Six Steps To Real Rest :: YouVersion Event
Church Requel
Six Steps To Real Rest
We live in a busy world. We live a hurried life. Surprisingly over the past 2 Covid years, our lives have become even more busy and more hurried.Today we talk about six steps we can take that will help us recover from the pressures many of us are facing.This is ancient wisdom given by our Lord Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30.
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  • Church Requel
    2 Marion Ave, Mansfield, OH 44903, USA
    Thursday 11:00 AM
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Six Steps To Real Rest

We live in a busy world. We live a hurried life. This has been true for most of us for most of our lives. Surprisingly over the past 2 Covid years, our lives have become even more busy and more hurried. On the surface, since many of us have remained at home more, you would think life would have slowed down. We now know the exact opposite is true. As more of our children are schooled from home, parents have taken on more of the role of the teacher. As more of us work from home, the automatic change from workplace to home place has become blurred, causing some of us to work even longer hours. We feel like we are always on call. And for those of us who are first responders, work life has taken on even more demands. More demanding hours. More demanding rules. The risks of the Covid virus are well documented. The life pressures of our new Covid lifestyle are only now being revealed.

Today I would like to talk to you about six steps that we can take today that will help us recover from the pressures many of us are facing. This is ancient wisdom given by our Lord Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Twice in these 3 verses, Jesus talks about rest. The second time, Jesus puts this rest into terms that resonate with us in our Covid-ridden world. “Find rest.” Is it possible that we have forgotten HOW to rest? Is it possible that at least part of the pressures of our home bound lives come from an inability to find real rest?

I love how Eugene Peterson has famously translated these verses in his The Message contemporary language version:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

This translation of Jesus’ ancient wisdom gives us 6 steps from tired and worn out to living freely and lightly.

Step #1 - RECOGNIZE the problem.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?”

The starting point for real rest is to understand our need. To stop and assess where we are in our stressful lives. One of our many challenges in our hurried and demanding lives is that we really don’t even have time to stop and assess what’s happening to us. We’re tired and worn out. We know that for sure! But most of us don’t know the real reason. It’s easy to conclude that it’s just all the demands of life. All the things the have to be done. All the new stresses. It’s easy to blame Covid.

But what if there is a deeper root issue? What if Covid is the surface cause but there is also a deeper issue that is robbing us of real rest? I love how Peterson includes this phrase: “Burned out on religion?” Most of us presuppose a false version of Christianity filled with rules and regulations for living. However, “religion” comes in many forms and can rob us of real rest without us even recognizing it as “religion.”

Over the last two years we have been told so many different things to do. Wear a mask. Don’t wear a mask. Wear a cloth mask and save the surgical masks for the professionals. Surgical masks are better than cloth masks, but make sure you get an N-95 mask for the best protection. Get your vaccinations to get the best protection. No, the best level of antibodies comes from having survived Covid itself. And on and on. There is the possibility of “religion” on almost any issue. I’m not here to tell you what you should believe in terms of Covid. I am here to remind you that it’s very possible to be burned out on any “religion.”

So what is “religion?” My way of thinking about this is any philosophy or proposed way of living that doesn’t include Jesus as the center-most reason for our purpose and desire. Religion can include and take over anything, even our Christianity. Religion can invade how eat, what we wear, where we go and what we do. And almost always, it’s exhausting!

Step #2 - RECOVER with Jesus.

“Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.”

Jesus tells us to come to Him. Jesus is the answer to our problem of hurriedness, busyness, pressures and burdens. When we feel “burned out”, it’s a sure sign that we are not “burrowed in” with Jesus. When Jesus is our refuge, even when we are going through stressful times of life we can “recover.” Recovery is key. Let me explain.

Our lives are never a straight line in any direction. Good and bad. Right and wrong. Better and worse. None of us are perfect - in any way, in any direction. Even when we are wrong, we are rarely perfectly wrong. When we really try hard, we never achieve perfect righteousness. Our lives ebb and flow. Some days are better than others. Some periods of our lives are more pressure filled than others.

Perfection is a vicious trap. If we expect our lives to go perfectly in one direction, then any slip up, any failure could be devastating to our own sense of who we are. Expectations are key. This is why I always ask you to look at your life today versus a year ago, ten years ago. What is the direction of your life? We should all expect that we are growing to become more like Jesus.

But it’s not perfect. It’s a direction. Occasionally we will lose our way. The pressures of life can overcome us. New and unexpected challenges come our way. New and unexpected pressures change our lives. None of us are the same person today that we were when we first committed our lives to Jesus. I’m certainly not the same 9-year-old boy! Let’s face it: no one saw Covid coming! None of us are the same as we were two years ago!

Because of these unexpected changes, Jesus tells us to “get away with Him.” Whenever our current circumstance feels like we are drifting away, Jesus tells us the same thing He told us when we first became Christians. “Come to me!” Jesus IS recovery. Jesus IS our solution, Jesus IS our answer! Jesus IS our life!

Step #3 - REAL REST is how I recover.

”I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it.”

Jesus is the answer. Real rest is how He answers. It’s interesting that Peterson translates this verse using “real rest.” This implies that there is such a thing as a false rest. A rest that isn’t real. A rest that doesn’t satisfy. A rest that doesn’t help. A rest that doesn’t refresh. How many of you can identify? You wake up as tired in spirit and emotion, if not also as tired physically, as you were the night before. How many of you can identify with being physically exhausted, but you lay there with your mind racing, unable to find real rest.

Jesus tells us He wants to show us how. This is the key to step #3. He gives us 3 ‘W’s’ to show us how:

”Walk with me.” This is another way of saying live life with me. In Jesus day, there was a LOT of walking. You wanted to go somewhere, you walked. Think of it this way. Jesus is saying to you and to me that He wants us to journey with him. When we go somewhere, go with Jesus. When we do something, do it with Jesus! This is why I so often remind you to begin each day with a short devotional time. Start your day with Jesus. Commit your way with Jesus. Earn your pay with Jesus.

”Work with me.”You might be surprised this one is in here. What does “work” have to do with “rest?” Most of us don’t think of our jobs as having anything to do with our relationship with Jesus. Nothing could be farther from the truth. All of our lives - work life, student life, home life, married life, dating life, parent life, retired life - all of it is about relationship with Jesus. Whatever we do, wherever we go, Jesus goes with us and says,

“Watch how I do it.” This means that we are always aware of Jesus’ presence. This also means that we are always in relationship. Always praying, always listening, always watching. We think we know how to do our work, as in we could show Jesus how to operate a computer or a crane or a car. But that closes our minds to learning anything new about life and about our pressures. If we will open our minds to the reality that there is nothing about what we do that Jesus doesn’t already know about. Jesus wants to show us, to teach us…

Step #4 - RHYTHMS of grace unforced.

“Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”

You’ve heard the phrase, “march to the beat of a different drummer?” Bet you didn’t know that this came first from Jesus! When we walk with Jesus, work with Jesus, watch how Jesus does it, we discover that His way of life is “the beat of a different drummer,” far different than the beat of life to which we have been marching.

But it is a rhythm for sure! And when we are out of the beat we just mess things all up! You’ve all seen people that just didn’t have rhythm, right? They can’t clap on the beat. They can’t dance with the beat. Probably most of us are in this camp, right? We just look and feel so… un-graceful! On the other hand, think of someone who is really talented with rhythm - a drummer, or a ballerina! Both have an inert natural bent towards the grace of the beat, the grace of the rhythm.

This is how Jesus says our walk with Him is like! It’s not forced. It’s not like marching with a platoon where the drill sergeant is shouting out, “LEFT. LEFT. LEFT - RIGHT - LEFT.” Walking with Jesus, following His rhythm of life is still listening carefully and following in step, but it’s easy, it’s flowing, it’s not regimented. It’s unforced. Walking with Jesus is like taking a hike in a beautiful and meandering path, where every turn reveals something new and something beautiful and something rewarding and something surprising.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Sounds like just what your soul wishes for! So then, why don’t we all just do it? Let me bring you back to the verb in this verse: LEARN! This doesn’t come naturally. Like anything else learned, we try and then we fail and then we pick ourselves up and try again. In fact, this is exactly how each one of us learned to walk! When we become new babes in the Jesus life, when we are born again, we have to learn how to walk again, how to walk with Jesus!

Fortunately, like everything else we learn with Jesus - our learning to walk with Jesus is filled with God’s grace!

Step #5 - REALIGN my life.

“Take my yoke upon you.” (NIV)
“I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.” (MSG)

This 5th step of realignment is fully dependent upon your accepting the 2nd step of recovery. It is impossible to realign if you believe yourself to be perfectly aligned already. It’s only when you recognize that your present path is pressure filled, angry, anxiety driven that you want recovery! Jesus is the recovery. And He wants to give it to you.

Real recovery begins when your recognize that you are bearing the wrong yoke! For those that don’t know, the yoke is what is placed on oxen to pull heavy loads. You may think that all yokes are the same. That just goes to show how little we know about yokes. The best yokes are the ones that are shaped to the beast - the right size and the right shape.

Your first response to this may be like mine - Hey, I don’t want ANY yoke! That’s the devil’s lie. Here’s the truth. We all carry yokes. We all have demands. We all have responsibilities. The question is never whether we bear a yoke or not. The question is whether they fit!

Since we’ve spent so much time talking about walking, let’s change the analogy from yokes to shoes. We all wear shoes. Some of our shoes don’t fit very well. Imagine trying to go for a 5-mile hike in high heeled shoes! Imagine walking with shoes that pinch. Have you ever gotten blisters on your feet from wearing shoes that didn’t fit you right?

Jesus says to change your walking shoes. He has the perfect fit for your life! ”I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you!” These surprising Covid-filled days have resulted in many of us living lives differently, harder, harsher, angrier than we did just a couple years ago. The yokes around our shoulders, the walking shoes on our feet, are chafing, irritating, keeping us from being able to enjoy the Jesus life we once knew. Jesus hasn’t changed. We have. Our lives need a realignment.

Step #6 - RENEW my life with Jesus!

“Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Renewing our relationship with Jesus is normal and natural. Just like everything else in life, relationships have an ebb and flow to them. Any long-lived marriage has it’s better days and it’s not-so-good days. Every parent will tell you that raising the child you so desperately love is not always filled with love-felt days.

The same is true of our love for Jesus. We cringe at the thought that somehow we have taken Jesus for granted. But we do. Just knowing that He is always there and always available can diminish our dependency upon Him. Just like night follows day, pressures of life will overtake us when we rely more upon ourselves than upon Jesus. Before you fill yourself with feelings of guilt or remorse over this fact, know that Jesus knows this about you! He created you. He knows your weakness.

This is why you need renewal. I have good news for you today. This isn’t hard to do. It really isn’t rocket science! Here’s how: "Keep company with (Jesus)”. That’s it. Invite him back into your life.

Pray a prayer like this:

Jesus, I’ve gotten away from You! I’ve gotten busy with life. I’ve become overwhelmed by all the changes Covid has brought my way. I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m tired. I’m just exhausted with the whole thing. Today I realize at least part of what I’m going through is because I haven’t been keeping company with You! I want to change that right now. And right here. From now on, I’m going through life with You! Thank You for inviting me!

More good news! Jesus promises that “you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” if you commit to this renewal with Him. The more traditional Scripture says, ”for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” There is no doubt in either version. You WILL LEARN to live freely and lightly with Jesus because the yoke Jesus gives you (the walking shoes of your Christian life) are always a perfect fit! Jesus promises us real rest!