READING: Matthew 11
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: I am thinking today about how many people around the world are trying to “work their way” to God. Some are striving to do enough good works to outweigh their bad, hoping their god will allow them entrance to heaven on that basis. Others are still offering goods to their gods. Still others are giving animal sacrifices to their gods. I even think of some folks who are following the religion of legalism, believing that as long as they remain within narrowly defined parameters, they will be okay with God.
In all of these cases, nothing fully resolves our sin issue. All the good works and sacrifices combined cannot atone for our sins before God who is holy. Instead, they leave us in bondage we cannot break. The burden of trying to please God on our own leads only to deeper and deeper bondage — and we’re crushed under the weight of our own failed efforts.
Meanwhile, Jesus makes it so graciously simple in comparison:
Matt. 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
When we’re weary and burdened under our own efforts, Jesus calls us to rest in Him. Following Him is not without requirements — that is, He still expects us to be yoked to Him — but being yoked to the Master brings salvation and peace. We find spiritual rest when we fully depend on God, go with Him where He tells us to go, and continually learn from Him.
ACTION STEPS: Evaluate these questions in your life:
- Am I trying to work my way to God?
- If so, do I realize I’m only working my way into bondage?
- Am I truly yoked to Christ, going in whatever direction He leads?
PRAYER: “Help me, Lord, to find my rest in You even while I follow You fully. Forgive me if my life reflects a tendency to follow You in my own efforts.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Matthew 12:22-50, Luke 11