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Have you received clarity and direction from the Holy Spirit on how He would have you participate in the spiritual discipline of fasting during this 21 Days? For some guidance and ideas, read our post on “Why Fast?”
We want to encourage you to grab a journal or a notebook – something to write on as you walk through each prayer guide or devotional. Yes, it will add a few minutes to the time it takes to do the devotion, and it will also deepen your experience and shape your walk with God for years to come. This journal or notebook will be a keepsake to remind you of God’s faithfulness during this challenging season for all of us.
Engage the Word
Today, we look to a prayer of Jesus that follows a call to judgment on the unrepentant, and is immediately followed by some of His most famous words to those who are weary and burdened by the demands of life.
25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[g] 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Connect the Heart
In Jesus’ prayer in verse 25, He is basically calling out the pride and arrogance of the religious leaders of the day. They were intellectually and spiritually proud – contrasted by those who would come to Jesus in humility and repentance, with submissive faith like “little children” might come to their father. And Jesus offers Himself, in verses 28-30, to those who do come to him tired and weary, but with willing, repentant and open hearts. At times, we can have the tendency to allow the pretense of intellectual or spiritual pride diminish what Jesus has to offer when He says “Come to me, all who labor… and I will give you rest…” – but still His invitation is ongoing and always available. His invitation to each of us involves three actions for us to consider:
- “Come.” The Pharisees and other religious leaders he indicts all said “Do this, do that,” – with many legalistic rules and laws…Jesus is saying true salvation is found only in a Person… Himself. He is saying to us “Come…”
- “Take.” He gives us rest when we come to Him – and when we take his yoke and learn, we find rest through deeper surrender and intimacy with God through Jesus Christ. The “burden” of doing His will is not a heavy one.
- “Learn.” This is a lifelong process. As we learn more about Jesus and His ways, we find a deeper peace in trusting Him in any circumstance. It is actually pretty simple – unified around the person of Christ – yet, we often make it so difficult.
Reflect on the Truth
1. How is your heart – your words, your actions, your desires, your motivations – helping you to see your need for rest? Are you tired? Are you weary? How might Jesus’ words of invitation in this passage be a doorway for you to experience more intimacy with Him?
2. Jesus is inviting each of us to “Come,” “Take,” and “Learn.” This is an invitation into something deeper. Further. Beyond what we’ve allowed ourselves to experience to this point. Where might this invitation be leading you today?
Depend on the Spirit
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the deeper longings, desires or motives in your heart that these thoughts are pointing to. (For example: you may write down, “Jesus, I so desire to come, take and learn. I’m not sure where to start, but I’m willing to take this first step.”) The Lord can help us discern the path forward – through His word, His Spirit, His people.
For Prayer:As we conclude our devotional time, pray for those in our church family who are struggling with performance, work, effort and striving. Pray that God will bring the rest that Jesus offers to each of us as we “Come,” “Take,” and “Learn.”
Read our post “Why Fast?” to learn about the spiritual discipline of fasting and gain a better understanding of why Jesus asked us to fast. We fast not to get something we want from God, but for God to change our wants. We fast because Jesus fasted, He expected we would fast, and we see that the early church fasted.
Read yesterday’s post HERE.
Catch up on all our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting posts on the blog HERE.