Faith Produces Rest
I hear vague snatches of the conversation behind me as I sip my iced coffee and look over my work. Two women sit together at a small black table, leaning toward each other in earnest dialogue. It doesn’t take me long to notice they are talking about the Lord.
“Don’t go by what you see. Don’t go by what you see”, The more vocal of the two responds to her friend’s concerned murmurs. She lowers her voice to an intense whisper, “Walk by faith.”
I’m here for several hours, and for almost the entire time the background noise as I work is the two of them behind me, talking of prayer, of their journeys with God, and of faith.
Walk by faith.
Truly walking by faith produces something beautiful in us: Rest.
To walk by faith is the key to Christian living, and one of the major topics of discussion in the book of Hebrews. This year’s juniors at New Tribes Bible Institute had the privilege of delving into this deep, theological book with Mike Sullivan as their professor. He spent a large portion of time covering the topic of faith rest in Hebrews. Here are a few statements he made about what it means to rest through daily walking by faith:
Faith Rest is Walking In:
1. “The confidence that God is all He says He is to me.”
Do we really believe God is who He says He is? Do we believe that He is good, powerful, wise, and loving towards us individually? Do we take everything we see about who He is in the Bible, and accept that He is those things to us as well?
2. “The conviction that I am fully accepted by God on the merits of Jesus Christ alone and I come to Him through His grace.”
How does this truth play out in our daily lives? Do we live confident that nothing we do or say can make us more or less acceptable to God, or do we live in fear that we will not be acceptable to Him if we don’t do well enough to stay on His “good side”? Do we truly live in a way that evidences our belief that what Jesus Christ did for us was enough? Or are we working hard to make ourselves good enough for God? An old hymn, “My Faith Has Found A Resting Place”, speaks of the simple rest that comes from being convinced of this truth. It says this: “My faith has found a resting place, not in device or creed. I trust the ever-living One, His wounds for me shall plead. I need no other argument, I need no other plea, It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.”
3. “The ceasing of my will and my works as I rest in the will and work of God.”
“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:9-10). On the seventh day of creation, bringing it to completion, God rested. Faith rest is rooted in the same concept – God completed all that needs to be done. No more striving to make ourselves better or working to be good so we can enter His presence. It is finished; we can rest.
4. “The companionship of the living God.”
Have you ever had a best friend? Have you ever felt deeply understood by and connected to someone? It is an amazing feeling to be loved, known, and to have someone stand by you in life. This is our God. He is the dearest companion your soul will ever know.
5. “The comprehension that obedience to His will is the most rewarding direction I can take with my life, regardless of the choices and difficulties I must face.”
At first glance, we don’t view obedience as freedom. But in reality, true freedom only comes through obedience to Christ. In his book “New Morning Mercies”, Paul David Tripp says this, “We were never hardwired to be free, if by ‘freedom’ we mean an independent, self-sufficient life. We were created by God to be connected to something vastly bigger than ourselves…God in grace doesn’t set you free, because he knows you wouldn’t be free. You and I would quickly enslave ourselves once again. His absolute rulership over every area of our lives is not a deadening law but a life-giving grace. He is freeing us from our slavery to what is not true and cannot deliver…It really is true – his call to obey is a tool of his rescuing grace.”
6. “The courage to walk with peace in an evil and fallen world because of the promises of God.”
We do not have to be crushed by the hurt and pain of this life. Though we will experience the effects of a fallen world, we can live in hope. There is more going on than meets the eye, and faith rest allows us to be courageous because of what God has promised, instead of trying to be strong on our own in the face of what we see.
7. “The conforming of my life to His righteousness through His Word and His Spirit.”
God has one main goal for our lives, and that is to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. We can trust Him to work towards this end in our lives. Holy living is not what makes us acceptable to God, but God desires holy living from us because we are acceptable to Him. We are His beloved children – secure, safe, and kept, and He wants us to act like it! He wants us follow the righteous example He has given us in our older brother, Jesus.
8. “The casting of all my cares upon Him because He cares for me.”
Are you struggling along under your burdens? Are you worried, anxious, and full of fear? Are you trying to figure out how you can “fix” problems you see in your life? Our God longs for us to share all our concerns with Him, to the point that we give them to Him and leave them in His hands. Only He can truly care for the issues we face.
9. “The consolation of the God of all comfort meeting me in the darkest moments of my life.”
If there is one thing that can console us in the most crushing moments of this life, it is this truth. The God of comfort is with us. In the grief, fear, disappointment, and hurt that we experience, let us draw near to our Lord and allow ourselves to be comforted by who He is, what He promises, and what is yet to come.
Faith rest is not something we can manufacture by our own human efforts. It is a posture of the heart that can only be found when we are looking at our Lord. As we keep our eyes on Him and believe Him, we will find ourselves entering this place of rest promised to us in the book of Hebrews.