Deeper Hope:

An Abiding Virtue

This book explores the meaning -- and application -- of Christian Hope. It takes the fuzzy concept of Hope and reveals it in everyday settings



Say yes to Students of Jesus in your inbox:



« Meditation: The Right Time is . . . When? | Main | "Make Every Effort" ~ How We Respond to God's Grace »

Beyond Rest and Peace

God has a greater vision for what is possible in our lives than we have for ourselves. Many of us would be thrilled to simply attain the promise Jesus offered: "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)

It’s true: there is a practical harmony capable of generating the rest and peace he promises. I suspect that for most of us this would be enough, but what if this wonderful invitation represented the starting point of our life in Christ? What if Jesus has something more in mind for us?

Beyond rest and peace are the staggering possibilities of living a life imitating Jesus in word, thought, attitude and deed. I believe Jesus invites us to learn from him because he intends to reproduce himself in us. He does not invite us to learn about him; he presents to each of us the incredible offer to become conformed to his image.

In Jesus, God came to earth to accomplish something greater than the forgiveness of sin. Jesus also came to earth in order demonstrate the possibilities of a life lived in harmony with the Father. Jesus was fully God and fully man; to understand his humanity is to encounter the hope that Christlikeness is possible in this life. In his earthly ministry Jesus used everyday situations to shape his disciples: paying taxes, feeding the hungry, fishing, encountering a fever at home, settling disputes between people filled with pride and competition. Jesus knew that commonplace situations contained eternal possibilities: a drink of water could change a town, coins could become cities, palm leaves could threaten an empire. Moreover, Jesus expected to leave behind a group of followers who were capable of continuing his work in every respect. His solutions transformed the most unlikely cast of characters into world-changers who operated with his priorities, lived out his example, and operated with the same authority and power as their Master.

Perhaps--for some--this vision is too large. We asked for forgiveness. Life-change is more than we have a right to expect. Except it is the Lord's own vision for us. He invites us to become just like him.

We must choose whether becoming like Jesus is possible in this life, or even desirable. If we decide that becoming like Jesus is not possible, could it be that we are avoiding facing the more difficult question of whether it is desirable?

Reader Comments (3)

I cannot get my head around “imitating Jesus in word, thought, attitude and deed.” My heart tells me that it is a double plus yoke Jesus is teaching of in Matthew 11:28-30. This, to me, would then mean that together we (all of His disciples and He) would balance the load as a team bound in one single yoke. We can catch our breath (rest for our souls) while still working eternally in the same shared direction; whereas working subject to our individually different choices of direction we loose our breath in total exhaustion. With that picture in mind I don’t see imitating Jesus but instead working side by side in harmony with Jesus’ influence … eternally: Luke 10:25-37.

YOKE (according to Strong’s):
2218 zugos (dzoo-gos');

from the root of zeugnumi (to join, especially by a "yoke"); a coupling, i.e. (figuratively) servitude (a law or obligation); also (literally) the beam of the balance (as connecting the scales):

KJV-- pair of balances, yoke.

SOULS (according to Strong’s):
5590 psuche (psoo-khay');

from 5594; breath, i.e. (by implication) spirit, abstractly or concretely (the animal sentient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from 4151, which is the rational and immortal soul; and on the other from 2222, which is mere vitality, even of plants: these terms thus exactly correspond respectively to the Hebrew 5315, 7307 and 2416):

KJV-- heart (+-ily), life, mind, soul, + us, + you.

It is so very important that we value each other as God does; uniquely equal with none imitations of another. It is only from His demonstration of love that we learn to labor in mercy for our neighbor’s needs, who then can heal to find the strength to labor in mercy for ours. If we imitate Jesus, rather than be ourselves directed by Jesus in our hearts and minds, we are weaker as a team than if we share harmoniously that which makes us each different than Jesus. We will never know as much as Jesus for the teacher is always learning more than the students.

Our Father in Heaven equally loves every one of us as each different therefore in His heart none can be imitations of another. All of us, throughout all time, having something different to offer than any other ever. We are, as Man, in the spiritual image of God no different than our children who are in our physical image; each recognizable as different individually but collectively of the same family.

If I choose to be yoked with Jesus, along with all of his other disciples who are likewise looking to His direction, we “must” pull together, right? If I am yoked alone with Jesus then the load can be no heavier than twice what I can pull. I do not have anywhere near the same amount of strength of our older and more experienced Brother and I am not expected to by our Father. If enough of us pull together even the most weak can be yoked in our team to produce all the work necessary; the more of us pulling in one direction the less demand required for each individual member.

Shared yoke requires all to pull balanced not exceeding the strength of the weakest and at a pace no greater than slowest; who is loved and of no less value than the strongest and fastest.

October 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHerm Halbach

Living the life in Christ is the greatest fulfilling thing that we do not have to do. Surrender to all that the Father is calling us to be..... opens up all the opportunities that we could ever imagine for both ministry and being "Christ like".

Rest and peace comes when we are busy being obedient to the Father. Obedience results in a love relationship like we have never known before.

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave Haibach

Hi Herm: It is difficult to get our head around this idea, but as amazing as it is, I believe it's the testimony of scripture.

Dave: Hello! How are you? What a wonderful and high calling we have together in Christ. And yes, isn't it a "co-incidence" that when we order our lives around God's ways, we discover life and peace?

October 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRay Hollenbach

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>