Matt. 11:28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Matt. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matt. 11:30 For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”
One of the most powerful and important things that Jesus offers us is found in these verses of scripture, rest for our souls. When you fully understand what the soul is and how it affects your life you will know why this rest in your soul is so important. One verse that reveals this is 3 John 2, which tells us that it is God’s desire for us to prosper in all areas of our life and to live a life of health even as our soul prospers. A soul that is prospering is a soul at rest.
Even doctors have revealed that one of the key elements in chronic health issues, sickness, disease, and other health related problems are often the result of stress, which breaks down our immune system. When your soul is at rest you are not going to be stressed. You will not have the cares of life weighing you down, nor will you live in worry, fear, and anxiety. But thank the Lord we don’t have to. As a child of God every believer should be walking in what Jesus promised for us. Rest for your soul is one of if not the most important promise because of how it affects every other area of your life.
James 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Before we learn about how to get this rest for our soul, we need to define what our soul is. We often accept things in life by just hearing what someone else says without knowing if it is actually true or not. You see we often use the term in Christianity about getting “souls” saved. But here in James we find out that our souls are not saved as James is writing to believers. The soul is only a part of what makes up who you are. You are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body. When born again it is the spirit man within who is saved. The soul, which is made up of our mind, will, and emotions, is not saved.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 we find out about these three parts of man. Paul had stated that our whole spirit, soul, and body should be preserved blameless at the coming of the Lord. It is easy to see when defining what our soul is why having rest for our soul is so important. James tells us here that it is in receiving the Word of God through humility that our souls are saved. Without our minds being renewed to the Word of God we are going to continue to live our life based on the old nature and not the new one we received as our spirit become brand new. Rest for our soul has to do with rest in our mind, will, and emotions.
First and foremost to have rest for your soul you must “Come to Jesus”. This is actually something we don’t just do one time when we give our life to Christ; it is something we do as an ongoing part of our walk with Him. Clearly there will be no rest in the soul of one who has not become born again. Until you receive the Spirit of God within you and get your spirit made new, scripture teaches that the Word of God is foolishness to those who are perishing. The Word is a vital part of getting this rest in our souls. So we must make sure that we have been truly born again. Romans tells us that God’s Spirit will bear witness with our spirit that we are children of God. When someone has godly sorrow it produces repentance and leads them into this salvation experience. Now they have the ability to renew their soul to the Word of God.
This leads us to the continual aspect of coming unto Jesus on a daily basis. Jesus is the Word of God as we are told in the gospel of John. We don’t come to Him just for a born again experience and automatically get rest for our soul. Remember it isn’t saved. We need to have a desire to come to the Word of God each day and spend time with the Lord first and foremost as a time of fellowship with Him. Never forget that what this is all about is a relationship with God. Jesus is the Word of God made manifest and walked among men. We come to His Word to initiate fellowship with Him. We should pick up our Bibles because we want to spend time with Him, not because we are trying to earn something from God, or prove something to Him. We simply should desire to get to know the Lord.
In doing this as New Testament believers we should spend a good amount of our time in the New Testament because that is our covenant with God. The four gospels were written for us so we could come to know the Lord and what He desires for our life. The epistles were in fact written directly to the church so we could develop as believers in Christ, and learn from those who learned directly from the Lord. We should read the Old Testament as well, but we need to interpret the Old Testament in light of the New. We also learn a lot about God in the Old Testament and we have examples of things we can grow from as well.
As you come to Jesus, He said in our foundation text of verse 29 that we are to take His yoke upon us and let Him teach us. This is a vital key for us to obtain the rest Jesus wants us to have. It is where many miss it when it comes to experiencing this peaceful tranquility within your soul that you cannot get any other way. He must become our teacher and we must become His student.
James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
In verse 29 and 30 of Matthew 11 Jesus refers to us taking His yoke upon us, and in verse 30 it says that His yoke fits perfectly. Think about what those yokes were primarily made of back in His day. They were made of wood and used mostly for oxen to be yoked together so they could harness the power of those two animals working side by side. Jesus as a carpenter would have probably known something about yokes because carpenters would have made them. His yoke (His way of doing things) will fit us perfectly.
In James chapter 1 we are told that we are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. This is how we allow Jesus to become our teacher. To obtain the rest in your soul you not only need to be born again and develop relationship with the Lord, but you must begin to learn from the Word of God how to make life work. If we don’t acknowledge what the Word of God tells us about living life then we are going to continue to live under the old ways of our fallen nature and be conformed to the world. Those who are of the world do not walk in the rest that comes from Jesus. Jesus needs to not only be your Savior; He needs to become the Lord over every part of your life.
Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
Luke 6:47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:
Luke 6:48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.
Luke 6:49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
Jesus here in Luke’s gospel states that there are those who call Him Lord, but they don’t do the things He says. We shouldn’t just write off our life thinking we are doing what scripture says, but in fact we should examine our lives each day to make sure we are walking in line with the Word of God, which is learning from Him. You never stop learning. If we say Jesus is Lord over our life and yet only hear what He says but we don’t do it, then we are building our lives without a foundation to stand on. When storms come, and they do come, we will fall.
But notice what Jesus said in verse 48 about the one who came to Him, heard what He had to say, and then did what He said. They built their house on a rock and storms came to them as well. They not only were still standing after the storm had come and gone, they were not even shaken in the midst of the storm. Do you know why? They had rest in their souls. It is a sad thing to see believers who either don’t take time to come to Him, or even though they know what His Word says they don’t do what it says. James said this person is self-deceived.
Child of God storms come to all because we live in a fallen world. But I have great news for you today if you will come to Jesus continually and build relationship with Him, let Him teach you His ways of walking by faith, walking in love, and walking in obedience to His commands, you will find rest for your soul. This produces a life free from the worries, cares, and stresses of life. He has rest for your soul!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker