Rest seems like an unimportant topic compared to the deep waters of justice and wisdom, however it affects us every day in one way or another. Now, when you think of rest, I’m sure visions of cat naps and large reclining chairs come to mind. And a short nap on a long day is certainly my idea of rest too! But I’d like to present a different type of rest, a deeper type of rest, that everyone needs but often neglects.
If you haven’t already assumed my point, I’m speaking today on the matter of the heart. Our hearts arguably need more rest than do our bodies! The Bible describes a restless heart as an anxious or troubled spirit. It illustrates sleepless nights and ceaseless worrying (which indicates a lack of physical rest as well). Unfortunately, anxiety is something a large portion of society deals with nowadays. The world offers medications and conversations, which are sometimes necessary instruments. But I’m just a lawyer, not a psychiatrist. And though I sometimes feel like a therapist, I’m not a professional!
First, I want you to reflect on your own heart. Maybe you’ve felt your actual heart racing for no reason, your chest tightening, your mind unable to focus. Maybe you’ve been so heavy of heart that you struggle to get out of bed or serve others in any capacity. When the worries of the world are on your shoulders, it’s no wonder you’re anxious! And let me tell you, you aren’t in it alone. Being an owner of a medical malpractice/personal injury firm puts a lot of weight on my shoulders.
Thankfully, God has been explicit in how to deal with a restless heart. At the bottom of this article you can find several Bible references regarding anxiety, and I encourage you to study them all before the anxiety and the worry come. That way you will be well-equipped when the storms of life do come. Amazingly, there are too many passages on the topic of rest to expound on here. Today, I would like to focus on one of these passages.
Like I said, in His graciousness God tells us exactly how to achieve this rest that our hearts, our souls, so desperately need. A simple answer is found in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” All we need to do is GO to Him! Now Jesus goes on to say, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” It’s a wonderful passage. It all sounds great and it’s no doubt a passage you’ve heard several times, but how does that look when applied to your daily life?
Let’s break it down. First, we must go to Him. In a broad sense, you need to make sure that you have already put your trust in Jesus. Are you relying on your works to save you from your sins? On Jesus, but also some good works? Or are you putting your full confidence in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection? I want you to take a moment today to either put your trust in Jesus (what better time than now?), or to give thanks to our perfect Savior for redeeming you! Praise God!
Now that you have confidence in your salvation, I must let you know that coming to Jesus is more than a one-time act of faith. Not that you will lose salvation and have to work to get it back, for God would not lose one of His precious sheep and deserves all the glory for our salvation. But rather in order to receive rest for your soul, faith is an act practiced each day, each hour. In the context of anxiety, we must come to God and bring our worries with us. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Bring your worries to God in prayer, and leave them at His feet. He is all-powerful, He is infinitely wise, He knows your struggles, and He cares for you.
That’s really where we can find our rest, in the character of our God. But how do you know what the character of God is? You have to learn from Him, as Matthew 11 says. An all-powerful and all-knowing God is pretty intimidating if you don’t know that He is patient, loving, merciful and generous. So, if you are struggling with anxiety today, or think you might at some point be anxious in the future, I exhort you to learn every day of God’s character.
To have a restful heart, you must go to God in faith and in prayer, leaving your worries with Him (the only One who knows how things will end up). And you must learn who God is, building your faith. “For faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17
Today, read your Bible, listen to a sermon on God’s unchanging character, thank Him for His unfailing love, and rest easy knowing that God is for you.
For further study:
Luke 12:22-34 | Joshua 1 | Matthew 6:25-34 | Psalm 94 | Jeremiah 17:5-8 | Philippians 4:4-9
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