Does the phrase, “I’m trying to believe!” sound familiar? I’ve said it myself, many times, until I realized that faith is not something we have to “try” to do. It’s a simple choice. And as we learn about faith’s expressions or characteristics, we will be able to recognize whether we’re really operating in faith or not. A calm, peaceful disposition is a good sign of one who is in faith. The opposite of that would be one who is stressed out, worried, and unsettled. “Trying” to have faith becomes stressful.
Hebrews 3:18-19 shows us that the children of Israel could not enter into rest (the promise land) because of their unbelief. Then the subject continues in chapter 4:
(2) “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (3) For we which have believed do enter into rest…”
(9) “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (10) For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.(11) Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
A couple of the definitions of rest are:
-“Mental or spiritual calm; tranquility.”
-“To be at ease; have tranquility or peace.”
We have to go beyond just hearing the gospel and the preaching of the word of God; we’ve got to believe it. And learn from the example of the children of Israel. Only one thing kept them from entering the promise land, the land of rest. It was unbelief. They refused to believe without at least one of their other five senses being involved. Even though God proved Himself faithful time and time again.
Obviously experiencing miracles alone is not enough to keep us in faith. The Israelites saw plenty of incredible miracles. But a little while after each one, when things didn’t look so good, they complained, blamed God, and just forgot how they got to where they are. We’ve got to keep reminding ourselves of the Word of God and the things God has brought us through. We have to cease from striving, trying to earn our own way into that place of peace and right standing with God, and just believe that He did the work for us (“…the punishment for our peace was on Him…”). When we truly believe and receive that, as well as all that the word of God says belongs to us, we will be overwhelmed with peace, calmness and rest.
I have learned many valuable life lessons from the Lord in my tennis matches. One of the latest lessons is learning to stay calm in tiebreakers. It’s very challenging to not get all tensed up and anxious, which causes lots of mistakes. Now, I take deep breaths and whisper to myself, “I let the peace of God rule in my heart.” (Colossians 3:15a), and in doing that I am able to play my best, because I BELIEVE I can. Peace is the proof, the expression of faith.