I am weary.
I’m weary at my own physical health. I’m weary when I look around and see all the pain and sin in this world. I’m weary as I think of church family who have suffered major losses recently.
I know that more than likely some of you are weary as well, for one reason or another.
Matthew 11:28 has always been one of my favorites. It’s one of those verses that makes me feel instantly peaceful, sheltered and protected.
The entire passage says this: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Rest from the Bondage of Sin
That is the most amazing part of this promise. Forgiveness from sin. Freedom from guilt and condemnation. Restored fellowship with Almighty God. You will find rest for your souls.
God offers rest from the bondage of sin. I have talked to so many people who think that the Christian walk is a list of rules and it’s hard and demanding. It’s not. 1 John 5:3 tells us that His commands are not burdensome. Sin, on the other hand, is a harsh taskmaster. As someone once said, “it will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost more than you ever thought you’d pay.” The wages of sin is death, but Christ offers life. He can and will set you free from the bondage of sin.
It’s true that God doesn’t call us easy and comfortable. But He does promise us rest.
Rest from worldly expectations
Jesus was battling pharisees who had added to the laws of God. They had added new and stricter laws, while forsaking the spirit of God’s actual commands. We still have pharisees. We have people who hold to legalistic standards and try to push them onto everyone else. We live in a world where we’re told that a woman should be everything to everybody. We battle perfectionism and set impossible standards for ourselves and live in a constant state of guilt when we fall short.
We will always fall short. God’s ways are better. He has a plan for us, and when we release the world’s expectations and grab onto His instead, He will give us the energy and time (and rest) that we need to accomplish His will.
The problem arises when we buy into the world’s idea of success. We do a few things that are God’s will for us. Then we add a few more because of personal ambitions we’re holding onto. We add a few more because of expectations (and sometimes guilt heaped on us) from other people.
Pretty soon, our plates are piled way too high.
It might seem too simplistic, but God’s ways aren’t complex. If we just focus on submitting to the Lord and obeying Him, we can be free from worldly expectations. Success isn’t dependent upon us, and that is a very freeing truth when you really let it sink in. The Lord calls us to obedience, not results.
And He doesn’t call us to do everything.
Rest from Worries
Ahh, few things are more draining and exhausting than living with worry and anxiety. But we don’t have to do that. We don’t have to live with worry, and in fact some may go so far as to say that worry is, at least in some cases, sinful.
I was reading My Utmost for His Highest last summer and came across this devotion about worry. In it, he says, “Fretting rises from our determination to have our own way. Our Lord never worried and was never anxious, because His purpose was never to accomplish His own plans but to fulfill God’s plans.”
Boom! Worry rises from our determination to have our own way.
I had never thought about it that way before, but it’s so true. The reason we worry is because we want a particular outcome more than we want God’s will.
When we can surrender our will to His, and trust Him, then He gives us complete rest from our worries because we can rest in Him and trust in Him and His perfect will.
True Rest is only found in Him
The thing about this rest is that we have to rest in Him. There is no other way to get it. This world offers so many things. Caedmon’s Call (a contemporary Christian band) had a song that said this:
“This world has nothing for me
and this world has everything
all that I could want and
nothing that I need.”
This world offers so many empty promises. So many things that we turn to for peace and comfort when the true answer is right there. So simple. So easy.
“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
We have to forsake our sin. We have to keep our eyes on Him. We have to value Him more than we value the opinions of others. We have to trust in His will more than we want our own.
Whatever you’re holding back today, I pray that you will let it go. Release it into the Father’s hands and accept the rest He offers.