Dear Fellow Disciple-Maker,
People like successful outcomes. People like winning. When we don't get the result we were hoping for, disappointment naturally sets in. We love it when things turn out as we hoped, and are not so happy when things do not go our way.
To address our naturally competitive spirit, Jesus offers his humility. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). These verses free us from always needing to get our way. The humility of Jesus enables our soul to still have peace when the outcome is not in our favor.
In his helpful book, Renovation of the Heart in Daily Practice, Dallas Willard writes, "In spiritual transformation it is necessary to take the soul seriously and deal with it regularly and intelligently, and to be mindful of it. Yet you hear little about the soul in Christian groups, and you see few people seriously concerned about the state of their own soul."
Jesus however, took the souls of other people seriously. He noticed people who had tired souls. In Matthew 9:36 he described the crowds as distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. He invited such people to come to him and become his students. He encouraged them to learn from him by yoking themselves to him. By walking with Jesus, we discover that the burdens of life are lighter. Jesus is helping pull the load.
Connecting to Jesus' yoke and learning from his humility frees us to abandon outcomes to God. With the contentment that humility brings, successful outcomes cease to be our focus. Our soul can be at peace because we are trusting God to determine the outcome in his way and in his time.
Are there specific expectations you are holding on to? Can you still trust God if the outcome you expect never happens? If a certain job, or living situation, or relationship does not work out, will you still have peace?
Open your heart to God. Humbly tell God that you are trusting him with your lot in life. Ask God to teach you contentment regardless of the outcome. Soul rest comes when we put our present and future burdens into his gentle hands. A familiar hymn says it best:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Author: Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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