I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Britnee Bradshaw (WITHIN Devotional Writer)
“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest...”
We all walk through seasons where we need to be refreshed and restored in our souls. This is a place we all come to at some point or another, and it’s a place where Jesus meets us, arms wide open.
Rest in Jesus is a sweet and beautiful promise, but if we’re honest with ourselves, sometimes the journey into His rest isn’t as attractive as we’d like it to be.
Sometimes, we need rest because we’ve exhausted ourselves in the responsibilities of our normal day to day; we’ve given and poured out to others more than we’ve allowed ourselves to be poured into, and we find ourselves spent.
Other times, we’ve actually been running away from God in some area of our life due to fear, shame, disappointment, or deep grief. And in the course of our running opposite of Jesus, we’ve grown tired and weary, desperate for the bread, who is life (John 6:35) and His living water, which never runs dry (John 4:14).
It makes no difference to Jesus what path brings us to the pivotal place of needing to be refreshed. All that really matters to Him is that we come before Him to seek the rest that we need.
If you are in a season where you need the refreshing of the Lord in your mind, body, and soul, journey with me through Psalm 23, specifically, the first three verses. Tucked within this passage is a sort of blueprint that shows us what rest in Jesus looks like, and I’d like to encourage your tired heart.
In the first verse of this Psalm, we are met head on with the issue of identity. From the very beginning, we are told that the Lord is our shepherd, and that in Him, we have all that we need. When we consciously remind ourselves that Jesus is Lord over our lives, we position ourselves to not only see Jesus as He is, but to see ourselves as daughters of the Most High God.
You and I are loved and cared for by the Creator of the Universe! We are His delight and remembering His sovereignty over our lives shifts things back to a right perspective.
The second thing we see in this passage is our very real need for rest and Jesus’ ability to meet that need. The Lord brings rest to our souls in whichever way He chooses, but in this scripture, we read of a peaceful scenery (green pastures and still waters) as the bridge to restoration.
Scripture tells us that the peace Jesus gives is not like the peace that the world gives (John 14:27). The world’s peace is based on merit, acquisition, popularity, and accolades. As good as that may sound or even feel, the world’s peace is a counterfeit. It is fickle in nature and leaves the deepest parts of who we are dry and unsatisfied.
The peace that Jesus gives us, however, is everlasting. We don’t have to achieve any level of success to have it, and we don’t have to think our way into keeping it. It is simply a gift that Jesus gives us because He loves us. Christ’s finished work on the cross brings us peace with God that is secure. It secures our identity and our purpose. (Romans 5:) And it brings us the peace of God that can't be taken away by this world. Being in His Word and His presence allows us the opportunity to encounter this peace in a deep, satisfying, and life-changing way.
The last thing we see in this passage is a course direction. In verse three, we read the promise of Jesus’ faithfulness to lead us on paths that bring Him glory. My friend, your steps are ordered by the Lord. All of your ways are known by Him. Nothing is a surprise to Him, and by His Holy Spirit, you are lead into ways that please Him.
You can have rest when you know that Jesus understands exactly where you’ve been (and doesn’t judge you for it), that He sees where you are currently, and that He watches over your future.
I pray this week that you would set your burdens at the Lord’s feet and come into His rest. He desires to fill your cup anew and lead you in ways that satisfy the deep longings of your soul all while bringing glory and honor to His name. Amen.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Psalm 23:1-3Psalm 37:23
Questions to Reflect on: