It’s audio devo day!
When you learn to live in the oasis of God’s rest, you can face anything. What is the difference between those who enter His rest, and those who don’t? Be blessed listening here as we dive into this question:
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Last week in our series on rest, we talked about how Jesus died to set us free from the curse of painful toil. He paid the full price to restore to us the blessing of joyful, satisfying work. He also modeled for us how to live this way. Today we are going to delve further into the example Jesus left for us of partnering with the Father in nourishing, enriching labor. We are going to pick up again with His invitation to us to join Him in this lifestyle:
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear” (Matt. 11:29-30, TPT).
There’s something else vital that Jesus wants us to absorb from this invitation of His. When you respond to Him, not only does He refresh your soul, but He teaches you how to live out of a place of overflow. He doesn’t want to see you running on fumes. On the contrary, He longs to teach you to operate with your spiritual and emotional tank full.
How does this happen? Listen again to Jesus’ words: “Learn my ways and… you will find refreshment and rest in me” (emphasis mine). That phrase right there, “Learn my ways,” is our key for today for unlocking inner restfulness. As we come unto Him each day, that’s when we learn His ways. As we learn His ways, His refreshment of our souls becomes more than just a temporary, occasional fix. We learn to actually live in the oasis of who He is. This is where real soul rest abounds.
The Bible gives us an example of some folks who, sadly, did not learn His ways. God holds them up as an example of what not to do: “Today, if you will hear His voice: ‘Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion… when your fathers tested Me… though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, “It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways.” So I swore… “They shall not enter My rest”’” (Ps. 95:7-11, NKJV, emphasis mine).
What was it that upset God about these people? This psalm tells us that it hurt His heart that they would not learn His ways. He exclaims, “They saw My work. They saw Me miraculously working things out for them, over and over and over again! And yet they hardened their hearts. They refused to come to know Me. They refused to learn to trust Me!”
What can we learn from this? Holy Spirit calls out to us urgently through the psalmists’ words, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your heart…” When Jesus calls us, “Come unto Me,” let’s not hesitate. Instead, let’s run into His waiting arms. Let’s allow Him to teach us His ways. Let’s watch what He does, and learn of Him that He is gentle and humble of heart, that He is easy to please. Let’s cultivate hearts that are quick to yield as His voice calls out to us day by day, hour by hour.
Jesus modeled for us this yielded lifestyle. For His entire thirty-three years on earth in a human body, He knew that at the end of the road was a cross of torture awaiting Him. Can you imagine living your whole life knowing that your ultimate destiny on earth was the most excruciating death ever concocted for humans? That the future looming ahead was agonizing pain, the weight of the whole world’s sin crushing the life out of you?
And yet, He lived His life on earth perfectly at rest in His soul. Even knowing that His Father was going to command His death, He lived in utter trust. He did not withdraw His heart from His Father in mistrust and fear, but rather walked through each day wrapped up in perfect intimacy with Him. He lived in the Father’s bosom, in perfect peace. How was this possible? Because He knew the Father’s heart. All the way to the deepest core of His being, He knew how much the Father loved Him. He knew that His Abba was pure love. You see, He knew His Daddy’s ways.
By contrast, the children of Israel did not know God’s ways, so they never entered His rest. Jesus knew His ways perfectly, so He experienced His whole earthly sojourn in the place of confident rest. He was able to yield completely, moment by moment, allowing the Father to do all the work of the ministry through Him. Yoked in glorious union to Daddy God, He described His daily operations this way: “…I can guarantee this truth: The Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing. Indeed, the Son does exactly what the Father does. The Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing” (John 5:19-20, GW).
Jesus later added, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me” (John 14:10, NLT). Jesus took no credit for His life’s work and message. Everything was the Father. The Father was the One doing the work through His yielded vessel, His Son.
Let’s you and I live this way too. If we speak to those around us each day, let it be the Father doing His work through us. If we are in a helping profession, let it be the Father tending to those in need through our hands. If we manage an organization or administer a department, let it be the Father overseeing everything that happens there, through our yielded hearts. If we teach, let it be Him imparting instruction through our lips. If we serve, let it be His love pouring through our spirits as we smile genuinely at each customer.
Let’s allow Jesus’ blood to break the curse of painful, toilsome labor off of our lives. Let’s have tender hearts to surrender to His Spirit as He calls us unto Himself. Let’s come to Jesus. Let’s allow Him to teach us His ways, every day more intimately. Let’s let Him show us in our deep, deep hearts how gentle He is. Let’s fulfill our daily responsibilities wrapped up in His bosom, doing only what we see Him doing moment by moment. Let’s let Him do all the work through us.
Let’s respond to Him as He beckons us tenderly once again, “Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear” (Matt. 11:29-30, TPT).
In the midst of a world plagued by intense amounts of stress, is it realistic to talk about carrying out our duties in the workplace, with rest in our souls? Are Jesus’ words relevant today? Is there room for them, in a culture that reveres hyper-busyness?
6 thoughts on “An Oasis for Your Soul”
The culture that reveres hyper-busyness is trying desperately to avoid hearing the words of Christ– but it doesn’t work. Try as one might, that little voice of the Spirit will remain a part of us and nag us until we stop and listen.
Side point– I’m not comfortable with the verses from Matthew in the TPT translation. To me, the translation suggests that if we give all to Christ, we will never have to do anything difficult. I don’t believe that to be true; Jesus may well give us an unpleasant, difficult assignment, but we can be assured of the support and means to see it done.
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I am so thankful that it doesn’t work, and that He is so patiently persistent in pursuing us with His still, small voice!
And I definitely hear you on the TPT rendering, Mike. Having been given many, many difficult assignments over my twenty years as a missionary here in Peru, I heartily agree with you that He never promised us easy assignments. On the contrary, He promised us lots of hard ones. Even the one He has me on right now has been grueling and cost me countless tears and heartache. Seems to me, though, that these verses from Matthew teach us about a spiritual reality that He will superimpose on our difficult circumstances, as we learn to enter deeper and deeper into His rest as a lifestyle. “Pleasant and easy to bear” is not too far off from “light and easy.” Although, in the natural realm my assignment right now does not feel light, easy, or pleasant, the way He is meeting me in my prayer times and lifting me higher into His presence than I’ve ever been before really does fit those three descriptors in an amazing way, and His presence stays with me afterwards into the hard moments that I have to face, bringing Heaven’s reality into my earthly circumstances.
Thank you, my brother, for your thoughtful and insightful sharing on this!
His way is the only fulfilling way. thank you, Jenninfer
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Amen and amen! Thank you too, dear Dawn! 🌹
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When you said “I know, we read this last week, but my friend, you need to hear it again. That hit me right in the heart, because I did need to hear it again. For over a decade there has been a heavy burden weighing on my heart. Decisions I have made and mistakes I have fallen into in the past. With my girlfriend’s help I have begun to lay these down at the feet of Jesus. It will be a long process, but Jesus is waiting, and I am capable of doing this with Him.
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Yes, in His strength alone! Not by might, not by power, but by His Spirit. Your Healer waits for you always with arms open wide. He sees you as spotless through His blood!
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