Those last words of Matthew 11:29 offer a promise for every Christian. Yet, so often, we find ourselves dried up or burnt out, with soul rest seemingly unreachable.
How can we put our hope in that promise?
Through great grief, Curtis Zackery found the answer.
In Soul Rest: Reclaim Your Life. Return to Sabbath., Zackery shares his journey to help others reach the same rest. The excerpt below reveals a major barrier to rest—and how to remove it.
If you’re like me, you feel the cultural pressure to appear as if you have it all together. It seems that there is no room for any visible signs of weakness. This standard sadly is prevalent in the church realm as well. We communicate that the church is a place for broken people who are imperfect, and on a journey toward hope. But many of our churches work tirelessly to put forward an image that contradicts this idea. We strive for perfectly orchestrated services with all of the trappings of prominence and success.
I understand that many times, the hope is to provide an environment that is culturally relevant and excellently prepared, but in some ways, I think it inadvertently contradicts the message that we hope for in moving toward rest for our souls.
As I’ve been thinking about it, I realize how often in Scripture we see the voluntary deprecation of Jesus, yet we, as His followers, fight for the opposite. For example, in Philippians 2, we see a description of how Jesus “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (vv. 6–7). Here, Christ provides a beautiful example of voluntary depreciation.
And in Luke 15, Jesus shares a parable about a man and his two sons. In this story, we see a beautiful picture of a man’s voluntary surrender of dignity for the sake of his son’s life. I wonder if we, as followers of Jesus, modeled this kind of self-deprecation if we would more easily maintain a proper perspective of our need for the leading of the Spirit of God.
When we attempt to find healthy ways to engage self-deprecating thinking, we break the grip that idolatry and expectations have on us. This thinking leads to an actual freedom to respond to what God has for us and have a clearer picture of where we stand. Ultimately, we receive direct encouragement and instruction by Jesus that whoever loses his life for the sake of Christ will save it (Luke 9:24).
We are all prone to attempt to save ourselves. If we truly desire to discover soul rest, we must engage in the hard, but fruitful, work of examining our hearts and our habits. We have to grant ourselves permission to go inward and explore. We have to take an inventory.
This post is excerpted from Soul Rest: Reclaim Your Life. Return to Sabbath., available now from Lexham Press.