Christine Caine - An Invitation To Rest, Part 2
I am so excited that you've come back to join us in week, and I'm believing that the Holy Spirit has a word for you that you have tuned in exactly at the right time in the right place, and we are continuing on talking about what it is to come to Jesus when we are feeling weary or we are feeling heavy laden or we are feeling just overwhelmed by life. And so many people are feeling so overwhelmed. I know constantly I'm getting DMS and emails and texts and letters from people that are just saying Chris, it feels like life is just crushing me. It feels like everything that I'm carrying is just too much whether it's emotional or spiritual or relational or financial or physical. It just seems we are being crushed by the burden of life, the stresses of life.
There is just constant grief. There is constant loss. There is constant stress, and today we are going to find out how Jesus is the one we come to. When we are feeling weary, when we are feeling heavy laden, that is not a time to run from God. That is not a time to cower and to hide and to feel like man, I'm just not strong enough to come to God. I'm here to tell you, you can come to God when you are weary and heavy laden. In the book of Matthew chapter 28, the scripture says Jesus himself says to us -sorry, in 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.
Who doesn't want an easy yoke and a light burden? In the day and the hour in which we are living in, all of us are seeking an easy yoke and a light burden. It just seems from the minute you wake up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night, we are just being bombarded with so much stuff. That stuff is so overwhelming that most of us are just trying to escape somehow, whether we're going to binge watch series or whether we're going to pop an extra pill or have an extra glass of wine or just kind of go from relationship to relationship. Somehow trying to numb the pain, trying to numb the loss, tying to numb the grief, but I'm here today to give you a better cure than all of that. Jesus says, why don't you come to me if you're weary? Why don't you come to me if you're heavy laden?
I want you to know that God is a God that loves you just where you are, God is a God that loves you just how you are. You don't have to clean yourself up to come to God. You don't have so live a perfect life to come to God. You don't have to have a fail free or a mistake free life. Jesus says come to me if you're weary. Come to me if you're heavy laden. That is the good news of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. You don't have to clean yourself up to come to him. Come as you are. He loves you.
Someone on the other side of the screen needs to know that today. You've been running from God because of your sin, because of your failure, because of your mess. You've felt like you're not good enough to come to God. You feel like you've messed up your life. You feel like the thing that you did is the one unforgiveable thing, but I'm here to tell you that you are not too far gone for the love of God. That love will chase you down. He loves you. He's got a plan for your life. He's got a purpose for your life. He's got a destiny for your life.
Make a decision today to stop running from him. Come back to him. Make your peace with him. He says come to me all of you who are weary and heavy laden for I will give you rest. He goes on to say from there, he says take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart. Don't you find it fascinating that if what Jesus Christ promises is rest, he says what don't you take my yoke? Put on my yoke on you. So you go hang on a minute. Jesus, you've just promised me rest, and now you're saying put on a yoke. Take on a yoke. I thought you were giving me rest. I thought you were making it easy, but this is what I want you to understand, that a yoke is for bearing burdens.
Now, I want you to see this picture right here. So you can see here that a yoke is a familiar symbol of burden wearing, so back in these times of course, you know, animals and animals still have yokes today, but of course slaves and you all know that Nick and I oversee the a 21 campaign, and we are on a mission to abolish slavery everywhere forever so this is an abomination in the site of God, but yokes were used for animals, for slaves, for prisoners, and a yoke was largely a wooden frame that was placed on the backs and the necks of oxen to make them pull the load in tandem. You might have seen this. I'm sure you've seen this in many many photos.
So a yoke was placed on them so they could do the work. That was the whole purpose of it, so I want you to understand as we look at this text, some of you are looking at me today and you're going Chris, what's Jesus offering me? Is he offering me work or is he offering me rest? Because when we put yoke on oxen to do the work, Jesus is now saying put on this yoke to do the work. But Chris, you've said that this is all about rest. See, Jesus says if you come to me and you get yoked up to me, to him, then his yoke is custom made to fight, so when you're yoked with Jesus, Jesus bears the load, and he makes the burden light. I want you to catch this. I don't want you to miss it. We are yoked to Jesus, and he carries the load. Our work is not to pull the load but to believe God and to abide in Christ. Don't miss it. Our job is to believe God and to abide in Christ. Jesus does the work.
John 6 could the 29, this is the work of God, that you believe in him who he sent. I don't want you to miss that. This is the work of God. This is what it is. This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he sent, so it takes work to believe God. It doesn't come naturally. Most of us actually don't, so you say, would you just do the work of believing me and let me do the work of making the miracle happen? John 15: 4 says abide in me, so we're to abide in him, we're to believe in him. That is the part of the yoke that Jesus calls us to. We put on that abiding in Christ and believing in God. Let's say it together. Abiding in Christ and believing in God.
We think it's through doing good works. We think it's through acts of service. We think somehow man, if I could just earn my way to heaven. If I could just do all the good works... and he says no, no, no. I want you to abide and I want you to believe. I want to you abide and I want you to believe. I want you to abide and I want you to believe. That sounds easy but it is hard, and if you and I do that, then God does what only God can do. Faith is believing and abiding on the hopeful promises of God. So you know what happens? Things like disappointment, things like discouragement, offenses, unforgiveness, betrayals, disillusionment, just the stuff of life, what that does is is shakes our trust in the goodness of God. It shakes our trust in the character of God.
So what happens then is we lean on our own understanding. We try to figure stuff out. We try to manipulate stuff. We try to make stuff happen in our own strength, and at that point we are no longer trusting God. We are no longer believing and abiding. You see, when you have circumstances in life where you feel that the promises of God have not come to pass in your life, when you feel that somewhere God has disappointment or God has let you down, you stop abiding, and you stop believing. That's what the enemy is after. That is what the enemy is, he's after our faith. This is a good fight of faith. What the enemy wants is your faith. If he can exhaust you with trying to do good works, he's going to try to make you do that. But what he wants is our faith, and so our job is to keep believing.
Our job is to keep abiding, to keep trusting that God is going to come through. That is not easy, but what we do is we take on the yoke of trying to do the work of trying to perform, of trying to get God's approval, of trying to get God's favor. And that is exhausting. That is just going to wear us out. What we need to do, our part of the yoke is to believe in abide, believe and abide, believe and abide.
So we need to ask ourselves where have we walked out of that yoke? Or kicked Jesus out? Says, you know what, Jesus? I'm going to try to do this in my own strength. I tried to trust you but you didn't come through for me. You let me down. That relationship fell apart. That situation fell apart. That dream that I had, somewhere I was hurt, somewhere someone betrayed me, and we have blamed Jesus for what people have done to us. I wonder if today you can come back home to him and say, you know what, Jesus? I can't carry this yoke. I can't fix this in my own strength. I can't fix this relationship. I can't fix this circumstance. I certainly can't control anyone else. So Jesus, would you take your part of the yoke?
I don't ever want to think that I've arrived or I've made it but I want to give myself over to constantly learning, constantly growing, constantly being conformed and being transformed to the image of Jesus Christ. You see, in this text, Jesus goes on and he describes himself. It's fascinating. He says, for I am gentle and lowly in heart. This is God, this is Jesus God incarnate in a world that is just full of narcissism, in a world that is full of arrogance and having to be first and having to be the greatest and having to be the fastest and the best. Jesus says listen, I'm gent and I'm lowly in heart. I'm not a tyrant trying to Lord it over you.
I don't know what your view of God might be. I know I grew up in a home where I kind of had that thought that God was this huge sort of dictator up in the sky with a big stick waiting for me to do something wrong which was frequently, and he was just waiting to hit me over the head and say ha! I got you. Maybe that's your view of God that he's just some big guy, distance in the sky, just always trying to call you out for the stuff that you've done wrong, but I'm here to tell you that your God is a loving God. Your God is a gracious God. His posture towards you is one of love. The lens through which he views you is one of love.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son Jesus Christ so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. God sings over you. God rejoices over you. God delights in you. Before you were even formed in your mother's womb, God knew you. He knitted together your innermost parts. He fashioned all of your days before as yet there was one of them. I'm sorry if you're perspective of God has been one of a tyrant that Lords it over you, that is constantly disappointed with you, that you can never measure up to him. I'm here to tell you your God loves you. Your God is gracious for you. He is for you, he is with you. He says I'm not here to work you to do. I'm gentle. In a harsh dog eat dog world, man, this is huge.
Jesus said I'm lowly in heart. Humility is a stunning thing. Not pride. We live in a world so full of pride, but you says, you know what? I am just lowly in heart. Our world is all about position and title and followers and likes and the bigger the better and the more prominent the better and the more people that see me the better. It's all about having this seat of honor and having the greatest title. We have a narcissistic, self on self, self- important world. Jesus said, I am humble of heart. The scripture says humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you in due season. Humility is an act of choice.
I love what C.S. Lewis says, you know, humility is not thinking less of myself. It's just thinking of myself less. I wonder if we'd have a world where we thought of ourselves less and thought of others more where we truly understood what it is to be our brother's and sister's keeper, that it's not just all about me. So much of the burden that we feel, the weariness that we feel, that exhaustion that we feel is because we are on our minds all the time. It's so releasing to get yourself off your mind and start thinking about someone else. It's so amazing in our world, our ego and our desire for numbers and likes, I mean, the whole world because of social media is just framed around that now, but our obsession with followers is killing us, so what's happening is we're trying to do it all, we're on 24/7. Man, we never turn that phone off. We're trying to have it all. We're trying to be it all, man.
If we see something that someone else's has got on Instagram, we just think I need that. So we're taking on things that God never intended for us to take on, and it is killing us. So Jesus promises us that we will find rest for our souls. There is a deeper rest that can't be given but it can only be found, so the kind of rest that Jesus offers, it's deep and you'll having to go looking for it in him. It's about how much you do or how good you've been. It lies in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We have to know the rest of Christ in the center of our beings. We have to trust the sovereignty of God, the goodness of God, the kindness of God. Jesus says to us in verse 30, for my yoke is easy. My yoke is easy. Jesus is not giving us another yoke to carry. He says, get in line.
You know you're not carrying his yoke when it's all just too hard and it's all just too stressful. I'm not talking about kicking through and pushing through complacency or lethargy or indifference or apathy. I'm not talking about that. Some of us need to get up and snap out of that. But I'm saying when you're just trying to drive something in your own strength and it's literally destroying you. It's literally overwhelming you. You see, when you are yoked to Jesus, you have a supernatural strength, a supernatural joy, and a supernatural peace because people say that. Chris, how do you do what you do with Propel and with A21 and with writing books and with preaching and teaching and traveling and there's still joy and there's still peace and strength? It's because I'm not doing it in my own strength. I'm doing it in the strength of God.
No, I know already I'm not good enough, I'm not talented enough, I'm not resourced enough, I'm not equipped enough, I'm not that good. Only Jesus is that good, so it's his strength that dwells in me. His joy that dwells in me. It's his peace, and Jesus says his burden is light. Now, this doesn't mean that when year not going to have a burden. It just means we're not going to be crushed by that burden. You know, the fact is some of us we just don't want to carry things because we're lazy or we're indifferent. But we've got to carry our own weight. It doesn't say we're not going to have a burden, so what happened with the older generation is kind of like man, it was a badge of honor, I'm carrying the burden. It's the burden. And you're like, I don't want that burden. But I want middle ground.
So if you're weighed down and you have a heavy burden, you have not learned to take his yoke and his burden, so are you taking on the burden of others instead of casting them on the Lord? 1 Peter 5: 7 says cast them, like a fishing rod, cast your burdens on him for he cares for you. So throw them on Jesus and here's the deal. Once you've thrown it, leave it there. My husband is brilliant at this. Christine casts it on Jesus and takes it back. This is me, casting, take it go back. Nick has this supernatural capacity, cast it and leaves it. God does not want us to play God. You and I we just can't handle it, so what we have to do is pray with people, believe God, but then release it to the Lord.
There's a sea of need that surrounds every single one of us. Some of you mothers listening to me, you gotta trust your kids to the Lord. You gotta trust their future to the Lord. Jesus not ruled by need or by purpose. Jesus wasn't led by the crowd that but he ministered to those crowds, so bring your burdens, bring your kids, bring your concerns to the Lord. Release your heaviness. Release your cynicism. Release your offense. Release your frustration. Release your disappointment. Release your anger to Jesus. You see, intimate fellowship with Jesus is the only way forward. We must do what Eugene Peterson said, we must relearn the unforced rhythms of grace. There is an unforced rhythm of grace in this Christian life. You will be squashed by the burdens if you don't learn to release it to Jesus, to carry what is only yours to carry and to rely on his supernatural empowerment.
I love the words of Isaiah, chapter 40, verse 28 to 31. It's one of my favorite portions of scripture in the Bible. He says, have you not known have you not heard the Lord is, he is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary. Listen, we do, but God doesn't. He doesn't faint or grow weary. He's understanding. He's unsearchable.
We're never going to be able to work it out. That's why the scripture says lean not on your own understanding. That's what's exhausting some of you. That is what is just, you're feeling so weary and heavy laden because you're trying to work it out, you're trying to control it, and you're trying. You know what? His understanding is unsearchable. I love this particular. He gives power to the faint. I need God's power. I am a woman that understands I have limitations. I need the power of God. It says, and to him who has no might he increases strength. I'm believing that for somebody today, that you're feeling so weary that you have no might, that the Spirit of God is going to touch you right where you are and you're going to feel your supernatural strength in Christ grow and well up within you.
I love this. Even you shall faint and be weary. I said this to my daughters, hey, there's not just an unlimited way to do this all on your own. Even youths will feel faint and weary and young men shall feel exhausted. But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not grow weary. They shall walk and not faint. Jesus said my burden is easy. My yoke is light. Stop trying to carry in your own strength what you need to cast on God, and you will find renewed joy. You will find renewed peace. You will find renewed hope as you walk confidently, faith filled into the abundant life that Jesus Christ has determined for you to live. Amen.