God Gives Us Rest For Our Souls
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
God never intended for our burdens to so overwhelm us as to be impossible. In the beginning, the only rule was to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Only one fruit was forbidden. Adam and Eve were given free rein to do pretty much whatever else they wanted to. Yet even that became a burden to them.
Most of us are burdened down with life and the responsibilities that we shoulder. Every day, our list of duties and expectations increase, until we reach that feverish point where, in exhaustion, we stop, and someone who is a little better rested takes our place. God intended for us to experience fellowship with Him and have joy in our work. Yet the fall of man brought difficulty into that:
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
The leaders of the Jews were afraid of being sent into captivity, and decided to implement some additional “suggestions” that had the weight of law to ensure that the Sabbath was fully maintained. There were over six hundred additional rules given to the people so that they would not work on the Sabbath, and therefore be conquered by their enemies and dispersed from their homeland. One of these rules was that you cannot spit on the ground on the Sabbath, because you might accidentally roll it over the ground with your foot and make mud, and therefore be accused of working.
Christ came to lift these heavy burdens from us that do not need to be there, and to show us what truly is required of us in the sight of God.
Jesus promised us rest from our burdens. We no longer have to strive to earn God’s favor. This is something that we cannot do on our own, for His standard is perfection. Jesus came to fulfill the law so that through belief in Him, we might be freed of our attempts to please God through our well-intentioned but misguided efforts to earn God’s favor. Christ gave us His righteousness, earned through living a perfect life, for our sinful nature, and thus gives us rest from our burdens. You can relax and be free – Christ did all of the heavy lifting. All we need to do now is be obedient to Him!
Jesus is gentle and humble in heart. He gives us burdens that are light and a yoke that is easy. He gives us the life of submission to the Spirit of God and obedience to His word. And because we cannot do this in our own power, we have been given a down-deposit on our inheritance, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The very power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and performs miracle upon miracle every day for us, is living within us. We have been given the strength and ability to do everything that God desires through submission to the Spirit of God. Once we yield our stubborn hearts to God, our burdens will be light, and our yokes will be easy, for God Himself will do all the difficult work.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I allowing the Spirit of God to do all of the heavy lifting in my life through submission to His Spirit and obedience to His word?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You have provided us with a way to be obedient to You. Help me today to yield my spirit to Yours so that You would have control in my life. You know everything that will happen before it happens, and You can provide the wisdom to guide me through it. Help me to submit to You in obedience to Your word, that You would be honored and glorified before men. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.