Hello, Christian. Do you think rest is a four letter word? Let’s consider how Jesus managed rest.
Early in the Old Testament, rest is both exemplified and commanded. God provided an example of rest in that He, yes, God Himself, rested: “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day,” (Genesis 2:2). Later, God commanded His people to work only six of the seven days in the week (Exodus 20:9).
Rest is a physical act with physical benefits, but it is more, much more. Rest is a spiritual act with a spiritual emphasis: a time set aside to reflect on who God is and one’s relationship with Him.
Jesus highlighted the spiritual character of rest in the New Testament book of Matthew – a rest He freely, completely, and wonderfully provides:
“Come to Me, all you 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 (NKJV)
Rest is commanded, Jesus provides it, so why do Christians resist it?
It could be that some believers are simply unaware of what the Word of God has to say about rest, and if that’s you then after reading this article that reason is no longer available. However, a more complete answer requires a more thorough understanding of what Matthew 11:28-30 means.
First, Jesus said, “Come to Me,” (Matthew 11:28). That’s an invitation with a promise. The invitation is a personal relationship with Jesus. That’s you taking the Son of God as Savior and Lord.
The promise is rest.
Jesus can promise rest because the heaviest burden humanity bears is separation from God. With Jesus as Savior and Lord, you are no longer separated from God. The burden is lifted. Rest is possible.
Second, Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you,” (Matthew 11:29, NKJV). Yoking carries with it the sense of being a true disciple. The Come-to-Me-invitation is a serious matter. Lip-service is not enough. True discipleship is required.
Third, there’s a learning component, “Learn from Me,” Jesus said, (Matthew 11:29). Biblical ignorance can be an impediment to the full knowledge, understanding, and feeling of His rest.
So, why do Christians resist that which is commanded and provided, and necessary and good for the body and soul? It could be that Christians are learning, but learning (figuratively) from the wrong book – a comic book. They may be swept up in the Superman/Superwoman complex: a self-strength that is indefatigable and invincible … and impossible.
You can’t be a Superman and Superwoman and find rest. Instead, take off the cape, come to Him, take up His yoke, learn from Him, and enjoy His promised rest.