Christine Caine - An Invitation To Rest, Part 1
I am so fired up that you've joined us today. I believe that God has a word for you. I'm excited about sharing this particular message with you today because so many of us there's no doubt about it. We're feeling weary, defeated, perhaps beaten up and hopeless. And I believe that the Holy Spirit is going to breathe life and hope and faith and strength into your soul today. Now I want to remind you before we even take off that your God is for you, that your God is with you, that your God loves you.
So let's dive into the scripture. We're going to go to the book of Matthew, the Gospel of Matthew, one of my favorite scriptures. And I think it's going to bring you hope and life today. The Bible says in the book of Matthew chapter 11, verse 28 Jesus says, come to me all 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. So here's the deal. Jesus is saying, if you're feeling weary if you're feeling tired, if you're feeling heavy laden come to me because I'm going to give you rest for souls.
Now I love it in particular, in the message version, Eugene Peterson, he says it like this. He says, are you burnt out on religion? Well, then come to me, get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'm going to 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. Don't you just love that line. I wanted to call this whole series, learning the unforced rhythms of grace because that's something that we all need to do. If we're going to run our race, if we're going to finish our course, we have to learn God's unforced rhythms of grace. He goes on to say, I won't lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you, keep company with me and you'll learn how to live freely and lightly, who doesn't want to live freely and lightly. The fact is that we know these verses to be true, theologically and often intellectually. But the truth is, I think if we're all honest we don't always feel like this is the case. It's been an extended season of loss and grief and heartache, for many confusion and chaos, division and a whole lot of trauma.
Most of us have experienced days or weeks and maybe even months where it just seems that Jesus's yoke has been unbearably hard and his burden crushingly heavy. So in this text, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is speaking to the Jews that are under the crushing pressure of the mosaic law and the corrupt religious leadership. It was too much for them. They were crumbling under all of this pressure and he was saying, enter into my new covenant rest. Now I know that you and I we're not first century Jews living under the weight of the mosaic law. But through this text, Jesus extends a similar invitation to you right there on the other side of the screen and to me, and I don't know about you but this is an invitation that I want to take him up on. I need a renewed revelation of the rest of God. Jesus says, come to me all who labor and are heavy-laden. Now I love that word. Come, come as an invitation.
Now, have you ever gotten an invitation that you just could not believe, like you were invited to some party, you're invited to an event you were not expecting to be invited then all of a sudden you got invited. I see that with my girls. There's just something about that word come. There is just something about getting an invitation. Well, this is what the God of the universe is inviting you and me to come to him. Not just when we feel strong or perfect or successful or all our ducks are in a row because most of us that's when we want to go to God when we feel like we've performed, we're good enough. We're talented enough. We have done enough good works that surely God would want us in his presence because most of us try to work for the approval of God. And we think we can't even go to God unless we're on our a game, unless we were performing so well. But the invitation from this text says, no, no, no you can come when you're wear and heavy-laden.
Can I just say so many of us feel unseen and unrecognized, perhaps an applauded or unknown in our world today. And we are bearing so many heavy burdens. We feel heavy laden because people have issues and you know what? This stuff comes on us. And so often we defer our own issues so that we can deal with what's going on in someone else's life. And it cripples us. I know on the other side of that screen, there's someone in your marriage is in such a crisis because you're carrying the burden of a loved one. And this stuff has just kind of come on you or maybe your children, or maybe a friend or a boss at work. And it is amazing how we keep putting ourselves aside 'cause there's so much going on. And we take on the weights. We take on the burdens. We take on the yolks of everyone around us and then we find ourselves paralyzed and we find ourselves crippled and we find ourselves weary and we find ourselves burnt out.
And so many watching on the other side of the screen right now, going Chris you are reading my mail. That is exactly how I feel. I feel like, man I don't want to open up the news another day. I don't want to scroll through your social media another day. I don't want to pick up the phone or answer a text because I know that that aunt, that uncle, that parent, that child, that friend someone is going to make another demand on me. Someone is going to expect something more from me and we're feeling weary and we're feeling burdened and then if that's not enough, there are world events. I mean, there've been plagues. There've been famines. There has been sickness. There has been death. There has been loss. There has been a grief. There's been political instability, racial instability, social instability, so much injustice, so much poverty, so much crime, so much heartache in our world. And we are feeling weary and heavy-laden.
But here is the simplicity of Jesus's promise as to you and me. It is so striking. He offers himself as the solution to all that burdens us. Himself, Jesus Christ himself is the solution. You see, we try to add so many things to that. We think Jesus plus, man, if I just said that person like me, perhaps if I just got that job or had that amount of money or got that new car or won this or did that, we think it's Jesus and something else and then we're wondering why we're still feeling weary. But Jesus says, come to me. He himself is our peace. He himself is our refreshment and today's program is really about nothing else. I'm here to invite you to come to Jesus, Jesus Christ himself. Our life is hard and it's full of thorns and it's full of thistles and most of us are overloaded in our mind, our spirit, our emotions and so many of us, we're just carrying them so much.
We really are: relationally, financially, emotionally and physically. And it's resulted in this deep, deep soul weariness so because our burdens are not simple, the world is really complicated have you notice that. So because our burdens aren't simple. They're not relieved by simple little platitudes. I mean, you haven't tuned in today for me to go, come on, just cheer up. Things are going to turn around, just pick yourself up by your bootstraps. None of us need that right now. We need something beyond platitudes. We need a hope. We need a promise. We need something to hang onto but a simple promise can relieve a complex burden provided that we believe that the power behind the promise is strong enough to relieve our heaviness.
I want you to catch that. You've got to believe that the power behind the promise is strong enough to relieve us of our heaviness. We don't want simple platitudes. We don't want like three easy steps, but if we believe that the power behind the promise is to relieve this burden, to relieve this heaviness, to relieve the pressure then we go, okay, Chris, tell me what that is. And that's what I'm here to tell you today. Jesus himself says, come to me. I am big enough. I am strong enough. I am powerful enough to deal with whatever is going on in your life. You don't scare Jesus. Your problem doesn't scare Jesus. Your burden doesn't scare Jesus. You are not too far gone for Jesus.
You might be feeling hopeless. You might be feeling helpless. You might be feeling weary. You might be feeling heavy laden. You might be feeling like a failure. You might be feeling like you've made mistake after mistake but I'm here to tell you that it's not too much for Jesus. Jesus loves you, right where you are. Jesus loves you just as you are. He wants you to give him your burden. He wants you to give him your failures. He wants you to give him your mistakes. He wants you to give him your weariness. He wants to give you your loss and your pain and your grief and your confusion and your doubts and your questions 'cause he loves you. He says, come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden. And he is the promise, he says, I will, not I might. I will give you rest.
There is a rest available to us that we could find in Christ that as we get about our daily business as we are about the Father's business we're talking about a supernatural rest, a supernatural grace, a supernatural peace see the rest that he offers, it doesn't mean that we cease from activity. Like it is amazing to me how so many people like, well, Chris, I work too hard. That that might mean they actually came to work two days in a row. And I just need rest. I just need to kind of like just sit and just kind of like meditate and do nothing. And I believe the will of God is going to happen but I'm just going to rest or I'm just going to take a nap and just believe God, it's just going to happen. I'm just going to...
Can I just say lying on your back believing God is not going to cause your purpose to come to pass. That is not how it's going to happen. And yet we have so many people that just think, well, God just wants me to kind of sleep through life. And if it's his will it'll happen. And if you're as old as me you'll remember doris day, "Que sera sera. Whatever will be will be. The future is not ours to see. Que sera sera" and we think, well, I'm just going to chill. And if it's God's will it's going to happen. And it really doesn't matter what's going on in the world. I can't really make a difference anyway because I'm just a little old me and that's not what I'm talking about. I'm not saying that we're going to go on this extended vacation. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that but I'm saying that's not how the purpose of God comes to pass. So somehow in the midst of doing what God has called us to do and fulfilling our purpose and fulfilling our destiny we have got to find a rest.
See Jesus doesn't invite us into a life of ease or comfort or complacency. I don't know where we ever got this kind of theology where we thought Jesus just wants me to be comfortable. Jesus just wants me to be complacent. If it's hard, it mustn't be God. It's just too hard. And it is amazing to me. And I work with teams all over the globe and the lack of resilience or the lack of tenacity or the lack of resistance the ability to bounce back, the ability to get back. 'cause it's just like, man, this is too hard. This is just too hard. But can I just say Jesus never said it was going to be easy. In fact, he said in this life, you will have trials. You will have tribulations. There will be challenges. There will be obstacles. There will be hurdles and you build strengthen. You build resistance by coming up against that getting back up, carrying something heavy doing something a little bit more but that's not supposed to take you out.
The rest that I'm talking about is the rest in God's grace, in God's love and in God's acceptance. See so much of what we're doing is a striving for the grace of God, for the love of God and for the acceptance of God. And God's saying, would you just rest in it? You've already got it. You can rest in that. And it is amazing how that will then fuel you to keep doing what God has called you to do. You see what we need is to understand that we have the approval of God so that we stop trying to seek the approval of man. So much of our weariness. So much of the burdens that we feel is because somehow we're trying to please people and we're trying to get from people what we can only ultimately get from God.
So the kind of rest that Jesus gives us, it's a kind of rest where we labor from acceptance, not for acceptance. It's a rest where we labor from a place of knowing we are loved by God, not striving to get that love from God. It's the kind of rest where we labor from our identity as sons and daughters of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. We are not working to try to get that identity. Now that sounds easy. Doesn't it? But the truth is most of us are still wanting some kind of validation. We think that man, if I just get that blue check on my social media profile, I'm going to be happy. And we spend our life comparing and competing constantly with one another than we think that if something is seen or if something is known or if something is applauded then that's the only way it matters to God.
And what we've done is we confuse significance with prominence. And what that has done is it has exhausted us. There is got to be a better way than trying to constantly compare and compete. There's got to be a better way than constantly trying to get more followers and more likes. And seeing who's going to like me at school who's going to like me at work. How am I going to get my validation through people? It is killing us. It is exhausting us. We all feel like we're just not enough. We're not thin enough. We're not smart enough. We're not talented enough. We're not gifted enough. We're not resourced enough. We're just not enough. But I'm here to remind you in Christ, you are enough. Jesus has created you in his image. He has filled you with God given destiny. He has filled you with God given purpose. He has given you gifts and talents for the purpose of serving your generation. And you are enough.
We have got to get off this performance treadmill because it's killing us. Somehow and I think our social media world has got a lot to do with that. We are seeking approval from people we don't even know, we are seeking validation from people we don't even know. We are neglecting the people in our direct sphere so that we can get the approval or alike from somebody we don't even know on social media. And we turn things inside out. And can I tell you it's exhausting us. It's making our souls sick. It's making our souls weary. You cannot get from people what you can only get from God.
I say this, often people go well, Chris, you've been married 25 years. And what is the secret kind of like a KFC, the secret herbs and spices. What are the 11 ingredients? There is not any one secret but I know that one thing Nick and I right from the time that we were dating and when we got engaged and took our wedding vows and the 25 years of marriage since, the one thing that has really helped us to keep us strong, to keep us moving forward together in ministry and in life and raising our daughters is that neither of us try to get from the other what we can only get from God.
See, that's too big a burden for me to put on Nick for me to expect Nick to be Jesus. He will disappoint me. For Nick to expect me to be Jesus. I promise you before I even get out of bed in the morning I would have already disappointed him. So many of us, our weariness, our fatigue, our sense of disappointment and discouragement and disillusionment is because we're trying to get from people what we can only get from God.
So Jesus says, would you come to me because you're going to get that love from me. You're going to get that grace from me. You're going to get that forgiveness from me. You're going to get that acceptance from me. You're going to get that strength from me. You're going to get that encouragement from me. You're only ultimately going to get your sense of identity from Jesus. You're only ultimately going to get your sense of purpose from Jesus. You're only going to ultimately get that sense of security, of stability, of comfort that you're seeking, not from another person, not from a substance, not from accumulating, acquiring or amassing more things, but only from Jesus.
And I think a major reason by the grace of God that our marriage continues to flourish today. And in fact, it's probably stronger than it has ever been is because I don't expect Nick to be Jesus. I expect Nick to be Nick and Nick doesn't expect me to be Jesus. He expects Jesus to be Jesus and Chris to be Chris. And then when he understands that Chris has only ever going to be Chris then that helps him not live in a constant state of disappointment or discouragement or disillusionment with me. It helps me to know that my husband is my husband, but he's not my God. Jesus is my God. It's only ultimately in Christ that I'm going to find my ultimate significance, my ultimate security.
Nick at times and he is a awesome husband but at times he will let me down. At times he won't be there for me in the way that I need him to be there for me. And he can do his very best, but ultimately that deep inner most place in my heart that is most weary, that is most frustrated, that is most disappointed, that is most hurt, that longs for approval, that longs for significance, that longs for security, that longs for affirmation, that longs for ultimate connection. Ultimately, I'm not going to find it, not in any of my closest relationships here on earth. I'm only going to find it in Jesus. So Jesus says, would you come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and the promises, he will give you that deep soul rest you're desperately seeking.