The Simple Way to the Matthew 11:28-29 Promise of Rest

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Marti Pieper

Are you tired?

Do you feel life is rushing along at breakneck speed while you are be dragged behind it. flailing and flapping in the wind?

Do you often feel stressed out, anxious and worried about how you’re going to fit everything in your already-tight schedule?

Just this morning, I sat down with my husband—short of breath, heart pounding, pouring out my stress and anxiety over the fact that my schedule just got really, really crazy.

Ironically, I’m studying both Psalm 91 and the book of Hebrews.

I’d just read that morning Hebrews 3 and 4, talking about entering into God’s rest.

In just two weeks, I’ll be joining Courtney from Women Living Well and Good Morning Girls in blogging through her new study, “Rest and Release.”

And I’ve learned that when God talks in threes, He is really trying to get our attention.

I think He’s trying to tell me to step back. To rest.

But what does this mean?

While we often think rest means a Netflix binge, a weekend at the coast, going to bed earlier or a mom’s night in with a bubble bath and a good book, I’ve learned something very important about rest.

Rest that doesn’t include Jesus Christ doesn’t touch your soul.

We see three kinds of rest in Scripture, and we see them here in Psalm 91:1-9:

1. Rest is found in Jesus Christ

Psalm 91 clearly illustrates that our rest, comfort and security is in the Lord. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Ps. 91:1-2, KJV).

The words “secret place” in the Greek indicate protection, while the word “shadow” means defense.

God is our security and our comfort. And when we’re secure and comforted, we are not anxious—we are able to relax and rest knowing that we’re protected and cared for.

But to have that rest and security, we must first learn how to dwell in the secret place of the Most High. David said that when we do, then we abide under the shadow (defense) of the Almighty.

Jesus said, in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily 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.”

Soul rest.

When our soul is rested, our body can rest. When our soul is rested our spirit is at rest. Our whole being is at rest.

You won’t find soul rest in a Netflix binge.

You won’t find soul rest at the coast.

You won’t find soul rest in a bubble bath and a good book—or at the bottom of a glass of wine.

You just won’t find it there!

Soul rest is found in only one place, and that is in Jesus Christ. If we want to find deep, lasting, rest that goes all the way to the soul, we must first come to Him.

Jesus said these things:

  • Come to Me
  • Take My yoke upon you
  • Learn from Me

When we do these three things, we will find rest, we will realize how gentle and humble He is, we will discover that His burden is light.

2. Rest is discovering that we will never be enough.

Let’s face it.

Let’s just be really, really honest. The ugly kind of honest. You know, the kind where you throw open the doors and show the world that your couch is piled high with unfolded laundry, your sink is overflowing with dirty dishes and your toilet hasn’t seen a scrub in a week.

That kind of honest.

We will never be enough.

On our own, we’re all a hot mess.

Our salvation is dead, rotted and attracting flies; our good deeds stink to high heaven of hidden motives and manipulation; our efforts to try to keep the Ten Commandments are broken down, on cinder blocks and rusted out because we gave up on them years ago.

The fact is, God never intended for us to be enough.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but so much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the One working in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure (Phil. 2:12-13).

Paul says that we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, and then he gives us the key.

It is God. He is the One who produces in us the desire and the ability to carry out this work of our salvation so that we live a life pleasing to God.

Salvation is a gift—we can’t earn it; we don’t deserve it.

The Holy Spirit is a gift—we don’t earn Him or deserve Him.

Living out this Christian life is impossible without grace—we don’t earn it; we don’t deserve it.

It is time we stop trying so hard live this Christian life out in our own strength, but rest in the Holy Spirit’s work in our heart.

3. Rest is faith and trust in God’s truth.

David said, ““He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall find protection; His faithfulness shall be your shield and wall” (Ps. 91:4).

In Hebrews 1-4, the writer talked about entering into God’s rest. Those who didn’t enter into His rest were those who lived in willful unbelief and rebellion to God’s Word.

We see that faith and trust in God’s truth bring rest.

As much as people want to believe that truth is relative, it simply isn’t. By virtue of its nature it simply can’t be.

Truth by its very nature must be firm, solid and constant. It must be unwavering and unchanging, for if it isn’t, then it’s simply not truth.

How can something be true if today it is one thing but today it is another?

Scripture clearly supports the fact that truth is eternally established when we follow this sequence of verses.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)—Jesus is truth.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1)—Jesus is the Word.

“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven” (Ps. 119:89). Truth—the Word—has been established from eternity past and for all eternity.

“For I am the Lord, I change not.” Malachi 3:6 – Truth, the Word, God is unchanging.

Understanding that truth is unchanging, it is constant and it is unwavering gives us the ability to trust in this truth. We can place all our faith in this truth.

And when we do, we are protected. “His truth shall be your shield and buckler” (Ps. 91:4, NKJV).

Ephesians 6 also tells us that truth is the belt in our armor. The belt is what held all of the Roman armor together and in place.

When we accept that God’s Word is absolute, that it is truth—it is truth from eternity past and for all eternity is unchanging, and when we accept It as the final authority for our life as our protection and armor, we can rest.

We can rest in its finality.

We can rest in its authority and unchangeableness.

My dear friends, if you’re like me—tired, worn down and exhausted from life’s demands, I challenge you to do what I’m learning to do. Stop. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and why you’re trying so hard. Then go to the Word. Let it refresh you, restore you and give you life.

The rest you’re seeking is soul rest. Deep rest. Rest that goes deep inside and settles your flustered emotions and anxious, churning thoughts. This rest can only be found in Jesus. {eoa}

Rosilind Jukic, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her hero. Together they live in the country with their two active boys, where she enjoys fruity candles and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. She holds an associates of practical theology and is passionate about discipling and encouraging women. Her passion for writing led her to author a number of books. She is the author of A Little R & R where she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You can follow her on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Google +.

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