Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

The Lord’s invitation is offered without condemnation as to the causes of our fatigue. If there is blame on our part it will be dealt with in another venue, at another time. He simply offers rest. He offers to lift the burdens from our shoulders and to place on us a light and easy yoke.

What is not said is that He will merely give us a brief respite from our labors. This is all that the world can offer, a mere period of amusement or a short rest from the journey, after which we return to take up the burden all over again. We are glad enough for these moments, and He is not speaking against such things. After all, it was God who initiated the day of rest, and we need rest from our labors.

But Christ was saying something different here – not to merely give us a temporary break but to so re-interpret life and living so as to give us constant deliverance from the burden of religion. Religion demands things from us, either by the official dictates of the officials of the specific faith that we prescribe to or by our own needy souls that long for salvation and deliverance. But religion by itself has never truly delivered, has never truly given a light burden. Either the demands from above in the structural hierarchy or the demands from within in the fears and worries of our souls push us to seek and seek and seek some life, some joy, some true victory where there is none.

Christ gives us rest for our souls through His grace, in which we become truly alive and His righteousness is bestowed on the believer (Eph. 2:4-10, Rom. 3:21-22). He gives us rest by His Spirit who comes in indwells our hearts (Eph. 1:13-14). He gives us rest by providing us with the spiritual armor we need to face our adversary (Eph. 6:10-20). He gives us rest by sharing with us His heart of love, filling our souls with Himself, and drawing us into a community of faith (Eph. 5:15-20). And out of this spiritual rest we find joy, peace, contentment, and usefulness for His purposes.

Prayer:

Lord, fill us with Your love and power that we might find the spiritual rest that our souls truly need. Let us follow you and serve You in your power, and not in our own. Amen.

Miles Stanford wrote:

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest” (Hebrews 4:9-11a). So many of the life-giving truths in the Word consist of two intertwining halves that are inseparable. “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest.” As for labor, it is true that there is a great deal of struggling and searching and pleading and agonizing in the process of discovering and understanding truths fitted to our needs. And much of the same pathway is trod (or crawled) in an effort to appropriate and enter in. All this is not in vain; it is necessary. But it is not the key that opens the door to reality. Rest is the key to entering into rest!

In the important but exhausting labor process we come to see the needed truth; we become sure of our facts; we begin to realize something of what is ours in the Lord Jesus Christ. The appropriation of, the resting in the reality must be on the basis of faith, not struggle and labor. We are told to reckon, to count upon what we now know to be true of us in Him as set forth in the Word. “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). We are to look quietly and steadily to our Father in confident trust, and thankfully receive that which He has given to us in His Son. “These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good” (Psalm 104:27-28).

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