Many things can be a burden to us: financial difficulties, troublesome work environments, painful family situations, our health. Often, we may feel completely worn out—not just outwardly tired, but inwardly exhausted—from struggling to bear these burdens.
In Matthew 11:28-30, the Lord Jesus sounded a call with these gracious words:
“Come to Me all who toil and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
The Lord Jesus didn’t say that our difficult situations would change for the better or suddenly be resolved. Instead, His promise to us is if we come to Him, He will give us rest—even rest for our souls.
What does it mean to have rest for your soul?
Note 4 on souls in the New Testament Recovery Version says:
“The rest that we find by taking the Lord’s yoke and learning from Him is for our souls. It is an inward rest; it is not anything merely outward in nature.”
The rest the Lord promises is much more than the rest we might experience by merely ceasing from outward activity. Actually, we’ve probably all experienced going on vacation yet still being full of unrest about work, or in turmoil over a personal situation.
But because the rest the Lord gives us is inward in nature, we can be in a very busy or difficult outward environment, yet enjoying inward rest the whole time. Whatever our situation, when we come to the Lord, we find a rest that’s for our very souls.
In fact, this rest is not merely something He gives us apart from Himself; He is actually our real rest. God is not interested in giving us things; instead, He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, to be everything to us.
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How can we come to the Lord Jesus today?
When the Lord Jesus lived on the earth, to come to Him meant you had to physically be where He was, at just the right time. But for us today, this isn’t the case. In fact, the Lord has passed through death and resurrection, and 2 Corinthians 3:17 tells us that now in resurrection, “The Lord is the Spirit.” As the Spirit, He entered into our human spirit when we first believed in Him. In addition, 2 Timothy 4:22 says, “The Lord be with your spirit.” These two verses show us the Lord today is the Spirit and now dwells in our human spirit.
So for us to come to the Lord is to come to our spirit, where He is. He’s not limited to one place anymore. As the Spirit indwelling our spirit, we can come to Him at any time, in any place, under any circumstances. When we come to Him in our spirit and exercise our spirit to contact and receive Him, we find rest for our souls.
Four practical ways to come to the Lord and find rest in our daily life
1. Call on His name—this is the simplest way to come to Him. At any moment, we can cry out, “Oh, Lord Jesus! Oh, Lord Jesus! I need You! Oh, Lord Jesus!” Simply breathing in His name brings us to the Lord, releases us from our burdens, and fills us with Christ as our real rest.
2. Pray—we don’t have to worry about composing long, formal prayers to God. Instead, we can simply talk to Him in prayer. We can pour out our hearts to Him and tell Him all about our situation. In this way, we can practice what 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to do: “Casting all your anxiety on Him because it matters to Him concerning you.”
3. Pray-read His Word—as we read the Bible, we can pray with the Word of God. For example, we can pray with the verses in Matthew 11 like this: “Thank you, Lord, you say, ‘Come to Me.’ Oh, Lord, I come! I come to You right now. Lord Jesus, I’m toiling and burdened by so many things today. You said, ‘I will give you rest.’ Lord, give me rest,” and so on.
I come to Thee, dear Lord,
My heart doth thirst for Thee;
Of Thee I’d eat, of Thee I’d drink,
Enjoy Thee thoroughly.
In such a fellowship
Thou, Lord, art grace to me;
My heart and spirit gladdened, filled,
I enter rest in Thee.
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When we’re full of unrest and weighed down by burdens, we can simply come to the Lord and find rest. Let’s practice coming to the Lord in the midst of our busy days and enjoy Him as our sweet rest.
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