Sunday Worship at 11AM | 4967 Fincher Rd., Canton, GA 30114

“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 ESV)

We are on the home stretch of our 40 days of prayer and fasting. The four areas of focus throughout our time together have been: humility, prayer, seeking God’s face, and turning from wickedness. I’ve watched as God has weaved together this collection of devotions as only the Master Weaver can. I must admit, there are times through the writing process where I’ve wondered what God is doing. Over and over, I feel like God has told me to trust Him; even when I wasn’t sure where this has all been heading. Today I want to shift our thoughts to something many of us desperately need: rest.

In our focal Scripture we see Jesus tenderly calling us to Him for true rest. Before I unpack a few thoughts about what Jesus is saying, I’d like to point out the obvious. It is Jesus Himself who gives us the rest our souls desperately need. Throughout my life I have tried to find rest in just about all this world has to offer. Outside of Christ, each thing that promised me rest only left me more broken and weary. It is only in the presence of Jesus that I have found true rest.

We see Jesus calling two groups of people to Him for rest: (1) those who labor, and (2) those who are heavy laden. The first group, those who labor, are those who desperately seek rest from their own toil. These are people who have become weary because of the lives they themselves are living and the choices they have made. This first group are those who struggle to show themselves grace and think the ultimate answer is within themselves. It is when they finally get to the end of themselves that they have no choice but to humbly come to Christ.

The second group, those who are heavy laden, are a group of people who have heavy yolks placed on their shoulders by someone else. This is someone who is desperately trying to find true rest from the expectations of other people. This group is experiencing pressures from those around them and find themselves weary and weak. Though the answer is the same for both groups, the source of their weariness is different. I wonder today, which of these two groups best describes your life? Maybe it’s a little of both!

When you find yourself weary and desperately seeking rest, regardless of how you got there, the answer is the same: Jesus. What is the first thing we must do when we find ourselves in this place? Come. To come to Jesus requires humility and honesty. Coming necessitates that we face the inevitable: we can’t find the rest we seek on our own or by the hand of another. When we come, we begin seeking Jesus, the only one who can give us the rest we seek. When we come, Jesus promises to give us what we need.

The yoke that Jesus is speaking about is actually a farming tool that farmers lay across the shoulders of a pair of oxen. This yoke is expertly crafted to be form fitting for the animals and allow the pair to work together to bear the burden. When we come to Jesus, we must throw off the yoke of the world, of unbiblical expectations of ourselves or others, of religion, or any other yoke we might be bearing. These other yokes are not like Jesus’ yoke, they are not easy or light. They are heavy, often crushing us.

Once we come to Jesus, throw off the yoke of the world, and allow Him to place His yoke upon our shoulders, something incredible happens. Jesus begins to help us bear the load as He teaches us. He gently, compassionately, and lovingly shows us how to live life the way we were created to. Here, we walk with Jesus, under His yoke as He helps us bear the burdens we face, and we find true rest for our souls.

Question: whose yoke are you bearing today? Is the yoke easy? Is it light? If it isn’t, are you bearing the yoke of Jesus or someone else’s yoke? Yesterday on day 30 of our devotion we looked at the why or the heart of why we do what we do. Do you have rest today? If not, I would strongly encourage you to prayerfully and carefully seek God’s face.

I’ll end today’s devotion with a personal story. For a period of several months (maybe years), I found myself saying “I’m trying.” As in, I’m trying to be a Godly husband. I am trying to be a good dad. I am trying to be a faithful servant. One day I finally felt God say to me: “stop trying.” God wasn’t telling me to give up, He was calling me to give in to Him. He wasn’t telling me that I couldn’t experience freedom, He was telling me it was already mine in Him. He wasn’t telling me that my life couldn’t be different, He was telling me to stop trying in my power and instead to trust in His.

I’ll admit, there are still some days where I struggle under the yoke of my own wrong expectations or unrealistic demands. There are times where I struggle under the yoke of others and their unbiblical weights they place on my shoulders. When I find myself weary, I remind myself to stop trying, throw off those yokes, and head right back to Jesus to begin again.

Father, thank You for the rest I have in Jesus. Lord, thank You that I can come to You to experience true rest for my soul. Jesus, thank You for helping me bear the burdens in my life. Thank You for Your easy yoke and burden that is light. Holy Spirit, help me spot unbiblical yokes that others try to place on my shoulders. Help me spot the yokes I myself try to put on my shoulders. Help me throw them all off and remind me to come to Jesus. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Categories: Devotion