Stay and Rest

Matthew 11: 28

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Did you know you need rest for your body, your soul and your spirit? In the very next verse Jesus said, “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,” (v. 29). Jesus understood that we get tired down in our souls. It is a weariness that is even more pervasive that physical fatigue. Mentally you are drained and emotionally spent. This kind of weariness, indeed, comes from being heavily laden. Worry, anxiety, stress, these are the contributors to being wrung out in your soul. Jesus’ remedy was for us to give all those things to him. He instructed us to take his yoke onto our shoulders. That does not sound restful, does it, but Jesus said that his yoke is light. His teachings will unburden you rather than adding to the seemingly endless worries of life.

Paul revealed that we can even get tired in our spirits. “I had no rest for my spirit, not finding Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went on to Macedonia,” (2 Corinthians 2: 13). Who would have thought that your spirit could get overtaxed? Well, actually, I would. I remember when my dad was dying of cancer. There was a great and continuing need for prayer and for spiritual support. One day I just ran out of juice. Physically I was fine. Emotionally I was okay, but down in my spirit I felt like I did not have one prayer left. I felt like I had no more to give to anyone. A friend recognized that I was drained spiritually and advised me to get alone and pray so that I could reinvigorate my spirit. She was right and I have never forgotten that lesson. When you are giving out a lot from your spirit, you have to feed it with the Word and with personal prayer. After spending time with Yahweh, I felt renewed and could go back to supporting others.

Then, of course, we need rest for our bodies too. Paul wrote, “For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within,” (2 Corinthians 7: 5). He revealed that his flesh needed rest but there was none. We are familiar with this sort of fatigue, but we don’t always pause to give our bodies the rest they need.

Jesus used to slip away to the wilderness or to a mountain to rest and restore. The Sabbath was given to us by God explicitly for rest. We love to live life full throttle, but the scriptures teach us that our minds, spirits and bodies need rest, a time of rejuvenation. This Sabbath rest, which can happen any day, at any moment is designed as a time of communion with the Lord. He is our rest. He is the source of rejuvenation for all three parts of us. The most effective rest isn’t lying in the bed all day. The best rest is getting your full 8 hours of sleep and then arising gently and spending the day hearing the Father. The Word is manna for your spirit, but you may be surprised how effective it is for your soul.

You can have a bit of Sabbath every day and that is great and advisable. Sometimes you need several days’ worth of restoration. That is good too. Enjoy it. The deepest rest, though, comes from abiding in Jesus. As we abide in him, he fills us. That is the restorative piece that is most effective and nothing else will do. So, don’t just have that week vacation of rest. Don’t even limit yourself to daily Sabbath time. Have that time, absolutely, but also let us learn to abide in Jesus all day. He becomes our Sabbath every minute of the day. Stay in his presence and rest.

Give us Life

Proverb 22: 4

The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life.

A funny thing happened on the way to the . . . .

You’ve heard that old joke but it happened to me today on my way to another verse. This 22nd proverb just jumped out and caught me. I hope God caused it to leap off of the page for the Word of the Day, rather than it being a personal message for me. Eeither way, this scripture is seriously worth considering.

Most of us revere the Lord, which is what this “fear the Lord” means. So I don’t see that part as a problem for any of us. I suppose we could each take a moment and question how highly we esteem our Lord. Having done, though, I suspect that the larger problem that many of us need to deal with is humility. We have seen that humility is a pretty big issue with God. In the last couple of months we have seen half a dozen scriptures which either specifically talk about humility or which deal with the subject. It is certainly in our self-interest to be humble. First of all, people do not like arrogant people so we will have better friendships if we walk in humility but look at today’s passage. With humility also comes honor, riches and life. Well, we want life don’t we? So we need to pay attention to whether or not we really are humble.

The real question, I think, is, “Would other people describe me as humble.” You see, we are not always accurate assessors of ourselves. Think about your friends and family. Would they say you are a humble person? That is the test.

You know, Jesus, for all his power was a humble person. Do your remember this statement from Matthew 11: 29, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” That makes one think. How can anyone of us be proud and arrogant when Jesus was humble? What do we think we have that makes us so special? Well, I can tell you that the only thing that I have that makes me special is Jesus.

So, here is what you do. Pray. Ask the Lord Jesus if you ever demonstrate arrogance or pride. Wait and let him answer. Many of us will be confronted with an uncomfortable truth but that is okay. The next step is to ask the Lord to take that out of you. Pray for his help because you cannot do this on your own. Ask him to continue his work in you making you into the image of himself. He will help you. He cannot do it without you, though. You are the master of your own house and he will not violate your sovereignty. However, he is poised, waiting and wanting to transform you into that beautiful creation that you were always destined to be. Do not hesitate in having this conversation with Jesus. Do it today because the longer you wait the longer you are denying yourself riches, honor and life.