Let Your Soul Rest

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 righteousnessIt 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 studyPsalm 62:1-12; 63:1-11

The Father Knows

Daily Devotional: Day 147

“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you” (Luke 12:29-31, NKJV).

If you worry, you can’t rest. And, when you can’t rest, it’s hard to please God. But if you believe in God, you will be calm. Faith in God causes you to rest. A stressful (anxious) life is one of the chief enemies of the spiritual life. You need to come to a point where the Lord’s presence is enough to make you rest like a baby in the arms your Father in heaven. When you reach that point, anxiety, stress, panic and temper issues will be gone from your life. When the Lord repeatedly tells us not to worry, we need to pay attention. Worrying is symptomatic of a lack of faith.

Worrying impairs your spiritual vision and your ability to discern the will of God. It further impairs your ability to recognize the provident Hand of God in your life. Worrying is characteristic of people who do not know the Father God who provides. That is what Jesus is telling us today. Your Father in heaven knows that you need food and drink and other necessities of life. But the question is: Do you know the Father knows that you need these things? This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s loaded with meaning. When you know that the Father knows about what you need, then you have no reason to worry. This kind of knowledge – knowing that the Father knows – is a source of great peace and calm for your soul.

People get agitated because they don’t know the Father. And, because they don’t know the Father, they don’t know His love and provision. If they knew Him, they wouldn’t be agitated. Jesus warns against having an anxious mind. Based on the Greek word meteorizomai, an anxious mind refers to a mind that is unstable, easily tossed about like the waves of the sea. It describes what happens in a person’s mind when he is not sure that the Father will provide.

Jesus never worried about His needs. His secret was that He never took His eyes off the Father who provides. Learn from Jesus. Fix your eyes on the Father in heaven, and your worries shall cease.

The Lord’s blessing be upon you today! Amen.

For further study: Luke 12:22-34

Resting Like God

Daily Devotional: Day 108

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”

The Christian life is about imitating our Father in heaven. In Ephesians 5:1, the Bible says, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children” (RSV). The first person you must imitate in life is God, your heavenly Father. We are His children, so it makes sense that we should want to be like our Divine Parent. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. On the seventh day, He rested from His work. Think about it: Even God takes a rest. Resting is sacred.

Resting is a deserved break from working. We must, therefore, distinguish it from sloth or laziness. God rested after His work of creation. The point is, you need to earn your rest. When you do that, it makes resting more meaningful, refreshing and rewarding. Resting does not mean inactivity. You can be resting while engaging in stress-free activity that refreshes your spirit, body and mind. For example, you might spend time walking in a park while reflecting on the beauty of God’s creation. You might lie still in your couch meditating on the goodness of the Father and His Word. You might also want to read good books that edify you, or listen to good Christian music (not all “Christian music” is good). The writer of this Devotional, for instance, enjoys a variety of ways to rest. One of his favorites is to just lie still and listen to Handel’s Messiah while contemplating God’s breathtaking plan of salvation.

God wants you to imitate Him. Always keep that in mind. And imitating Him includes learning to take regular, meaningful, refreshing rest. From time to time, you might want to turn off your TV, video games, or even take a break from social media activity. Don’t allow your eyes, mind and body to be constantly bombarded by the latest entertainment news in town. This is part of being a child of the Father. At times, the best thing to do is to take a step back and just be.

Getting quality rest is a godly thing to do.

Resting doesn’t always mean sleeping. Quality rest means understanding that your mind and body need time to recover and be replenished. Don’t push your body and mind to the point where they can no longer support you. In today’s world, you need to be intentional about resting. Therefore, learn from your Father in heaven, and make a commitment to incorporate biblical rest into your life.

Prayer:

Dear Father, it is a privilege to be called your child. And it is an honor to imitate you. Grant me a spirit of wisdom and of revelation to know you more. And as I know you more, let me become more and more like you. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Exodus 31:12-18