The Spiritual Discipline of Rest

In the world we live today there is a cry for rest. Rest physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Matthew 11:28 says, “Come ye all that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (KJV)  There is chaos in the streets, there is animosity because of differing viewpoints between neighbors, friends, and even family because the other person has a different opinion than us, and all the time our hearts are crying out for peace, for rest!

I look at our world and realize that what we need is Spiritual Rest!  When our souls are in an upheaval, we can become so full of despair that we see no hope.  However, Jesus gives us the answer… “Come to me.”  Our world needs His peace and rest so desperately.  When everything seems to be upside down, all we need do is go to Jesus.  The group, Third Day, recorded a song a few years ago that says it all.  The song, Cry Out to Jesus, talks of how we can find hope no matter what our circumstances.  The chorus of the song says, “There is hope for the helpless, Rest for the weary, Love for the broken heart.  There is grace and forgiveness, mercy, and healing.  He’ll meet you wherever you are.  Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus.”

I am so thankful that I can go to Him anytime and just pour out my heart to Him and know that He will listen and not turn away from me.  Our verse today tells us that He calls to those who are laboured and heavy laden.  Why would we be laboured and heavy laden?  When we carry burdens that we never were intended to carry we become laboured.  Those burdens could be emotional, physical, and maybe even spiritual.  We take up things that only God can fix.  They burden us down to the point of possibly being depressed and hopeless.

The solution begins when we make a choice, the choice to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  When we become Born-Again, that’s when He fills our hearts with His peace.  The Bible says that the world cannot give us the kind of peace that He gives.  John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (NIV) When we receive the peace Jesus gives, it brings rest to our souls, fear is erased, and strength is given to us. 

I love what Jesus says about carrying our burdens.  In Matthew 11:29-30 Jesus continues by saying, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (KJV) When we go to Him, He takes our burdens upon Himself and walks with us.  Much like a team of oxen who are yoked together, they share the workload, Jesus carries the brunt of our burdens, that’s why He says His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  There are some things we are never meant to carry.  They are far too heavy for us to bear.  He takes those things and carries them for us.

As our world seems to be falling apart, we can either allow the unrest and chaos to trouble us to the point of us becoming frantic and fearful, or we can give our fear and unrest to Jesus and let Him take it and fill us with His peace so that we can rest in His arms and know He has everything under His control. 

The world needs Jesus’ peace and rest, and they need to know that Jesus loves them.  When we exhibit the peace of Jesus in our lives they can see that we are not fearful, but that we are trusting His plan and we are resting in His arms and allowing Him to cover us with His rest. 

For me, resting in Jesus is the only way I am able to take what is going on in this world with a calm reassurance that He has it all in His hands and I have no need to fear.  Am I perfect at resting?  No, but I ask Him daily to teach me the Discipline to rest in Him.  He answers me by letting me know that everything is by His timing and according to His purpose, and I can rest in that knowledge.

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