Entering My Rest

While the promise to enter His rest remains, let us fear that none of you should miss it.  For we also have received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith.  Hebrews 4:1

The Israelites never entered the promised land because they stopped exercising their faith.  I can easily look back at their mistakes and think, “You blew it.  Why didn’t you trust God and go out on a limb?  Really?  After all the divine power you saw on display?  And, after such stunning displays of God’s faithfulness you still chose to doubt and disobey?” 

But then I wonder, am I doing any better today?  What I say I believe and what I’m willing to risk for ‘what I say I believe’ are two different things.  Believing isn’t enough.  Without exercising faith to prove it, I’ll never enter my rest either.  God is not pleased just because I say the right words.  The only thing that counts is whether or not I obey through faith.  “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6

What words of God don’t I follow up with action?  I’m not talking about the big things like going to the missionfield.  I’m referring to forgiving when I don’t feel like it, trusting God when I’m called to step into the dark, waiting for God’s answers instead of moving ahead with my own solutions, following God’s prompting to attend a small group when I am shy of the intimacy, trusting God with my children and not feeling the pressure to save them; these are the kinds of things that lead to blessing.  In every place I fear, I trust.

I can be eloquent in speaking of God’s ways but my words are just the empty clichés of a sage unless I support my words with personal stories.  Faith in action is what will be contagious.  Sermons given without the history of personal application are lifeless.  Listeners can tell the difference, too.  I recall what the crowd said after encountering Peter and John.  When they saw their courage and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.  Luke 4:13 

When I stop acting out of my flesh, trust you instead, oh – the stories I have to tell.  I get two things.  I see You move on my behalf and I get to experience rest from the turmoil.  Don’t let me live by my soulish defaults.  Amen

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