The remedy for restlessness

But to the one who does not work, but believes… (Romans 4:5)

Many are restless because they are in two minds about the love of God. They are not convinced that God loves them and accepts them just as they are. They think they have to clean themselves or faith their way into the kingdom or something.

This is why we need a Biblical definition of faith: Faith is not work but a rest (Heb. 4:3). Faith is being persuaded that God is who he says he is, has done what he said he’s done, and will do what he has promised to do.

Abraham “was fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” (Rom 4:21). Faith is being fully persuaded. When you are fully persuaded, you can rest. The issue is settled. Your mind is made up and your heart is at ease.

As creatures of persuasion we are designed to operate from our convictions. Either you will be convinced that God loves you or you won’t be. If you’re not convinced, you will waver in indecision and stagger in unbelief.

If faith is a rest, unbelief is restlessness. It’s wandering in search of what God has already provided: “And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who believed not. So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief” (Heb. 3:18–19).

Restlessness is a sign that we are not yet fully persuaded that God loves us.

Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt 11:29).

In a world of heavy burdens, Mr. Grace comes offering rest. Unbelief says, “Leave me alone, I’m busy.” But faith responds, “Rest, you say? Yes, please!”

Breathe. Remember the gospel you heard.

The gospel is not an invitation to pick up tools, but to drop them (Heb. 4:10–11).

It’s not a job advertisement, but a holiday.

It’s not a day of work, but a day of rest.

Grace declares, “It is finished, the work is done,” and faith responds, “Thank you, Jesus!” Faith is not something you must do or manufacture. Faith is resting in the restful persuasion that God is at rest and in him so are we.

“Relax, everything’s going to be all right” (Jude 1:2, MSG).

Question of the week: Why did Paul say he might be disqualified?

Word of the week: Rest

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Categorized as Faith

By Paul Ellis

Author of award-winning commentaries


  1. Thanks, Paul!
    Things settled out for me when I defined faith as taking as fact that Jesus’s work makes me right with God. Then I no longer had to torture myself with constant thoughts of “I have faith, but do I have ENOUGH faith? I believe, but do I really really reeeeealy believe? Am I 100% committed? Is my all on the altar?” Sheesh. What a relief to be off that me-centered hamster wheel! So much better to simply focus on Jesus and ask, “Is it a fact that Jesus took away the sins of the world?”

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