physical rest can be obtained in many ways, spiritual rest can only be achieved through faith in Christ. The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to “do our best to enter that rest” He’s provided for us (Hebrews 4:11). Those with hardened hearts toward God won’t experience His rest (Hebrews 4:3,7). But those with hearts softened to Him and His Word, who listen to His voice, and who place their faith in Him will experience the peace and restoration only He can offer.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 2:1-20