Day 6: Soul at Rest
Saturday, February 12, 2022
Our theme for this first week of prayer and fasting comes from Pastor John Mark Comer’s book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.
“If you want to experience the life of Jesus, you have to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus.”
That is our aim; not only to hear and apply the words of Jesus but to follow his example in the way we live. That means organizing our lives around three basic goals: be with Jesus, become like Jesus, and do what he would do if he were you. How would he respond to the pressures you face today? How would he engage in your relationships? What would be different about the ways he would spend his time, energy, and attention today?
Today is our second day of digging into Jesus’ life-giving invitation in Matthew 11. Yesterday, we explored his invitation to exchange our weariness and heavy burdens for rest. Let’s look further into what it means to find rest for our souls and spend time experiencing it for ourselves.
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’”
Take a moment to think about what rest for your soul would even look like. How would it feel? How would it be different from what you normally experience? Now, it’s time to ask yourself a difficult question:
Is this kind of rest for your soul even possible in your current lifestyle? Are you so busy, distracted, or both that being able to stop long enough to spend time with God and focus on your inner world daily feels like an impossibility? The reality is that this is how many of us go through life.
Experiencing the rest Jesus offers requires allowing ourselves to learn from him, both in his words and his ways. It takes spending time with Jesus to find that gentleness of heart. It takes time to undo many of the patterns of the world we’ve consciously or subconsciously adopted that are not compatible with the way of Jesus.
The theologian Dallas Willard wrote the following:
“In this truth lies the secret of the easy yoke: the secret involves living as [Jesus] lives in the entirety of his life—adopting his overall lifestyle…. Our mistake is to think that following Jesus consists in loving our enemies, going the ‘second mile,’ turning the other cheek, suffering patiently and hopefully—while living the rest of our lives just as everyone else around us does. It’s a strategy bound to fail.”
Experiencing rest for our souls requires a different way of living. In biblical language, the soul is our whole person—our essence, inside and out. The beginning of rest for our souls comes from spending time alone with God in prayer. As we have seen, that is where our hearts and souls are formed to be like Him. It is the first and best step we can take to experience his rest and move forward on our journey of following Jesus and living life his way.
Enter into rest for your soul by being with Jesus. Ask him to teach you His ways of doing life and to help make your heart and soul like his. Keep asking Him to trade your weariness and burdens for his rest. Take a few moments, breathe deeply, and focus all your attention on Jesus. Pray about the parts of your life that are incompatible with his way and ask for help changing them.
Prayer: “Jesus, I bring all of myself to You today. I want to learn from you and do life your way. Help me find your humble and gentle heart. Take my heavy burdens and exchange them for your rest. Show me how my lifestyle is incompatible with yours and keeps me from the rest you promise. I give you all of me. Amen.”
By Dave Mann
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