Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.                                                                                                                                 Matthew 11:28

 


As we dig deeper into the meaning of godly rest, I want to draw our attention to the first three words of the verse above:

“Come to me …”

Interestingly, Jesus makes this statement even though many left their jobs to follow him. Matthew, the author of this Gospel, was working as a tax collector when Jesus approached him. Jesus said, “Follow me,” and Matthew stood up, left his job and followed the Master (Matt. 9:9).

What did it take for Matthew to make the decision to leave everything and follow a man he had just met? Perhaps he did it because of what he heard Jesus say in the Sermon on the Mount. Or maybe he had witnessed Jesus’ healings and teaching as he traveled throughout the region.

Do you think you would make that kind of change in your life to follow Jesus? To allow his word to affect your life so much that it would change your character and behavior?

Even John the Baptist – who was the first to proclaim, “Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:29) – struggled with his faith. While in prison, John asked, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Matt. 11:2-3). 

Have you ever been there? Your life isn’t going as you think it should, and facing real difficulties, you ask God, “Where are you? Aren’t you supposed to be the one who helps me?”

Godly rest seeks more time in God’s Word

The refresh button on our internet browsers updates the currently displayed web page. When we come to God’s Word with our burdens, doubts and difficulties, we hit the refresh button of our hearts to update our thoughts and desires with the thoughts and desires of God. Rest in Christ allows our hearts and minds to be refreshed to see the truth in God’s Word and to find the freedom we long for (John 8:31-32).

Not long ago, I was troubled by a toxic friendship. I tried everything I knew to deal with the problem, but it was only when I went away to be alone with Jesus in prayer that I could see the right decision. My rest in Christ refreshed my memory of God’s Word and revealed that the more time I spent with this person, the less my life was reflecting the character of Christ. I made the decision to distance myself from the friendship and set boundaries to reflect more of the image of Christ.

Godly rest moves us closer to Jesus

When times are difficult, Jesus wants us to come to him first!

 If we love God and know his love for us, we would desire more of him and believe his power and truth are greater than our own. Yet I know how easy it is to put other things that seem important in the place of our alone time with Jesus.

I pray as we continue to walk this journey together that we will all grow hungrier for time alone with Jesus. Today, sit down alone with Jesus, give him all that is in your hands and heart, and receive his refreshing love and thoughts for you.

 

Dr. Peggy Banks
Global Ministry Director