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Disciplines of Rest: Faith


Faith is widely discussed—and frequently misunderstood. Some preachers proclaim that faith is synonymous with positive thinking. If we have good thoughts, good things will happen. Others turn faith into a mantra. They believe that we merely need to say something in order for it to be so, implying that our words have the power to manipulate our circumstances. The Bible defines faith as trust. To have faith in God is to trust in Him.

Psalm 91 describes the rest available to one who has learned to trust in God. The psalm’s emphasis is not on what the believer must do but on what God does for the person who trusts in Him. The psalmist describes a range of terrifying threats including pestilence, plagues, enemies, wild animals, and divine judgment on the wicked. No matter the foe, God will protect those who take refuge in Him.

This psalm had special significance for Jesus. Satan quoted verses 11 and 12 during the temptation, attempting to persuade Jesus to leap from the highest point of the temple. Jesus refused the presumption of such an act (see Matt. 4:6–7). Faith is not an attempt to back God into a corner and force Him to do what we want. It is a quiet reliance on God—His methods and His timing.

Faith is the gateway to salvation. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8). But faith is also a way of life. To live by faith is to take God at His word and let His promises shape our actions. Those who live by faith rely on Jesus Christ for their righteousness. They depend on His power for daily living. They trust in His promises for their future. No matter the circumstances, they know that God is for them. He will bring them safely to His desired destination.

Apply the Word

Are you facing a difficult situation today? Perhaps you are having trouble at work, struggling with an illness, or concerned about a financial matter. Trusting in God will not make your problems magically disappear, but it will enable you to experience rest in the midst of the storm. God is your refuge. Find rest in His strength.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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