The Rest of Meekness
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
The burden borne by mankind is a heave and a crushing thing. It attacks the heart and mind and reaches the body only from within.
First, there is the burden of pride. The labor of self-love is a heavy one indeed. Think for yourself whether much of your sorrow has not risen from someone speaking slightingly of you. As long as you set yourself up as a little god to which you must be loyal there will be those who will delight to offer affront to your idol. How then can you hope to have inward peace?
There is also the burden of pretense. By this I mean not hypocrisy, but the common human desire to put the best foot forward and hide from the world our real inward poverty. For sin has played many evil tricks upon us, and one has been infusing into us a false sense of shame. There is hardly a man or woman who dares to be just what he or she is without doctoring up the impression. The fear of being found out gnaws like rodents within their hearts.
Another source of burden is artificiality. I am sure that most people live in secret fear that some day they will be careless and by chance an enemy or friend will be allowed to peep into their poor empty souls. So they are never relaxed.
The heart of the world is breaking under this load. There is no release from our burden apart from the meekness of Christ. Good keen reasoning may help slightly, but so strong is this vice that if we push it down one place it will come up somewhere else. To men and women everywhere Jesus says, “Come unto me….and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28) The rest He offers is the rest of meekness, the blessed relief which comes when we accept ourselves for what we are and cease to pretend.
A. W. Tozer
What are those things that cause us to be anxious or fearful or worried? Are they not things over which we have no control and very little influence? Do we not spend great amounts of time and effort in the futile endeavor of trying to be someone other than who God has created us to be? We know that millions of dollars are spent daily in the attempt to look better, to appear better and to impress others. Advertising convinces us that in order to be important we have to look important and that requires the right face, the right figure, the right car, the right house and address, the right education, the right job, and the right social group to which we belong. Many pursue these only to find at the end of the day they are still empty and unsatisfied.
25 “Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, as to what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the harvest] nor gather [the crops] into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by worrying can add one hour to [the length of] his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothes? See how the lilies and wildflowers of the field grow; they do not labor nor do they spin [wool to make clothing], 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory and splendor dressed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive and green today and tomorrow is [cut and] thrown [as fuel] into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Therefore do not worry or be anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted), saying, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ 32 For the [pagan] Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; [but do not worry,] for your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.
The question then is this: How can I become free from all these things that keep me in such bondage? Jesus gives us a very simple answer, “Come unto me….”
28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.”
The power of full surrender and submission to God is the rest of trusting Him to care for us. When we yield our lives completely to Him we receive from Him everything that we can ever need. When we learn this principle then our stress and anxieties and worries are consumed by His love and grace and we can rest knowing that He is making a way and bringing us into His rest.
Hebrews tells us that one day we will enter completely into the rest of God. Think for a moment about heaven. Do you think there will be anything there that will worry or trouble us? I think not for there all our labors end, our trials and temptations cease and the fullness of peace and joy will be ours. But we don’t have to wait for heaven to walk in such rest here on earth for the God who has made heaven possible is the same God who is with us and in us. And if He has such in store for the future does He not also offer it to us now in the present for scriptures says that He is always the same, past, present, and future?
Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].
Paul gives us excellent instructions on how to obtain this place of rest. He says that we must choose to meet every situation with “prayer and petition with thanksgiving” rather than being “anxious or worried about anything.” Now this advice comes from a man that is in prison waiting for his execution. This most surely gives validity to his words. He is not in some secure blessed place but in dire circumstances he writes these words. I doubt most of us will ever be in a place where we are facing such a future but most of us face situations daily that are beyond our knowledge or strength. So we choose to apply these words and pray with thanksgiving rather than spending our time being anxious over those things which we have no control. Paul says if we choose “prayer and petition with thanksgiving” over “anxious or worried” then “the peace of God stands guard over your heart” giving you rest. Like a little child who is being held by a parent and is so comforted and secure that they can sleep, we can place ourselves in the hands of our loving Father and rest knowing that He will keep us through life here and the one to come.
I leave you with the words of Paul:
This is why I suffer as I do. Still, I am not ashamed; for I know Him [and I am personally acquainted with Him] whom I have believed [with absolute trust and confidence in Him and in the truth of His deity], and I am persuaded [beyond any doubt] that He is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him until that day [when I stand before Him].
2 Timothy 1:12
Dr. John Thompson