Have you ever felt weary and burdened and it seemed your life was coming apart at the seams? If so, you probably were experiencing some stress. Sress is a big issue in many people’s lives but especially so at this time of year. God is aware of that stress in your life. In fact, Jesus spoke to that sense of being overloaded and overwhelmed by stressful situations. In Matthew 11, Jesus said that if we did three things—come , take and learn— then we would find rest for our souls. Finding this kind of rest will significantly lower the stress level in our lives. The first thing Jesus said is: come to me. When Jesus was on earth, many people came to Him for different reasons. Some came because they had a question. Some came because they had an illness. Some came because somebody they loved had died. Some came out of curiosity. Jesus never criticized anybody for the reaons they came to Him. He didn’t care why they came just as long as they came to Him. Rest is not something that you normally think about coming to Jesus for. You might think about coming to Him for forgiveness or for healing. You might think about coming to Him for direction and wisdom. But Jesus says, I want you to also think about coming to Me for rest which will help when you are weary and burdened with stress and anxiety.
Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 55:22, 62:1, 142:3; Proverbs 20:24; Matthew 11:28-30; Galatians 5:25
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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
Who or what do you turn to first when you are stressed out? If you’re honest, it’s probably not Jesus. When people get stressed out, the first thing many of them turn to is something with a screen; television, computer, tablet or phone. Maybe you turn to food or alcohol to try and deal with your stress. You may turn to some hobby or recreational activity. Jesus lets us know that none of those things are going to take care of the rest our souls need. Those things can’t relieve your emotional and spiritual tension and stress. Only God can rest our souls. In Isaiah 40, we’re told that those people who wait upon God will get “fresh” strength. Fresh strength is strength you didn’t know you had because it’s strength that comes from God. It’s like getting plugged into the heavenly power source. God says, “Don’t plug into TV. Don’t plug into food or alcohol. Don’t plug into all these other things. Plug into Me.” The first thing you need to do when you’re emotionally, mentally or spiritually stressed out is get alone with God. God reminds us in Isaiah 40 that we need a quiet time with Him: those who wait upon God. Most of us are not very good at waiting. We’re always in a hurry and one of the most difficult things for many of us to do is to wait. We don’t like to wait. Yet God says when we’re stressed out and weary and burdened that is when we need to wait on Him.
When was the last time that you felt weary and burdened? What makes this time of year so stressful? What or who do you turn to first when you are stressed out? How would you explain what Jesus meant when He said, “Come to me.”? What are some things in life that people get yoked to other than Jesus? How hard is it for you to give up control of your life to Jesus? Do you believe people’s egos are responsible for some of their stress?
If you want less stress and feelings of being burdened down and weary, then commit to do these things: 1. Come to Jesus. 2. Give up control by being yoked together with Jesus. 3. Learn from Jesus how to be gentle and humble.
Dear Lord Jesus, I need rest for my weary and burdened soul. Thank you for calling me to come to you and find that much needed rest from the stress and anxiety I am experiencing. Jesus, I’m coming to you now and trusting that I will receive all that you have for me so I can more fully experience the abundant life you give. Amen