Daily Devotional | Day 344
“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 11:29-30, NKJV).
A soul at rest is a soul alive. But a restless soul is an unhappy soul. Such a soul cannot please God. The ability to rest in God is essential for your spiritual and overall well-being. Christian worship is not only about praying and attending church events. Letting your soul rest in God is part of worship. You will know you have faith in God when your soul is at rest. And if your soul is at rest, you won’t need an expert to tell you. You will know for yourself.
When your soul rests, it has many benefits for your body and for every aspect of your life. You will become a blessing to the people around you. You will radiate joy, peace and youthfulness. When people come near you, they will feel energized and refreshed. When your soul is refreshed, your very presence becomes refreshing to others. But all a restless soul has to offer is negativity, self-pity, anger, bitterness and constant criticism of others. Restless souls talk and act as if the weight of the whole world is upon their shoulders. Simply being around them will make you exhausted. For these (and other) reasons, Jesus wants your soul to rest.
Most of us have associated rest of the soul with dead people. When you hear, “May his/her soul rest in peace,” you know someone is dead. Make no mistake; there’s nothing wrong about wishing that the souls of our departed relatives and friends rest in peace. What is unfortunate is that – consciously or not – we apply soul rest almost exclusively to the departed. But what about us, the living? Shall our soul find rest here on earth? Who needs rest the most, the living or the dead? Yes, one day we hope to rest from our labors when our time here on earth is over (Revelation 14:13). But while we’re here, Jesus knows that our soul needs rest. This is why in our opening Scripture, He invites us to seek rest in Him.
Jesus says, “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” (Matthew 11:29). Jesus wants your soul to rest now, not later. And He shows you how you will find rest: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.” The yoke here refers to His commandments. Jesus says you will find rest for your soul when you learn from Him. And learning from Him requires that you do what He tells you. That is His yoke. Learn from Jesus’ life of gentleness and righteousness, and your soul will rest.
To understand what Jesus is saying, you need to understand that your soul is made for righteousness. It thrives on righteousness and nothing else. Therefore, righteousness supplies to your soul the needed peace and rest: “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever” (Isaiah 32:17). But unrighteousness leads to fear, confusion and restlessness (Proverbs 28:1). Jesus further assures everyone that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. This means His commandments are liberating. John testified to this when he wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Jesus’ commandments are the commandments of the Father. And they are intended, not to hinder your success, but to promote it.
Rest for your soul begins now, not after your death. If your soul doesn’t rest in Jesus in this life, it will not rest in Him in the next. Therefore, let your soul rest in Jesus today and be refreshed. Amen.
For further study: Psalm 62:1-12; 63:1-11