Faith that Rests

This whole idea of "rest" had been a mystery for me in years gone by.. my thinking about it has gotten a bit less fuzzy in recent years. Recently I said this to a friend in an email message:
I think that when we are living from a simple faith.. believing that God is already in us (if we are spiritually reborn) and already working in us.. we (as it says in Hebrews) cease from our labors and enter into a rest filled faith that is no longer preoccupied by keeping the law.
Here is that scripture in the fourth chapter of Hebrews that I was referencing:
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.
I have found that I can really rest in faith when I embrace the idea that God is "already" in me and "already" working in me and through me. When I think about this whole idea of resting I think about another scripture in the second chapter of Philippians:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
It is a paradox of sorts because Paul instructs the Philippians to work but then says that it is really God who is doing the work. So what then is the work that Paul speaks of? What is the work that we should do? Another scripture comes to mind when I think about the kind of work we should be doing:
Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” [John 6:29]
Jesus speaks to this whole idea of works because much of Jewish tradition emphasized the "doing" of the law.. He says that the real work is simple belief and not religious performance.

So.. tying these things together.. I think that when we work the work of faith (i.e. believe in Jesus) we are at  rest because our work is all about believing that God is already working. Any actions that we have are simple responses to the voice of God that is already in us working (sometimes this feels like our conscience speaking to us). We do not have to worry about doing stuff.. we only need respond to the God that is already inside of us. It is not that hard if we can simply train ourselves to trust in the Lord that is in our hearts and to not lean on our own understanding.


  1. KB,

    I agree that there is a very spiritual concept that is sometimes tought to grasp with regard to the "we work/but God does the work" concept. Sometimes I get it...sometimes I don't.

    But I had always believed the passage to be talking about Jesus giving rest to our tortured and troubled souls, not rest from the actual "doing of stuff." After all, verse 29 goes on to say:

    Matthew 11:29
    Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

    For years, most of us labored to try to fill the void inside of us with wordly things only to end up frustrated and failing. And so when we find the rest Jesus offers, we are TRULY at rest.

  2. I hear you DK.. of course I agree that Jesus is speaking to an inner rest.. do you agree that an inner rest will produce an outer rest?

  3. Very well put.

    I think the subject of rest is hard for western christians, simply because we are geared to working at everything. Sabbath is a strange concept for many to grasp.

  4. Strange indeed,
    I think I see where you are going with this Bob.
    I think the "Rest" is the freedom that we experience from realizing that God does do the work and we are far less responsible or integral than our fallen souls want to believe.
    I believe there is outer rest as well as inner rest. When we are at peace, it shows(especially since the closer you walk with the Lord the more transparent you become) even when you are doing stuff.
    For me, that has meant being free from the religious responsibility I one though was key to my faith in God.
    Though I am pretty far from having it all together.

  5. I meant * once Thought* some how I am missing letters, so obviously I don't have it all together. :D

  6. KB asks: "do you agree that an inner rest will produce an outer rest?"

    Absolutely. We're in total agreement on your post.

    Our outer selves will eventually reflect what is happening on the inside. Even if someone who is not doing well spiritually is a good liar and can put on great front...eventually what is happening on the inside will be reflected on the outside (I mean...not that I would know from experience or anything).

    I could be wrong, but it would appear that you are talking about the difference between working "for" the Lord vs. working "in" the Lord. The former carries a mindset of duty, obligation, and a "work-for-salavation" mindset. The latter is the result of a gratefulness for our salvation and an understanding that Jesus' example of faithful service to the Father is our goal.

    I am glad that you mentioned that belief is real work. I've always found that maintaining a constant, unwaivering belief in Jesus was definately hard work.

  7. Hi DK.. about..

    "I could be wrong, but it would appear that you are talking about the difference between working "for" the Lord vs. working "in" the Lord."

    ..not really.. I am really talking about the Lord working in and through us. IMO "for" and "in" are things we "do" when we are leaving from our own understanding.. God working in/through us is a heart thing.. if that makes any sense?

  8. I'm pretty sure we're saying the same thing, just in different ways.

    If we are working "for" the Lord, we are relying on self. If we are working "in" the Lord, He is doing the work through us.

    The interesting thing is that from the outside, it might just look the same to those around us. I've found that sometimes it takes time for the fruit of our work (in this case, belief in Jesus) to be shown for what it is and on what it was cultivated. For instance, you and I could be doing the same things, saying the same things, repsonding in the same ways. But if you were relying on Christ, and I wasn't, no one would least for a while.

    It just goes to show that it's so incredibly important to have people in our lives on a deep and intimate level.

  9. I see what you are saying DK.. yet I wonder if sometimes God's working in us produces results that are spiritual yet non-religious in nature? On the flip-side maybe religious stuff results when we are doing it in the flesh?

  10. I believe so. God is still soveriegn over all of the goings on here on Earth so, yes, He can bring spiritual results from non-religious behavior and non-religious results from spiritual behavior. The entire account of Moses is riddled with this concept, as is the account of Joseph.

    Um...I can only think of one reason for Him to bring about non-religious results from spiritual behavior, and that's to help that spiritual person or someone else to grow in some area of his or her character. (YIKES!!!)


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