Reading this verse was like being awakened with a bucket of ice water in the face.
For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe). For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest…
Hebrews 4:2-3a Amplified (emphasis mine)
The Gospel of God is of no benefit to me or you or anyone if we merely hear it. Belief and faith are the keys to accessing this miraculous “deliverance from bondage.” I can read the Bible all day long, but if I don’t have faith in God or believe in Him, then it doesn’t “benefit” me. Unbelief kept the Israelites out of the Promised Land, and it will keep me from entering the rest.
On that note, I just read John G. Lake on Healing, and God is using Lake both to convict me of unbelief and to open my eyes to God’s power in a whole new way. Lake talks about the explosive result of faith mixed with God’s Word. It’s as if faith is a catalyst, igniting the power of God as directed by the Holy Spirit through His Word. How amazing is that?!
So, as I choose to believe, I will believe. In order to enter the rest, I must believe, “adhere to and trust in and rely on God.” Faith – “leaning the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness” – follows my entering the rest. In the rest, it is the faith of Christ Himself at work in my life. And faith mixed with the Gospel ignites the power of God and opens the door to every promise He gives me. To borrow a priceless reaction from Keanu Reeves in The Matrix: “Whoa!”
The power of God is blocked by my unbelief. In every area of my life that I have unbelief, God will not move – because my unbelief is just the result of my “no” to Him. God does not violate my free will, my choice to say “yes” or “no” to Him every moment of my life. As I said before, this is a relationship, and I absolutely have a say.
I don’t want to die in the wilderness. I want the wilderness to serve God’s purpose in my life, so I choose to thank Him for it. I embrace this wilderness and bless the breaking of my strength and effort. I want to see my Father’s power miraculously displayed. Why be a fool for Christ without the promised fireworks?
I choose to believe that my God is exactly who He says He is, and I’m so grateful that He attacks my loves and comforts, exposing every idolatrous crutch as the mirage it is.
Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us
at the proper time.
Hebrews 4:16 HCSB