Maybe you’ve been very tired; even exhausted. The present situation has taken a toll on you, not just physically, but possibly you’ve been emotionally drained. This new way of life has brought enormous stress to our lives.
We all are in need of rest. Jesus offers a type of rest that is unlike any that that world knows of. For that rest, we read in Matthew 11:28:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-30, ESV
This passage happens to be one of my favorites. It is an invitation like no other. It is an invitation to rest.
The context is about revelation. Jesus states that the Father alone reveals the Son to whomever He wills. And those who are willing to receive such revelation are given “rest for their souls.” This type of rest is of a spiritual nature. Maybe it is like what is spoken of in Psalm 23:
“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”Psalm 23:2-3, ESV
So the type of rest that Jesus offers is of a whole different order. It is the peace of mind that knows God is in control; that He is sovereign and that He is working things out around you, even when circumstances would indicate otherwise.
In order to experience this rest, there are actions things that must arise from a genuine encounter with God. First, there is faith. This is a whole-hearted trust in the Lord. It is giving Him your life. It means that you know longer live for yourself, but you live for Jesus Christ.
The second action is repentance. This means a change of heart and mind. Included in repentance is a deep conviction that you are remorse for the ways in which you have offended God. And the definition of sin, according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism is “…any transgression against the moral law of God.” God invites you to come to Him, confess and turn from your sins and receive His forgiveness.
God makes a similar invitation in the book of Isaiah:
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”Isaiah 55:6-7, ESV
Jesus said: “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” The yoke was a piece of wood laid upon the shoulders of a team of oxen. It kept the animals moving in the same direction and forced them to pull at the same pace. Unlike the other “yokes,” of His day, Jesus said that His “…yoke is easy… .” The Apostle John agreed in his first epistle:
1 John 5:3, ESV
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
In the present crisis, it is easy to get overwhelmed. But now is a tremendous opportunity to slow down and consider your spiritual health and the need to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that you will make that decision today. All other decisions are earthly in nature. But this particular decision is eternal. There’s no better time than today to trust Jesus Christ.
One thought on “True Rest”
Thank you David for these reminders in this special time of need. We greatly miss not being able to join with you in praise and song at Central. You give such great sermons. I include you and your ministry in my prayers each day.