“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation].Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (AMP)
Grace is a rest!
Many sincere believers base their lives upon their own efforts to achieve faith and the results of faith. Rather than resting in and enjoying the freedom of Christ’s finished work on their behalf (i.e. who they have become in Christ, who He is to them, and their vast, grand, already established inheritance in Him), simply trusting in his detailed care, provision, and love (1 Peter 5:7), they spend their time striving to produce results and manufacture the promises in Scripture. However, God wants us to get to a place where our burdens are completely lifted, and where there is no pressure for our own efforts to ‘produce’ or ‘manifest’ anything. Believer, you have uncompromised freedom in Christ, and are well able to simply enjoy and embrace the unshakable, secure realities of being ‘in Christ’ – sharing in all that He is and has (Romans 8:17). Faith, grace, blessings, fruits – absolutely everything in the Christian faith – is a rest. Galatians 5:1 (KJV) states that as believers we can “stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
If what you are experiencing or doing in your grace walk doesn’t actually – in essence – feel like grace, but rather something you have to maintain and sustain with your efforts – no matter how Christian those efforts feel – then that is because what you are experiencing and doing isn’t grace, but a response to a legalistic belief or teaching that has impacted your understanding and awareness. Empty religious teachings feel burdensome, wearying, and provide no deep-seated peace. However, Jesus desires that you be free from all burdens and cares, so that you may discover the ‘rest, renewal, and blessed quiet’ of soul that is given freely in Him. You see, the essence of grace is honey-sweetness, goodness, and delight (Psalm 119:103; Psalm 34:8; Psalm 94:19; Isaiah 58:14; Psalm 21:2; Psalm 37:4). When you are under grace, there is an effortless, uplifting, revitalizing sense of ease, rest, and well-being.
The fruits of grace are therefore rest, refreshing, ease, encouragement, comfort, uplifting, total well-being, joy, and security – the list goes on and on! Grace encourages us that we are in a total, perfect, fortifying union with the Godhead, well able to rest in their love and protection, tasting of their benefits and blessings freely (1 Corinthians 6:17). I love the way that The Message Bible translates Matthew 11:28-30:
“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.” (MSG)
Believer, you were designed to live ‘freely and lightly’. The rhythms of grace are ‘unforced’, and certainly are not ‘heavy’ or ‘ill-fitting’! Religious bondage feels burdensome, heavy, ill-fitting, uncomfortable, and pressing. However, grace is a natural enjoyment of abundant life in Christ! (John 10:10). The focus of grace is Christ and His faithfulness, and not us and our works of faith. The essence of religious burdens is pressure and demand, but the essence of grace is overwhelming supply, because grace focuses on Jesus and your already established reality of blessings in Him! Religion begins with self-sufficiency and lack, but grace begins with all-sufficient abundance in Christ and ushers in all the glories, beauties, and blessings of His finished work! Grace is the essence of success!
Therefore, if you feel you ‘have’ to do something to experience and enjoy manifest blessings, and that ‘something’ feels like an obligation or a demand, then it is a religious burden and not of grace. The reason it feels like hard (maybe even impossible) work is because of the resonance of Jesus’ freedom within your heart: you were created to live in the unforced rhythms of grace!