Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
Last week we talked about entering into God’s rest. There is a process that we must undertake to achieve this, as it doesn’t just happen by itself.
In the passage above Paul warns us of several sins to watch out for, which I underlined and highlighted in red. These are but two of the many sins which we can be ensnared with and thus never enter into the rest that we all long for.
Think about it. If we are bitter towards anyone for any reason there is certainly no rest in our souls. We can do the Texas Two-step telling ourselves that we’re really not that bitter, that the person we’re bitter towards is a real jerk, that what they did justifies our bitterness. If we think like this we never and I mean never enter into the rest that God wants for us. We will be restless and without peace.
I remember when I first became spirit filled 37 years ago. A friend of mine was in AA and he gave me the AA book to read, that outlines the “steps,” he was putting into daily practice.
One of them was to take inventory of ourselves, which meant that we were to make sure there was no bitterness, resentment, hatred, or anything else within us toward anyone. For the alcoholic these emotions can act as a trigger and bring about the desire to drink oneself into oblivion because of the ongoing pain these thoughts can cause.
Resting in the Lord, achieving His rest, is attainable but we have to do our part. How can we enter into His rest if we are fiddling with adultery? (The second underlined and highlighted sin above.) How can we find rest if we are addicted to porn, or lusting after every woman we see? How can a married woman find peace if she is flirting with another man? In short, it’s impossible.
We have to take inventory and keep every thought accountable.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
In this verse from Hebrews we see that our discernment, our ability to distinguish right from wrong, good from evil, is TRAINED by constant practice. In other words as we are faced with a situation we bring it to the word of God. We check it against scripture. If we walk this way and keep inventory over our thoughts and emotions we can enter into His rest. We can know peace. We can find rest for our souls.
Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. When we ask Him into our hearts it is the beginning of finding His rest, His peace that passes understanding.