Monday, August 23, 2010

God’s Rest

By Hayley Boud

(MATHEW 11:28)

“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden 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 shall find rest for your souls
For my yoke is easy and my burden light”

“Come to me”; Jesus is inviting us to come to Him. When we feel weary and over-loaded, Jesus Christ invites us to come to Him. He doesn’t tell us to see a counsellor, or see your husband, or see the bank, He tells us to come to Him. It’s not bad to seek advice from others or to share the load with your brothers and sisters in Christ but we have to FIRST seek God.

“Weary”; The dictionary says that it means to be very tired, especially due to hard work. How often do we feel physically tired and/or spiritually tired? Sometimes we feel exhausted. What makes you tired? Kids, work, people, temptations, worry....

“Heavy-laden”; makes me think of something that we carry, something that is heavy and it weighs us down. For example, sin, disappointment, anger, sorrow/sadness, bitterness, negative thoughts, worry....can you tell me anything else that weighs us down?

“I will give you”; It’s only Jesus Christ who can give us the solution to our weariness and burdens. He is the only one who can give us rest from these. So when we are feeling weary, tired, when people are pushing us to the limit, when time is running out, when money is not enough, when kids are making us scream, when anger is brewing up, when worry is boiling up, when we can’t sleep at night, when fear and doubts start to control our thoughts and actions, when sadness is bringing us down, when we can’t remove bitterness and we can’t seem to forgive that person for what they did, when disappointment is wearing us down, when life seems too hard....Jesus is the only one who can give us rest from all of this.

“Rest”; I think we have to be clear that God is giving us a certain rest and we have to be careful and not misinterpret what kind of rest He is giving us. On the 7th day, God rested. But He didn’t stop working! He continues to hold the world together and He continues to support us every second. He hasn’t stopped working. This is the same for us. We can find rest from things that are wearing us down (as above) but we don’t stop working. We must continue to run the race day after day and we must continue to fight every second. God is giving our souls a rest but not our bodies and not our spirit. Our bodies must keep working until Christ comes back and our spirit doesn’t have the right to sleep.

The Bible says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (I Peter 5:8). We can never let our spirits fall asleep because the devil is ready and waiting to attack the moment we close our spiritual eyes. So our spirits don’t rest, our spirit must never stop working, in the same way God doesn’t stop working.

When we rest in God it doesn’t mean we take a break and no longer need to fight against temptations and we no longer need to work (reading the Bible, praying etc). No, it’s the opposite. We are resting from sin...meaning, we decide to not sin anymore. We are not resting from fighting against sin, we are not taking a break from fighting temptations, we are taking a break from falling into the temptations which actually requires work on our behalf but we can find rest in Jesus Christ and say, “today Jesus, I take a rest from bitterness, I decide today to forgive that person for what they did against me.”

Rest according to the dictionary means “relax” and “to be supported”, eg. I rest my head on my hand. Today God is saying to relax and let Jesus Christ support every area of your life.

“Take my yoke”; We have to take it. It’s our job to take the yoke from Jesus Christ. He’s not going to force us to. It’s up to us to take it.

“Yoke”; a yoke is a wooden object that connects to working animals together (usually oxen) so they can carry a heavy load together. We are taking this object and we are connecting ourselves to Jesus Christ and together we will carry the load. We are also connecting ourselves to other believers and together we are running the race. By carrying the load with Jesus Christ and with others, the load becomes lighter and easier to carry. We are sharing the pain, sharing the work, sharing the joy, sharing the Christian walk and by doing that our worries become lighter, our temptations become easier to overcome, our fears become less scary, our ability to forgive others becomes easier and the Christian walk becomes more enjoyable.

“Learn from me, I am gentle and humble”; we need to learn from Jesus Christ how to be gentle and humble. When we have humility, we can easily find rest because it’s usually pride that is making life tiresome and heavy. E.g. we often say, “why me?” and this makes us complain and life harder but we should say, “why not me?” We are often too proud to ask for help, or to admit our sin, or to say sorry, or to forgive someone (especially if they haven’t apologized). Pride is attached to the fear of man, worrying about what others think of me, or wanting to always give a good impression...these things can wear us down. But if we have humility, it will be easier to rest in God.

“Easy”; meaning that something is not difficult to do. We can remember that whatever we are facing, God has a solution and it’s not too difficult for us to do. Sometimes it might feel difficult but we can remind ourselves that he promised it will be easy. E.g. sometimes my law assignment seems too hard to do, so I can remember that God promised His yoke is easy and trust that I will be able to complete the assignment. Or when I have to sing in front of others and fear and doubts rise up, I can remember that God has said it will be easy and all I have to do is relax and remember God is with me, we are doing this together (yoke).

When temptations come, we can remember that, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it”. (I Corinthians 10:13) We just have to walk in the path He is given for us to escape the temptation.

Isaiah 28:12, now we have rest we have to give to others. We have to refresh others = visit, txt, phone, email, share Word of God, share burdens, etc, etc.

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