I had a very dramatic conversion, an encounter with Jesus that changed the direction of my life. He healed me of a 40 cigarette a day addiction in three days with no withdrawal. He spoke to me. And as I responded, I saw miracles happen.
But as I became aware of His holiness and my own shortcomings, I tried harder and harder to measure up. It just made me miserable.
Then one day He spoke to me and said something that really shocked me.
“The only way that you’ll please Me is by stopping trying to please Me.”
It took about two years to understand what He meant.
I finally realised that my efforts to measure up to His standards meant that I did not believe that His work on the Cross was complete. He showed me that the Ten Commandments were given to us to show us our sin (Romans 3:20, 5:20, 7:13) and that He had “measured up” in our place and then had paid the price for our failure.
My very efforts to measure up were a denial of His finished work and were nothing more nor less than unbelief, the opposite of faith. And without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6)!
The book of Hebrews has a lot to say about faith and talks about it in part as an entry into rest. If I really believe Jesus’ cry of “It is finished” I will rest in the finished work of the Cross, ready to respond to any spoken word of His.
A failure to trust the Cross is unbelief.
And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.(Hebrews 3:18-19 NASB)
For an attempt to “measure up” results in dead works (Hebrews 6:1).
For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. (Hebrews 4:10 NASB)
But my response to His living voice will result in the good works that He has prepared for me to walk in (Ephesians 2:10).
And that response is an act of faith (Romans 1017)!