“Come to Me,” Jesus said, “all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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” (Matthew 11:28-29). I recently read a message from Jesus that someone had received while praying, which said much the same thing but in terms that most of us today can relate to more easily. “The only way you’re going to hold up under the strain you’re under is by learning to pace yourself and to spend quality time with Me.”
That may seem simple and straightforward enough, but if you’ve ever tried to do it, you probably found that it’s easier said than done. One reason for that is because it goes against human nature. When you have so much to do, the last thing you feel like doing is slowing things down and taking time to meditate, to get your mind off of the work at hand and onto Jesus. You would have to invest more time and effort in the spiritual, in things like praying and waiting for Him to change things, which would leave less time for the physical or mental work you’re caught up in. That’s not what you feel like doing, nor does it seem like good sense when you have a pressing deadline or things are speeding along all around you.
What exactly does it mean to “rest in Jesus”? It means trusting that once you have asked Jesus to provide solutions to your problems or to help you with the work at hand, He will take charge and do just that. It means trusting that He will show you what you can do to help the situation, that He will empower you to do your part, and that He will do the rest, whatever you can’t do. It means stepping back from your problems or work, shutting out the world around you, and letting your spirit be strengthened through communion with Him.
In short, resting in Jesus means turning matters over to Him and then trusting Him for the outcome. That way, you’re not under such pressure because He is carrying the weight, not you. You’re still busy‚ but most of your “work”—and your most important work—is the spiritual part, the praying, believing, and trusting. When you focus on that, you set wheels in motion in the spiritual realm that have the potential to bring about far greater results in the physical realm than would be humanly possible—miraculous results.
Not taking time to rest in Jesus perpetuates a vicious cycle. The more you concentrate on working in the physical realm, the less time you have to rest in Him, which makes your work harder, which leaves you with even less time. But making the change from trying to do it all yourself to stopping and asking Jesus to help can start a positive cycle of strength, relief from pressure, and real progress. Soon it will be easier to stop and take that time with Jesus, because you will experience firsthand the rewards of doing so. More will be getting done, with less wear and tear on you, and you will feel more rested and spiritually recharged.
It’s easy to get on the treadmill of work and feel that you have to keep running to keep up with the pace, yet you feel like you’re not really getting anywhere. You need to learn to recognize when you’re getting to that point and stop, step off the treadmill‚ and ask Jesus to help you get back in step with Him.
If we want to get the best results, our time with Jesus in prayer and communication with Him can’t just be quick and superficial, squeezed in here or there while our mind is still full of the business of the day. We have to take time to connect with Him, share our heart with Him, and let Him clear our mind and soothe our spirit.
Your time with Him is really the most important part of the day. If you get in the habit of taking that time first thing in the morning, His presence will be with you all day to guide and help you. It’s a whole new mentality, really. Instead of trying to handle everything yourself and get through it all as quickly as you can, you will be letting Jesus do most of the work for you. You’ll still have to play the part He shows you to play, but you’ll have peace of mind that as you do your part, He will do the rest.
“Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter into that rest” (Hebrews 4:11 NIV). That sounds a little contrary—making an effort to rest—but it is really the crux of the matter. It takes effort to pull back. The concept of resting in Jesus isn’t complicated or hard to understand, but actually doing it—leaving your old mindset and way of operating behind and entering the realm of the spirit—that takes work, and it can be difficult at first. But, once you get the hang of it, it will save you so much time and effort and stress and strain that you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.
By Maria Fontaine