When I first started to train for triathlon I was also first starting to be a disciple. So, I’d create a verse for every mile I ran. I’d memorize 3 or 4 verses and head out on my run with the addresses written on my wrist or on a small piece of paper I could tuck in a key pocket. Each mile, I’d focus on one particular verse.
I’d like to share with you two of my very favorites. Verses that I inevitably chose to start a run with because the first mile or two is the hardest until the body settles in. These verses helped me to relax and move through!
Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give you is light.”
Jesus also says in John 16:33: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
I love these two verses because together, they help me to understand what “walking” with Jesus means. They help me to stay close to Jesus.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus instructs us to come with whatever we have and whoever we are and He will give us rest. Everything Jesus says is true right? Right. So, the first part of walking is to come and to come with everything. Not all cleaned up, not ignoring our baggage, past, burdens, fears or worries. To come authentically and transparently.
Jesus says He will give you rest. Not a maybe, not a may, not a might but a WILL.
Next Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you.” Farmers use yoke on plow animals to steer them so the fields are plowed correctly. Jesus is saying, “do life my way.”
Next Jesus says some of my favorite words that He ever spoke, “Let me teach you, for I am humble and gentle at heart.” We can bring our junk, put on His yoke (way of doing things) and He will teach us, gently!
“You will find rest for your souls.” How often do we forget that we are a soul with a body? We are so aware of being in a body we forget we are a soul! It is our soul Jesus came to save and Jesus also tells us that there is nothing more important than our soul. It is my soul and your soul He will put at rest – now, in this life in this body! Sometimes, I don’t even realize how weary my soul is. Do you? But, our souls can be restful. Oh I love that and want that!
Lastly in these verses Jesus says, ” For my yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give you is light.” Whatever Jesus says is true, if the yoke (His way of doing things) is easy and the burden is light, what is there to lose? Nothing. What are the other alternatives? Doing things my way? Well, I’ve done that and I can tell you, it was not easy and it was not light. Can you relate to my experience?
A dear, dear friend of mine has told me for years that Jesus is a gentleman. He says come – He doesn’t barge in. He promises rest. He promises to teach gently. He promises that doing things His way is “light” and that any burden it may cause is “easy.”
To me, this is the essence of walking with Jesus. I come. He provides rest. He teaches. I obey. My soul finds rest. Teacher and student. Sinner and Savior. Doing life together.
Let’s now take a look at John 16:33 and then put these verses together.
In John 16:33 Jesus says,”…you may have peace in me.” Notice that Jesus uses the word may and not will. I believe it’s a may because if we put on the yoke and stay close to him we will have peace. However, more often than not we come close or put on the yoke or keep the yoke on, so then peace is a may and more than likely a may not!
“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” There’s that will word again. Yes, life is going to be a challenge, troublesome and probably hurt. It won’t be a bed of roses or all butterflies and unicorns. Better to accept this truth and live in reality I think. Don’t you?
Lastly, “But take heart, I have overcome the world.” I would just love to put an exclamation point at the end of that sentence instead of a period! Jesus is saying here that this life, in our bodies is not the be all and the end all! In the end, He rules everything and wins! It’s so easy to think only of this life in our human body isn’t it? It’s easy to forget that heaven and eternity are promised those who believe in Jesus.
These 2 verses are ones I hold very, very dear. They remind me to come, to let Jesus teach me and then do what He teaches and then Jesus will give me peace and strength.,. When I coach indoor cycling classes, I often tell the cyclists to “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” This means work hard, get used to it, you’ll live. Jesus used much gentler language but if I were to paraphrase what He’s saying in these verses it might go like this , “Hey, look, life is going to be tough. Get used to it. But, come to me, I’ll teach you how to live in this life so that your troubles won’t be unbearable. Stay with me and I’ll provide you peace and rest. And when you just can’t take it, because there will be times like that, I’ll still be with you so, keep your eye on the prize. I win in the end and Heaven is the place my Father has planned for us. A place of perfect peace and paradise. But right now, first and foremost, stick with me. Remember, I’m Emmanuel which means ” God is with us.” Together, we’ll get to eternity where Heaven is waiting for you.”
Seriously. How beautiful is that? Truly, Jesus is wonderful beyond what we can possibly understand or comprehend. Thank you for reading this, writing it has filled my heart with overwhelming gratitude and love for Jesus.
In closing, In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”
He’s knocking. Will you open the door to yourself to Him? That’s a decision I promise you, you will never regret!