It’s very important to understand what Scripture says about faith. Jesus declared, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
This is salvation, ceasing from your efforts to achieve salvation, trying to live a good life in your own strength, trusting instead in Christ and his accomplishment in his death and resurrection. As God says in Isaiah 30:15, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.” So faith is rest.
And yet Scripture also speaks of faith as effort. Hebrews 12:2 exhorts, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” 1 Timothy 6:12 commands, “Fight the good fight of faith.” This might seem at odds with the previous truth, but it is crucial to understand. We must realize our insufficiency for salvation, for living the Christian life, for doing what is good. And so we rest completely in Christ, trusting what he has done. But in doing that, we are empowered to live a life of righteousness in his strength. And so we not only rest—we also run, we strive, we fight. We fight against temptation. We resist negative thoughts, emotions and distractions. We exert ourselves to study and follow God’s word. We strive for love and joy. We fight for our marriage. We press on in perseverance.
Paul understood these two complementary truths when he wrote, “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (Colossians 1:9). David also realized this, exhorting,“Trust in the Lord and do good” (Psalm 37:4). Yes, we struggle, we fight, we do good, we press on, but it is all trusting in God and his strength.
So rest in the Lord, trusting in his sufficiency. Believe his promise that he will strengthen you for every good work. And press on today in his power.