This week we’ll spend time simply stirring up our affections for God. God has designed us to see him, to know his character and to let the truth of his goodness lead us into deeper relationship with him. Augustine wrote, “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.” In seeing God for who he is, our hearts are naturally stirred to find rest in his goodness. May your heart be stirred at the revelation of God’s wonderful character.
Scripture describes a great exchange of our burdens for the peace of God. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” You have a God who loves you so much that he offers to take your burdens off your own shoulders, place them on his, and give you peace in return. Where does your life feel heavy? Where do you feel buried under the burdens of the world? God offers you his peace today if you will take some time to align yourself with him and “yoke” yourself to the teaching of Jesus.
In Matthew 11, Jesus presents us with an image of two animals sharing the burden of work together. The point Jesus is making here is in reference to coming under his teaching. He asks us, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” He isn’t asking us simply to cast our burdens on him, but also to humble ourselves and submit to his teaching. If we are willing to come underneath him as our Teacher, then we no longer carry the burden of figuring out life on our own. And in freedom we are able to live life under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.
Do you ever feel alone in what you’re doing? Do you ever feel like peace is an unobtainable goal, blocked by layer upon layer of work you need to get through first? God’s plan is different than the world’s plan. The world says you can only have peace when you’ve completed the job, become the best, or gained the approval of man. God tells you to stop working in your own strength, yoke yourself to his teaching, and rid yourself of all the stress and pressure of the world. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” You have a God who cares about you. Your God is for you. He knows society tells you to work for and care about certain things, but he offers you the refuge of his peace instead.
You serve a God who doesn’t want you to live even one day burdened. Every day, you can wake up and choose to yoke yourself to your heavenly Father and his word. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Align your mind with what he says about you—casting off every opinion other than his. Align your day with the leading of God’s Spirit, and receive the anointing and power he longs to bring into every situation.
God says, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” If you will choose God today over the way you’ve done things in the past, if you will choose to obey his word, then “you will find rest for your souls.” What area of your life needs rest today? In what parts of your heart do you need God’s peace and ease? He’s waiting right now to meet with you, to offer you his yoke. Let him take your burdens, fears, and stress. Our fragile frame wasn’t meant to bear such pressure. Come underneath God’s teaching today, align your thinking with his, and let the cares of the world fall off as you live in light of the teaching of Jesus.
1. Reflect on your life for a minute. In what areas do you need God’s peace today? It could be your mindset, your appearance, friends, family, work, anything that you feel burdened by.
2. Now offer that area of your life to God and ask him for his opinion. Listen to God and let him tell you what he thinks about you. Look up verses that reveal his teaching on the subject.
3. Meditate on Scripture or what God spoke regarding the area in which you need peace. Let his peace flood that area of your life. Submit yourself to his word. Believe that he sees things truthfully. Whatever God says goes.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Yoke yourself to the teaching of Jesus today. Let his word be your refuge in a world full of opinions. Doing life yoked to God, being obedient to his word, is the best way to walk the path God lays out for us to abundant life. Every day attacks will come your way. But every day God has provided the truth you need in his word to fight those attacks. Choose the word of Jesus today, walk in obedience to it, and experience God’s “rest for your [soul].”
Extended Reading: Matthew 11