“Do we really believe this or do we simply agree with it?”
The question was cautiously asked by Cynthia the “quiet one”, a devoted member of the weekly home fellowship group. The query related to the words of Matthew11:28 that had been keenly submitted in response to Oliver’s dejected admission that he was under a lot of pressure at work and not coping very well and that, as a Christian, he should be living in victory, having had this reinforced by Roger, the groups self-appointed “answer man”.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NIV.
Cynthia’s question hovered over the group as Roger predictably broke the silence with a well-rehearsed manner by giving reality a chance of being adequately presented and being of the opinion that others should humbly submit to spiritual wisdom. Unfortunately Roger did not always let biblical truth determine his opinions giving the frequent impression of a cruise missile out of control.
However, not all seated around the table were submissive to Roger’s tactless methods.
Gordon cleared his throat and with his characteristic, somewhat annoying drawl responded, “Hang on Roger, I believe Cynthia has raised an interesting point that needs to be unwrapped and discussed”.
Roger glanced at his watch and crossed his arms as Gordon continued.
“Wouldn’t we all agree that rest is something we all crave in a culture gone mad on business, a culture that has exchanged recreation for rest, that certainly sounds nice but are we being deceived? Jesus' way isn't necessarily easy. His call to discipleship isn't escapism. There is a difference between doing nothing and resting. There is a difference between being burdened and doing strenuous things. In a world where so many things we chase for gratification leave us depleted, Jesus is promising that when we take up our cross and follow him, he can give us rest -- that restorative, nurturing, and rekindling strength that gives us the power to face what life brings”.
Roger unfolded his arms and listened attentively as he watched Peter who was seated beside him skimming through the pages of his bible eventually landing in Hebrews chapter 4.
Peter with his angular face with sparse bristly white hair and thick glasses perched on an impressive nose began to speak.
“As we read in Hebrews chapter 4 I believe that entering into the rest of God isn't automatic, we have to believe, not just agree, just as it was with the Israelites that came out of Egypt. God intended not only to bring them out but to bring them into the land of promise, but it didn't happen because of their unbelief. They may have agreed that this was a good plan but they did not believe. God's Word never fails. It is eternal, and not one promise will fall to the ground. But for it to work for us, we have to believe it. God's Word has all power, but all that power will not be released until we believe it”.
Peter’s words were having an impact and the sheepish look on Roger’s face suggested that his mind was being challenged.
However, Peter wasn’t finished.
“A lot of emphasis seems to be given by many believers to God resting after the creation. God did not rest because of exhaustion but because everything was complete. There was nothing else to do. That's the way it is in our new birth. Jesus has already purchased salvation and all its benefits for us. It's already done. We don't have to pray and ask God to heal us or prosper us. It's already a done deal. We just need to rest in what has already been provided. We can reach a place where we aren't striving to get God to bless us but where we are resting by faith in what has already been done”.
These words generated an animated discussion and whilst they did not all comprehend Peter’s theology the home group recognised the need to commit to a better understanding of being equipped to enter God’s rest.
As was customary the evening concluded with a round table prayer time and much to everyone’s surprise Roger’s request for personal mind renewal left a lasting impression.
It is not by our own effort or works that we are saved and therefore equipped to enter into God’s rest, we are saved by grace.
Believe that we have the authority to claim and enter God’s rest.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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