Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and
learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and
my burden is light.
~ Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
What does transformation mean to you? When you think about yourself ten years ago, would you say that you have been transformed from who you were then to who you are now? The new life in Christ that we have been invited into is all about transformation—momentarily, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, one degree at a time, slowly becoming less like ourselves and more like our Jesus.
But what happens when it gets hard? What happens when obedience is painful? What do we do when the transformation that God is calling us to is costly? The common answer to this question, at least from what I’ve personally experienced and seen in others, is that we grow weary. Our knees grow weak from standing, and they hurt from time spent on them in prayer. Our hearts become heavy instead of hopeful. Our minds are exhausted instead of encouraged. We don’t even know why we’re surprised by any of this. Jesus did in fact warn us of the cost of being His disciple. He never promised us an easy life free from trial and pain. Still, we’re worn out, tired of the pruning process, and ready to throw in the towel of what feels like striving toward obedience. Our feet are dirty and calloused from the long journey.
We need rest.
There’s no question that we have indeed been called to follow in His footsteps. There’s no question that we have been commissioned to carry our cross. There’s no debating on the matter of obedience. These are the non-negotiables. But at the end of the day, when all is said and done, when our arms are tired from all the heavy lifting and our minds and hearts have reached their capacity, where does the transformation actually occur?
In His presence.
It’s not in our doing, but rather in His presence. We have allowed our finite, human limitations to project limitations on our infinite God. We’ve confused obedience with salvation, and forgotten that it is by grace through faith that we are saved. We’ve erased margin from our lives, therefore eliminating the discipline of rest. And it is in the “rest” that transformation occurs.
Take a moment to read Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)
What is the opening command that we receive from the very mouth of Christ?
Come to me and find rest.
How is it, then, that we have confused His invitation “to rest” with our striving “to do?” His invitation to rest is really a veiled request for our very hearts. He’s not after our hands, friends. He has two of His own, and He holds the entire universe in them. He wants our hearts. He wants our affections. He wants our energy. He wants our time. He wants our focus. He wants our attention. He wants our hopes and dreams. He wants our marriages and our children. He wants us, not what we can do for Him.
Transformation occurs in His presence. When we come to Him, laying all else aside, recognizing that what is pressing and urgent to us is not moving Him or causing Him an ounce of stress or anxiety, we find rest. He’s got it under control. He just wants us to come. He invites us to rest.
When was the last time you did?
Transformation occurs in His presence. So, live in the nearness of it.
- When is the last time you felt truly rested, not necessarily from physical exhaustion but a deep, soul rest?
- How does time spent with Jesus change your perspective on the stressful things in your life?
Jesus, thank you for inviting me to come to you, even when I don’t feel worthy, even when it’s been so long since I’ve accepted that invitation to come. Thank you for promising to give me rest when I do come to you. Help me to remember where true rest is found. Your promises are so much better than all of my striving. So today, I come to you. Amen.
- Mark 6:31
- Psalm 51:12
- Psalm 46:10
Cherie Wagner’s life-long passion is two-fold: knowing Jesus Christ and making Him known. Founder of Neue Thing Ministries and author of Found On My Knees, Awake O Sleeper, Rest, and Hope: Tethered to an Unwavering God, Cherie writes Bible studies and books that will encourage, equip, and empower women with the Word of God. Cherie, her husband Jeremy, and their son Redford live in Mesa, Arizona. Born and raised in Chicago and transplanted to the desert of Arizona, Cherie is a city girl at heart with a wild love for the mountains, a coffee connoisseur, a lover of knowledge, and forever a student of God’s Word. Connect with Cherie at neuething.org.
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