Spiritual RestDecember 30, 2016
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. — Matthew 11:28
I am convinced that one reason the devil has access to people’s emotions is that they keep flying through life without taking time to get renewed in the Presence of the Lord. They ignore their need to sit, to rest, and to wait upon the Lord. As a result, their perception of things around them gets blurred. Doing too much at too fast of a pace has worn them down, causing them to lose their focus and affecting their ability to see things the way they really are.
I know exactly what it’s like to move at such a fast pace — to get the adrenaline flowing and then keep it flowing like a river for days at a time. When you’re moving that fast, it’s difficult to stop when you finally try to sit down and rest because your adrenaline is still racing. You may be sitting down physically, but you’re still running emotionally!
There’s a big problem with moving so fast. The demands of our schedule — job, family, church, friendships, and so forth — start piling up, each overlaying the other as we race from place to place. When this happens, we start becoming ineffective in every area of life. We’re just trying to do too much, too fast. Eventually our busyness leads to a breakdown of everything. The body suffers. The mind suffers. The work suffers because we’re too tired to perform at 100 percent and therefore can’t do our job to our full potential. This then results in our having to battle feelings of condemnation for not doing a better job!
Let’s face it — it’s extremely difficult to do everything simultaneously. You may be able to swing it for a while, but in time, you’ll start missing important details, forgetting what you said, missing appointments, messing up in your finances, and even getting emotional over unemotional issues because you’ve pushed yourself beyond your limit. If this is you, slow down and set aside some time to spend with the Lord.
I have to admit that sometimes I also fall into the trap of doing too many things too fast. At times, I feel like a locomotive that is racing down the track! It’s not that I want to move so fast, but to get it all done correctly, I have to keep moving and stay on schedule. If I delay in one area, it throws everything else off schedule and creates a schedule crisis for many others in the ministry. For everyone else to do their jobs effectively, it means I must stay on schedule and keep on track every day of my life.
In moments when I feel overwhelmed, I hear Jesus speak to my spirit and say, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Notice that Jesus begins this verse, “Come unto me.…” This is from the Greek word deute, and it is a greeting that literally means, “Come — come now! I am inviting you to come!” In Greek, it has the feeling of an exclamation, which lets us know that Jesus joyfully welcomes us to come to Him.
Jesus then says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour.…” This implies that Jesus’ invitation to come to Him is a special invitation directed to those who “labour.” The word “labour” in Greek is from the word kopiao, which describes a person who has become completely exhausted due to nonstop, continuous work. This is obviously a person who has a lot of responsibility and is doing his best to do it all in a professional and excellent fashion. In order to do everything that is on his plate, this person is required to work hard all the time. That’s why Jesus beckons this person to come to Him!
And Jesus doesn’t beckon only the hard worker; He also calls out to those who are “heavy laden.” These words are from the word phortidzo, depicting a person who is carrying a very heavy load on his back. Perhaps this load is his job, his family, his financial situation, or some personal burden. Regardless of what it is, Jesus pleads for the “heavy laden” person to come to Him!
To anyone who responds to this invitation and comes to Jesus, He promises that He will give them “rest.” The word “rest” is the Greek word anapauo, the word that means to refresh, to rejuvenate, to reinvigorate, or to revitalize. You see, the Lord wants to refresh us so we can keep doing what He has called us to do. He wants us to be refilled so we can remain effective.
The only way we can remain continually effective is by making sure we spend time with the Lord. But in order to truly enter His Presence so we can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, we must first quiet ourselves by getting away from the commotion of life and finding a quiet place to worship, pray, and read the Word. That’s the only way we can quiet our soul enough to be able to hear God’s voice speaking to our inner man. To think that we are going to run into the Lord’s Presence and get everything we need in the space of five minutes just isn’t realistic. We must schedule time to be alone with God.
Don’t just run in and run out of the Lord’s Presence. Plan to settle down and stay there long enough to get everything you need to carry on! Once you’ve stopped long enough to really rest in His Presence, you’re finally in a position where you can start receiving from Him. Don’t move too fast. Don’t leave until you receive the refreshing you need. Just hang around in God’s Presence as long as you possibly can! Tarry there awhile, and let the Holy Spirit give you peace, joy, strength, and direction.
Learn to rest in God’s Presence. You see, there is a quiet place in Him, a place of refreshing, where you will find comfort, peace, and protection — every time. This is why Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Notice that Jesus doesn’t say He will come to you. He says that you must choose to go to Him! But if you will make the deliberate choice to wait upon the Lord, Jesus promises that you will find this promised rest!
This is your key to remaining steadfast and strong enough to keep on schedule and to stay on track with everything you need to do. And I promise you — if you will wait long enough in His Presence, He will speak to your heart to let you know if all your activities are ordained of Him or if there are some obligations or activities you need to eliminate.
Spending time with the Lord is not an option — it is the answer! So come into the Presence of God and allow Him to refresh you. As you do, the Holy Spirit will release His resurrection power and you will be quickened in your physical body. You will be strengthened, refreshed, recharged, and supernaturally empowered by God so you can get back out there with a fresh perspective and new energy to finish what you have started!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I know that You have been calling out to me, beckoning me to spend time with You. But I’ve been so busy that I haven’t made time in my schedule to come to You. Today I am making the choice to put everything else aside and to make my time with You the top priority in my day. I need Your strength; I need Your fellowship; I need Your tender touch; and I need to hear Your voice. Spirit of God, my schedule is very full, and I need special strength to make it through this busy time. So I am coming to You today to be refreshed so I can carry on!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that the only way I can remain continually effective is to spend time with the Lord. I will therefore quiet myself from the commotion of life and get into the Presence of Jesus. I will settle down and plan to stay there long enough to get everything I need from Him. Staying in His Presence is not an option! It is my key to remaining steadfast and strong enough to keep on schedule and to stay on track with everything I need to do. The Holy Spirit will release His resurrection power in me, and I will be strengthened, refreshed, recharged, and empowered by God. Then I can get back out there with a fresh perspective and new energy to finish what I’ve started!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. When do you regularly spend time with the Lord? Is your time with Him more important to you than all the other things that you’re scheduled to accomplish? If your time with Him really is that important, is there a reason you haven’t planned it into your schedule?
2. When you spend time with the Lord, how long do you usually stay in His Presence? What do you do when you are there with Him? Do you read your Bible, pray, sing songs of worship?
3. How can you rework your schedule to make sure your time with God is the top priority? Why don’t you look at your calendar and see what you can move around in order to accommodate your time with Jesus?