March 13, 2017

Rest for the weary

Cold weather makes me tired. So also does a day of hard work without a nap. This is a good verse for me today:

“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)

Most theologians interpret these verses to address the human need for salvation, the redemption from sin that takes us away from exhausting self-effort and gives us a restful trust in Jesus Christ.

I agree, yet as a Christian, I need to review what it means to come to Jesus, for God tells me to walk with Him in the same manner . . .

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6–7)

Whether my coming is about a need in my own life or the burden of someone else, all that heavy stuff is to be laid at His feet, trusting Him to take care of everything in His own way and in His timing.

Today, God reminds me of how I came to Jesus. First, He made me a new creation who is both aware of Him and aware of my lost condition without Him. He gave me a strong sense of both His presence and His power to save me. For me, this is not about going forward after hearing a message about salvation. While people who do that may truly be saved, in Jesus’ day many came to Him physically but their hearts were resisting Him. Coming to Him is more about seeking His will, being aware that without His grace, I totally do not fit in His kingdom, but mainly responding to that invitation of trust rather than trying to do it my way.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21–23)

Coming to Jesus is about knowing Him. This is a personal relationship that goes beyond intellectual belief. The Bible says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19) Coming to Jesus means coming for His saving power. The powers of evil acknowledge that He exists, but they are not in a saving relationship with Him.

As Fortner says, coming to Jesus is the response of the heart to the sovereign, life-giving power of God. It is that act of the soul whereby I left my sins and self-righteousness and fled to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is trusting His righteousness to be mine, His blood to atone for my sin. It involves repentance, denial of self, believing the truth, and submission to His lordship.

Jesus, now that I’ve received Your saving grace, the description still fits. I must come to You  daily as You bid me to hear Your voice and rely on You for all of life. And in coming, You draw me away from worries, agitations, and my complaints. Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. When life becomes heavy and difficult, I know what to do, and I’m learning to do it before things become too much for me!

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