Last fall I shared a sermon with my church from Hebrews 4:1-10, with verse 3 from that passage continuing to stick with me weeks later. The whole section in Hebrews 4 is a comparison between the New Testament Hebrew people and the Israelites who failed to enter the Promised Land because they did not take God at his word, that he would give them the land. Verse 3 then answers the question: if this rest is still available to us, how do we enter it?
“Now we who have believed enter that rest.” Hebrews 4:3
It is by faith that God’s rest is entered into. This is not only a Sabbath rest from work but also a salvation rest, leading to eternal rest. Rest in the Kingdom of God is approached only through faith. It is not merely abstaining from work, but rather seeing all of life with eyes of faith.
This insight surrounding rest has caused me to consider whether I approach other areas of life through faith or sight. It is quite possible to be a person of faith and not live by faith. I can believe in Jesus, trust in him for salvation, and yet navigate life by what I can see, touch, feel, and understand. Living by faith has prompted several questions for me:
- How might I approach parenting my kids by faith instead of sight?
- What does it look like to engage with God’s Word by faith instead of sight?
- Can I approach conversations with people differently if I’m navigating them by faith instead of sight?
One of the shifts I’ve been trying to emphasize is Sunday morning. As a pastor my Sunday mornings are tied up with leading the church in worship, in prayer, and often in opening God’s Word to teach from it. I love the gathering of God’s church. It’s always a high point of my week. But Sundays are relentless. They keep coming. Just as one finishes, planning for the next one begins.
As with anything routine, it’s easy for me to approach the Sunday morning church gathering time as just another week, no big deal. But here’s the reality of the church gathering on Sundays: they’re a war-zone. God’s Word is clear that the enemy “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1st Peter 5). Paul also reminds us that our battle often takes place in what is unseen (Eph. 6).
Eyes of faith help us to see and understand that anytime there is an effort to worship, glorify, and submit to God, the enemy will be prowling, seeking to thwart those plans. Satan desires that our pursuit of God would be incomplete, fake, and impotent. Jesus desires that we might see the transforming power of God’s presence in our midst, made possible through His sacrifice and unending life.