I want to spend a few minutes and talk about an experience that I had a couple years ago. It was one of the most difficult nights I have ever had. I was up late and unable to sleep. I was in the grips of anxiety and I couldn’t even tell you what about. It didn’t make any sense at all but the anxiety was almost overwhelming, gripping my chest, making it very hard to even breath. What confused me even more was that I’m not one that allows anxiety or issues get to me. Anxiety to me tends to be like a drop of water on a ducks back, it just rolls off. But this night I was struggling, I knew and had this overwhelming need to get into the presence of God. I know He is always with us, He will never leave us or forsake us; we are always in His presence, but there is a place where you can feel His presence in a very tangible way. It’s in that place that His peace and love overtake you and nothing the enemy has can stay. It was that place I was trying to get into. I spent all night, except for two hours between 5-7 am praying and trying to get there. Now this is extremely unusual for me, I can normally enter into that place pretty much instantly. Normally if I feel any feeling, emotion, or even sickness come upon me, I can focus on Jesus and His peace and love become very tangible to me and those feeling, emotions, or even the sicknesses leave. But that night the peace never seemed to come. Finally at 5 o’clock I was able to fall asleep.
The next morning I woke up around 7 because I had to get to work. I continued to talk to the Lord and ask Him why I was in such anxiety and even more important, why I was having so much trouble with it. I had come to the conclusion that this couldn’t have been a demonic attack, I’ve experienced a few of those and they can’t stay when you stand against them in the authority you have in Jesus. This felt different and I was starting to believe it was from God, I wasn’t in fear or wasn’t fearful, just anxiety and the feeling of being extremely anxious. After work I went upstairs and starting worshiping God and just talking to Him when He finally answered me. He said, “It is time my children learn to enter into my peace. They need to do whatever it takes until they can easily allow peace to rule and reign in their lives.” At that moment the anxiety instantly left. I then knew why I had been feeling the way I had, God was speaking to me and teaching me, and like most of the time, His lessons come with more than just words.
So, He said that we must learn to do whatever it took to enter into His peace.
For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
The amplified version says it this way.
For if Joshua had given them rest, He [God] would not speak afterward about another day.
9 So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God;
10 For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors [f]peculiarly His own.
11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience
This almost seems like a contradiction, struggling or striving to enter into rest. But this is the only time God tells us that we must strive. The reason is because it is a battle to enter into His rest; it’s a battle not really against even powers or principalities, but a battle with our own mind and our own religious beliefs that are formed out of our experiences or the teaching of others that don’t line up with scripture.
Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”
30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
When we don’t walk by the spirit but walk by sight, or according to the flesh, then the battle is on. The carnal mind is enmity against God and cannot know the things of God. When we look at what things look like around us instead of looking at things according to the word and promises of God, then we get into fear, doubt, and unbelief and we cannot walk in faith, and without faith we cannot receive anything from God. James 1:7&8 says that when we start doubting we are double minded and a double minded man cannot expect to receive anything from God. It’s not that God won’t give it to him; it’s just that we must appropriate everything by faith. God is not man that He should lie. If He said something or promised a thing than it will occur if we just don’t doubt. Because of doubt and unbelief that they would posses the land even though God had promised it to them, the Israelites didn’t enter the land but wandered in the desert for 40 years, most never seeing the promise fulfilled.
God showed me this truth this way. One day I was in my office talking to God when all of the sudden I was standing in a beautiful field with green grass. Jesus was standing beside me. He didn’t say a word but motioned for me to follow Him as He started walking across the field. We came to a small plant and Jesus pointed to it and immediately I heard the scripture in Genesis 1 that said that He made the fruit tree that would yield fruit according to it’s own kind. The plant was very young and no more than a foot tall, way to young or small to bear fruit. But I bent down, stretched out my hand and said, “produce according to your kind.” Immediately a large ripe fruit was in my hand. I was a little surprised to see the ripe fruit produced instantly from such an immature tree, and started thinking about the fig tree that wasn’t ready when Jesus went to get fruit from it. I wondered to myself, but it wasn’t time for this young tree to bear fruit, It was still years away. Again scriptures started coming in my mind but this time it was Jesus’ first miracle in Canaan.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”
4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
We aren’t given the details of how Jesus and His mother knew the bridegroom or the bride, but she was made aware that there was a problem. These wedding feasts could last up to 7 days and it was a great dishonor to run out of wine. Obviously Jesus’ mother Mary new this and was in a position to be concerned for the bridegroom. She was also in a position to tell the servants what to do. Anyway, she goes to Jesus with her concerns and He tells her that it’s not really His concern because it wasn’t His time. Evidently it wasn’t quite Jesus’ time to come on the scene with miracles, signs, and wonders. What happens next is really interesting. Mary seems to totally ignore what Jesus said to her and commence to tell the servants to do whatever He tells them to do. You see Mary had something we all must have. She had an intimate knowledge of her Son; she knew he was a man of compassion and that that compassion would compel Him to take action. It was compassion that caused Him to intervene on the behalf of people that didn’t even consider Him to be the messiah, to produce the fruit of Heaven even out of season.
In Genesis we read the creation story. How God spoke everything into existence. He spoke the water and the earth, then the plants then it was the fifth day. He then spoke the animals into existence on the sixth day and at the end of the sixth day He created man in His own image. He created man and then instructed him as the sixth day came to an end. Then on the seventh day God rested. He rested from all of His work; it was finished. One thing you need to see is that God didn’t make man until everything else was finished. He placed Adam on this earth with everything already in place. Everything he would need was there, he would want for nothing. Adam didn’t need to ask God for anything, God had already anticipated his every need and then provided for it. Adam just had to walk into the Sabbath rest with his Father.
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
In the same way God provided for Adam, He has provided for us through Jesus. Just as the Father finished His work on the sixth day then rested so that Adam’s needs were provided for so Jesus said it is finished on the cross so that all our needs are provided for. He knew what our needs would be long before we ever needed them we just rest in the fact that He will provide.
And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
If an earthly father desires to give his children what they need, then why do we think our Heavenly Father who loves us with an unconditional love, would give us something that would hurt us. This verse isn’t telling us that God desires to give us good gifts but we may just need to beg a little. That if we bombard the throne room of Heaven with enough prayers God will eventually answer. No, Holy Spirit is contrasting an earthly man with God. He is saying that our Heavenly Father knows what we need and will provide, and unlike an earthly man that you may have to beg or keeping banging on the door, God will answer you if you just believe.
That’s the key. We must believe that He loves us and that He would not withhold any good thing. Every promise of God is yes and amen. It is so because every promise has been answered through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Let’s put it this way. Let’s say you need a healing. Your sick, hurting, or have some disease. We’ll 1 Peter 2:24 says
who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
Jesus has already paid the price for your healing on the whipping post. He took the stripes on His back; flesh was torn from His bones so that you no longer have to suffer from disease, sickness, or pain. It has already been paid for by Jesus, you just have to receive it by faith. Now I realize some say that 1 Peter 2:24 is referring to spiritual healing and not physical. That may sound nice if your reading it through the eyes of what you already believe and you don’t believe healing is for today. But if you read it for what it is saying then you easily see it is referring to Isaiah 53:5. Isaiah 53:5 says:
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
I’m not going to take the time to go into it here, I will when we talk about God’s will to heal you, but if you study this out in the Hebrew then you can easily see that Isaiah was speaking about real physically healing of real physical pains and diseases. This is also shown in Matthew chapter 8 when they brought the sick and demon possessed to Jesus and He healed them all. It says that this was done to fulfill what was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah. We must learn to trust that God will do what He says He will. We also read that Romans 8:11 says:
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
If you are born again, accept the payment Jesus made on the cross for your sins and made Him Lord of your life, then His Spirit dwells in you. Matter of fact 1 Corinthians 6:17 says:
But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
And John 1:16 says:
And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
We that are born again have the same spirit as Jesus has. The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us and it does then it will quicken or give life to our mortal bodies. That means that the spirit of God that lives in us will heal our bodies. Then why aren’t all Christians healed all the times? Because just because Jesus has already paid the price for it and your healing has already been provided, you still must receive it by faith. We can never entertain thoughts that God hasn’t provided or that God is holding out on us. In Genesis 3 we read where Satan comes to Eve.
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” First of all Satan will come and try to get you to doubt what God has told you or promised you. He’s probably not going to come with some bold obvious contradiction to God’s word, but He will twist it slightly, just enough so that it looks like it’s saying the same thing God said but the end meaning will be entirely different. He will gradually try to confuse you as to what God’s word really says. As we read on in verse 2:
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Next Satan will try to convince you that God is holding out on you. He really doesn’t want you to be all you can be. He only wants you to enjoy life as long as it fits His plan and doesn’t really have your best interest at heart. He will try to get you to start doubting. First to doubt that you are who God says you are, that you are worth Jesus, and secondly to start to even doubt God. If Satan can get you to doubt, he will prevent you from walking in the authority and power a son of God is called to walk in, and prevent you from having the intimate relationship with God you were called to have.
14 And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic[c] and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
17 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Even the disciples had trouble with this. They had been told by Jesus that He had given them power of sickness, disease, and all devils. They had gone out and seen the sick healed and demons flea. They came back to Jesus excited that even the demons obeyed them. But somewhere along the way they began to doubt. Perhaps it was the chaotic image of a child thrown into the grips of a seizure, that caused them to begin to doubt, maybe it was something else we don’t know. What we do know is they tried to heal that boy and failed. We also know from the words of Jesus that it was because of their unbelief. It wasn’t a lack of faith, for even the least little bit of faith is adequate, it was doubt that caused them to give up. You see, faith says that God can do it, but doubt says yea but He may not do it for me. If your not receiving it’s probably not a faith problem, it more likely a doubt problem, and Jesus said that the only way this type of doubt will come out is by prayer and fasting. He is saying that if you want to rid yourself of doubt then you must spend time with Him, and the only agenda during that time is to get to Know Him. When you understand God’s true nature and the value He has placed on you, then you can’t doubt and all that is left is faith.
Everything in the Kingdom works by faith; and when we have this understanding that not only does God desire to provide for all our needs, but He has already provided for them through Jesus, then we can enter into that rest that is there when we know it is already done.
Let’s say you are a couple months late on your rent. The landlord is telling you to pay up now or your out. Then all the sudden someone comes up to you and gives you the money to pay your back rent and the rent for the rest of your life. Imagine how it feels to go and pay that debt off and know there is ample supply for whatever may come up later. Now remember that feeling because that is the rest we are to live in knowing that God has already provided for all our needs. Not based on your needs, but based on the finished work of the cross. We are to live in that rest, that knowing is called faith, and that knowing is what causes you to receive all that your Heavenly Father has freely given you through Jesus.