What are we to do?
Overwhelm. Anxiety. Uncertainty. Fear of the unknown—all are very real right now. Stress is elevated to unprecedented heights. Mental illness is plaguing many we know and love—including ourselves. And we’re walking on eggshells, afraid one misstep will cause the chaos, destruction, and mayhem to erupt again.
What are we to do? What options do we have?
“Come to me.” Jesus whispers as He stretches out His hand.“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
You are invited into His presence.
You are invited to lay down your burdens.
Will you take Him up on His offer?
Will you reach out your hand to grasp His?
The demands of life, career, ministry, and family grind us down in the best of times. But since our lives radically (and possibly permanently) changed a few months ago, each burden we carry has become elephantine. Trepidation and insecurity compound the weight pressing down on our shoulders as fear snakes its way around our decisions and dreams.
We wonder if “normal” will ever be normal again.
And Jesus’ invitation continues to echo in our discouraged soul,“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Oh, how we long to go to Him. The relief would be heavenly. But we’re afraid. What if we do set our burdens down and rest? Will they crush us? Will we be unable to pick them back up again? Or will we be stuck? Standard there forever? In a worse spot than we are now?
But the possibility of relief renders us captive. We’re desperate to set down our burdens. To work the kinks out of our back. To massage feeling into our legs. To rest.
As we wrestle and ponder, Jesus stretches out His scarred hand and invites us to do just that. He beckons us to come to Him. Offering the rest we’re so desperate for.
Will you take Him up of His offer?
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Jesus’ offer of rest isn’t just for our bodies and burden-laden lives, but for our souls. Our hearts. Our minds.
It’s a total package.
It’s an invitation
- To come (back) to Him in faith and humility
- To repent of our sins and unbelief
- To rest under His wings of grace
- To be restored
- To learn from His gentle and humble teaching
- To surrender to Him and His will
- To take up His burdens which are much lighter and easier to bear
It’s an invitation to be made new through the gift of salvation—giving ourselves to Him, asking Him to be our Savior, and choosing to follow Him all the days of our life.
Once we’ve followed Him, it’s an invitation to be sanctified—the process of being made more like Christ. To trust Him and believe Him and His Word. To obey Him is all things as we wait well and prepare for His return.
It’s an invitation to life, eternal life. Not just so you can escape the clutches of Hell and be spared eternal torment, but so you can enjoy eternity in His Father’s presence where you will be free from death, sorrow, crying, and pain. (Revelations 21:3-4) And so you can fully experience the abundant spirit-filled life He offers us this side of Heaven.
Each one of us is a sinner who is separated from God by our sin.
Each and every one of us has sinned and fallen short of God’ glory. (Romans 3:23) Not one of us is righteous—not a single one. (3:10) Even if we’re a good person we’re still selfish and prideful. Our motives aren’t always pure. And we tend to be judgmental and self-indulgent. Then there’s gossip, slander, and vanity, to which none of us can claim innocence. Regardless if you’ve stolen a pen or a million dollars. If you’ve cheated on a test or on your spouse. Killed someone with your words or your hands. You have sinned. And so have I.
Our sin grieves God’s heart.
God longs for an intimate relationship with us. But with our sin standing in the way, that’s not possible. So Jesus came. He lived a sinless life, taught us how to live a life devoted to Him and His Father, and then paid the ultimate price by laying down His life for my sin and yours.
Can you fathom the depth of His love for us that He would willingly die a violent and brutal death on a Roman cross to purchase the forgiveness we so desperately needed, to abolish the guilt that weighs us down, and to reunite us with His Father? I can’t either. But I’m grateful for it. Humbled by it. I know I don’t deserve any of this. And neither do you. That’s what’s so amazing about His grace!
After Jesus died, He was laid in a grave. Buried.
Three days later, He rose from the dead! He appeared to many people, including His disciples over the course of 40 days and then ascended to Heaven to prepare a place for us.
And Jesus is coming again! Are you ready?
He’s promised this over and over again. As a “deposit,” on that promise, He gave us His Spirit to live inside of us.
- Filling us with power, the same power that raised Him from the dead
- Teaching and guiding us in His ways so we can honor and obey Him while we walk thing planet
- Giving us the courage boldness to share the Good News with those around us
- Providing the perseverance to wait well and be prepared for His return
All of this was foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of years before it happened so we would know, see, and believe.
My friend, Jesus’ death was payment for our sin. It’s how we are forgiven. His resurrection robbed the grave (physical death) of it’s sting and offers us eternal life.
Confused? Let me explain.
Our decision to accept Jesus gift of Salvation must be made while we live in the here and now, before our physical death. We all have equal opportunity to accept this invitation. According to the Bible, this is a black-and-white choice. Either we accept Him or we don’t. Either we follow Him or we don’t. There is no middle ground. If you don’t like that, talk to God. I’m just telling you what He says.
Those of us who put our faith in Jesus in this life—not just believe in Him, but believe Him and follow Him—we are His and will spend eternity with Him in Heaven. If we physically die before Christ’s return, we won’t experience the sting of our physical death. However, those that ignore and/or reject Him and His invitation will be separated from God and His influence for all eternity in Hell. This is the second death, the spiritual death of our soul. Hence the sting of our physical death.
In other words, eternally speaking, physical death is “temporary.” Spiritual death or life is eternal.
And the choice is yours.
“Come to me.” Jesus whispers as He stretches out His hand.“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Will you take Him up of His offer?
Jesus’ grace is sufficient to fill our every need and removed our every sin, offering satisfaction and peace for our weary soul.
This is the essence of restorative rest.
And it’s up to us to accept it. To humbly come to Him in faith and fall into His embrace.
If you’ve never prayed and accepted Jesus as your Savior before and are ready to accept His invitation and commit your life to Him, pray this with me:
Jesus, I know I’m a sinner, and I admit that to You now. I’m sorry for my sins, for rejecting You and ignoring You. I accept you invitation now. Please forgive me and save me. Thank You for dying for me and paying the price for my salvation. I believe You and trust You. Please restore me and make me new. I am completely Yours. Use me for Your glory. I ask this in the name of Jesus, who died for me. Thank You for pursuing me, hearing me, and receiving me. Thank you for saving my soul. (If you want to add more, please do. Pour it all our before Him. He will hold you and take all of it. Each and every burden you carry.)
If you’ve already accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation but have wandered, not fully surrendered your life to Him, or just need to refresh your commitment to Him, pray this with me:
Jesus, I know I’m already yours. But I confess I’ve not fully surrendered all of me to you. Jesus, I give You all of me now. I am fully Yours. Search my heart and remove anything not honoring to You. Help me in my unbelief. Empower me obey you in all things and teach me your Truth. Then fill me afresh with Your Spirit and give me a heart that loves as you do. Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Fill me with Your confidence and boldness as I follow in Your footsteps so I can shine brightly for you as I faithfully wait for Your return. I love you, Jesus. But I want to know and love You more.
If you prayed either of those prayers, I would love to hear from you. I would love to celebrate with you and give you some resources for next steps.
Each Take 5 this week will dig deeper into the 6 aspects of Matthew 11:28-30 listed above. My hope is these will not only be q quick 5-minute or less devotional for you everyday, but they will provide encouragement as you grow in your faith and entice you to dig even deeper into the Scriptures and discover who This Jesus is, how much He loves you, and the exciting life He has for you.
Let me leave you with these encouraging words from Paul:
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. (Romans 5:6-11)
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