Striving and Resting

This pastoral passage was first written for LRBC on March 29 2015.

A while back I wrote about how our obedience to God is a proof that our faith is genuine (from 1John 2:3-6). This may have sounded like more of a burden than is warranted in the Christian faith. Sometimes Scripture challenges complacency to ensure that we really are one of Christ’s people and not merely someone who has become part of a church community without knowing God for ourselves. Places like Matt. 3:7-10; 7:21-23; 25:1-13;  2 Cor. 13:5; Heb. 4:1-2; 1 Jn. 2:5-10 come to my mind that illustrate this.

But at other times in Scripture we are assured that we can have confidence and peace as we rest in the finished work of Christ and the steadfast love that God our Father has for us. Keeping our conversation in 1John, let us consider John’s words that follow his challenge to complacency: 1Jn 2:12-14. In these verses John reassures his readers – and us – of the confidence he has of their faith. We are people whose sins are forgiven and who know the Father. We are people who have overcome the Evil One; we are strong on account of God’s word holding place in our hearts, leaving no room for love of the world. We are people who know the Son of God – the eternal and unknown one who has made himself known to us.

These are the blessings Christians possess. The Apostle wants us to strive to make our faith certain, and so we are challenged to live consistently with our confession. But he also wants us to relax and be confident in who we are as God’s children. In Christian spirituality there is a place for striving, and a place for resting. Each one has its vital place. What place does each have in you?