In Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus says, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” He gives three commands that reveal His heart toward us, and He offers the precious promise of rest, if we obey.
He makes a way for us to come to Him, and He is not ashamed of us that we are weary and burdened. He is offering a place at His side for the obedient child who has been wearing herself out trying to be in charge, trying to get somewhere, trying to obtain status, trying to “arrive.” In order to come to Him, we have to stop looking at ourselves, our interests, our needs, our suffering. These are only the context of our relationship with Him, they are not the things that define Him or reveal Him, and here’s the kicker: they are not the things that define us. We are defined by what He says. We are who He says we are. When we look to Him and focus on Him, we are drawn into His nature, and He is love.
He offers His yoke to us so that we may learn of Him. Submitted to His Lordship, walking side by side with Him, going where He goes and doing what He does, we become acquainted with His ways. The true knowledge of Him refreshes us and brings rest to our aching, searching, wandering souls. Yoked with Him, we are home. Next to His heart, we are befriended and accepted.
For most of us, we think of learning as a path to independence, a way to become strong enough to stand on our own. And in the natural world, this is generally true. In God’s Kingdom, however, learning of Jesus is the path to deeper and deeper dependence, deeper and deeper abiding, so that we become more and more like Him and live more and more in Him. We learn to be IN love and so learn to love as He loves.
The place of rest He is offering is the place of acceptance and the joy of obedience. He endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Heb 12:2). And we do, too. Our journey is fraught with trials and tribulations of all kinds, but there is rest for our souls when we fight the good fight along side the One who has already been victorious over all that we will face.
Dear one, are you weary? Are you burdened by circumstances, difficult relationships, a failing body? Commit your way to Him. Submit to His Lordship. Believe that the One who is the author and finisher of your faith bore all your burdens on the cross and He ever lives to intercede for you. Yes, the outer man is perishing, but the inner man is being renewed day by day (2 Cor 4:16).
This song by Pat Barrett has been a blessing to me. It has challenged me, and also ushered me into the presence of God. I pray it will do the same for you.
Until next week, “let out the sails of your heart,” labor in Love and rest in Love.