February 12, 2021
Dear Burdened: Just Come.
SHALA W. GRAHAM
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"Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.'" Matthew 11:28 (NLT)
There is a noticeable trend in my prayer journal lately. For months, I've been asking God for clarity and His exact direction as I navigate some major life transitions, involving everything from career path to family dynamics.
Can I just get a burning bush, Jesus? I promise I won't fight You on what You are calling me to do. I just need You to spell it out, so there is no way I get it wrong.
What often trips me up is the tension and fear between what my heart deeply desires to do, and what I think I'm supposed to do. Though neither is wrong or sinful, I want to know the most proper path for a good Christian. I deeply desire to obey God, but I don't want to leave anything out. I'm a perfectionist who wants everything to be right and better.
The enemy is good at attacking me with thoughts and expectations rooted in legalism. I can quickly muddy a pure-hearted devotion to God, which motivates me to love and serve well, with ideas that tell me I have to execute all the things in a prescribed way. I'm left feeling as though I need to work harder and accomplish everything commanded of all Christ-followers in equal and consistent order. And at the end of the day, that feels like a very heavy, failure-filled burden.
But Jesus interrupts my exhausting, condemning thoughts with a simple invitation to come to Him.
In Matthew 11, Jesus addresses the crowds. He is disappointed by how the Pharisees and religious leaders have burdened God's people with human-made legal requirements and stipulations. So He offers the people - and you and me - this invitation:
"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'" (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT).
Yes, please! I am weary and burdened. My soul needs Your rest, Jesus!
Notice the three gentle action steps Jesus asks of us: "Come to me ... Take my yoke ... Let me teach you ..."
Now look at what He promises us: "I will give you rest ... you will find rest for your souls."
When I rest and learn from the humble and gentle heart of Jesus, the "burden" He puts on my heart is light. In Him, there is freedom from legalistic hoops and expectations. I can simply lean into His voice and follow like one of His sheep, as John 10:27 says: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me" (NLT).
Friend, listen to the voice of Jesus and come to Him. He's already given you everything you need to accomplish what He designed you to do. Nothing more. Nothing less. But the most important thing He gives you? Himself.
Father, I thank You for inviting me into this saving relationship with Jesus. I trust that when I am yoked with Him, I will fulfill my unique calling because He is helping me every step of the way. Help me receive Your freedom and rest daily. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Peter 1:3, "By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence." (NLT)
Our next First 5 study is here: How Then Can We Be Friends? Overcoming the Issues that Hinder Your Relationships, A Philippians Study Guide. Relationships can be complicated and challenging. When disagreements come and tension arises, how can we work through them and stay friends? Join us for our study on the book of Philippians beginning February 22. Click here to get your Study Guide today!
You can find Shala W. Graham on Instagram for everyday encouragement to courageously chase the calling of Jesus on your life.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What legalistic or human-made burden is Jesus inviting you to release to experience His rest?
What desire has Jesus placed in you to fulfill for His glory?
Let us hear from you! Add your thoughts about today's devotion in the comments.
© 2021 by Shala W. Graham. All rights reserved.