When tough times come, we can rest on the words of Jesus in Matthew 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 will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
These words of Jesus have stood the test of the translators pen. A burden is that which is laid upon a person’s back that they are required to carry, but are unable to do so alone. To the Jews of Jesus’ day that burden was the law that had grown to 613 commandments that became the focal point of their lives.
The burden that they lived under was the thought that a person’s righteousness was only as good as his or her ability to keep those 613 commandments.
Have you ever been in a situation where you had a long list of rules that you had to keep? How exhausting was it trying to make sure you remembered them and kept them? Do you ever feel like your walk with the Lord is less of a relationship and more of a set of rules for you to follow?
Jesus came with the promise that in the midst of the burdensome, excessively wearing parts of life, He would give us rest, so long as we trust Him. He promised to provide a shabbat, a stopping place, for the soul.
Here are 4 ways that Jesus gives us rest:
1. Comfort and Peace – The Bible is filled with promises from God for comfort and peace, regardless of our immediate situation.
“He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.” Job 5:11
“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
“Let your lives be without the love of money, and be content with the things you have. For He has said: ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5
2. Direction in the dark
“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all who wait for him. For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying ‘this is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.’” Isaiah 30:18-21
3. Companionship through the Word
You cannot get the value of the Word without reading the Word. You cannot get it from social media, good preaching, or music. Those are supplements, and none of them can replace the Word of God.
4. Fellowship in the Church
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers swell in unity! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forever more.” Psalm 133:1, 3
All four of these point are needed in our lives on a daily basis, but which one speaks to your current situation the most? Take some time to ask the Holy Spirit to give you rest in these very practical ways.
There are many more ways that Jesus provides us with rest, but if you are weary and heavy-laden, unable to carry the burden that weighs you down, these four paths will prove Jesus’ words that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
What is this yoke and this burden that He talks about?
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3
“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” 1 John 3:23
We are to simply love God and love others. Those 613 commandments boil down into two important charges that we have been given: “Love God and love others.”
Are there any burdens in your life that you need help carrying? Share some of those burdens and allow the Lord to bring comfort and peace through His Word and through other people. Make the leap by asking someone you trust to pray for you. Allow that person to help shoulder the burden. You will be amazed at seeing God bring comfort and peace through a simple act of faith like this.
The Bible says to be doers of the Word, not just hearers, and so we should do what the Word tells us by bearing one another’s burdens. What are some specific ways you can begin bear another’s burden in your circle. (Your circle is the people with whom you interact on a regular basis such as family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers.)