Lean on Jesus in times of trouble

Jesus Promising Spiritual Rest

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Mat_11:28-30)
Two of the Lord’s “exceedingly great and precious promises” (2Pe_1:4) are found in our present verses: “I will give you rest” and “you will find rest for your souls.” These promises supplement well our earlier studies on God’s promises and God’s rest. The first promise pertains to justification and spiritual birth. The second pertains to sanctification and spiritual growth.
The first promise is addressed to those who are struggling under the burden of guilt and condemnation related to sin: “all you who labor and are heavy laden.” This is where everyone begins their earthly trek. David testified of this common starting point for humanity.” Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me” (Psa_51:5).
In order to enjoy the benefits of this initial promise of rest, a person must bring their sin and guilt to Jesus. “Come to Me.” The Lord Jesus can remove this load of guilt, because he carried that burden of sin for us on the cross. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa_53:6). For all who come to Jesus in humble repentance, forgiveness is granted. The promise is fulfilled: “I will give you rest.”
The second promise is addressed to those who have found the initial rest of forgiveness, but their soul is restless. They are struggling under the burden of trying to produce a godly life by their own fleshly resources. “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal_3:3). They yearn for rescue from the crushing load of walking according to the flesh. “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom_7:24).
In order to enjoy the benefits of this additional promise of rest, a person must yoke up with Jesus (walk with Him in daily intimacy). “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.” This yoke is not for the purpose of pulling half of the load (like the yoke placed upon two oxen). “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” This is yoke of relationship and communion. “Learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart.” Those who walk this path of growing communion with the Lord have this second promise fulfilled. “You will find rest for your souls.”
Lord Jesus, I give You praise for granting me rest from the burden of sin’s guilt and condemnation. Now, I seek You for that daily rest from a self-striving soul. I want to walk with you intimately, day by day, that I might learn of Your humble ways. I long to walk in humility and faith toward You, my Lord, Amen.

How to Fight Discouragement

Once you have received Jesus into your heart, you are “born again” as God’s new child, and you are the Lord’s forever. Receiving Jesus is just the beginning of an entirely new and wonderful life, for “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, and all things are become new.”1

Of course, like any growing child, it is inevitable that the spiritually reborn child of God will stumble and fall as he learns, grows, and progresses along the path of his new life. Like any loving parent, the Lord is very merciful and understanding, and is always quick to lift us up and help us recover from our falls, forgive us for our mistakes, and give us His strength to help us to continue walking His way. “For as a father has compassion on his child, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. And though we fall, the Lord will always uphold us with His hand.”2

When we stumble, fall, or seem to fail, we are prone to become discouraged with ourselves and to perhaps wonder why the Lord would allow such things to happen. But His Word assures us that “not even one sparrow falls to the ground, except our heavenly Father knows it,”3 and that His eye and His hands are upon us, “for you are of more value than many sparrows.”4

No matter what happens to you, the Bible says that “all things work together for good to them that love God.”5 So even though such falls and failings may not seem very good to us at the time that we experience them, we know that the Lord has a reason and a purpose for allowing them. Perhaps they will teach us needed lessons, test our faith, or simply humble us by showing us how weak and helpless we are without Him, so we will pray and draw closer to Him and depend more on His strength and help.

Even though we may not always understand the reasons why we must face the difficulties, trials and tests we face throughout our lives, we must remember that He loves us and is always right by our side to faithfully restore, renew, encourage, and help us. God’s loving Holy Spirit is a comforter, “Who comforts us in all of our trials and tribulations, a very present and close help in time of trouble.”6

The Devil is the accuser of the saints,7 and unlike the Lord who comes to rescue us, he tries to condemn, accuse, and discourage us. The Bible tells us “not to be ignorant of the Devil’s devices,”8 but that we are to “be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”9

The Bible tells us that “there is none righteous, no, not one. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The heart of man is sinful and wicked; who can know it?”10 The Lord knows that none of us are anywhere near perfect; in fact, we’re all pretty much a mess without the Lord! Even the great apostle Paul confessed, “I know that nothing good is in me, in my own sinful self. Oh, what a wretched man I am!”11

The Bible doesn’t say that we’re to look at ourselves. It says we’re to “look unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith!”12 The Lord doesn’t say to look at all our problems, troubles, and woes either, because if we do, we shall surely sink beneath them—just as Peter did when Jesus called him to step out of his boat onto the sea to walk on the water.

It was late at night, and Jesus came walking on the water to His disciples, who were crossing the sea in their boat. The Bible says that “when the disciples saw Him walking on the water, they were terrified, and cried out in fear, ‘It’s a ghost!’ But Jesus immediately said to them, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I. Do not be afraid!’

“But Peter answered, ‘Lord, if it’s really You, bid me to come to You on the water.’ And Jesus said, ‘Come!’ Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind raging and the waves rising, he became afraid and began to sink, crying out, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.”13

When Peter took his eyes off the Lord and began to look down at the waves, he got worried and began to sink. And he probably would have gone under had he not gotten his eyes back on the Lord and cried out to Him for help.

This story provides an excellent illustration of how we can be tempted to give in to discouragement and give up and quit, especially when we’re going through rough or stormy times when we really need to walk by faith and keep our eyes on the Lord.14 It’s at times like these that we can give in to fear as we look at the circumstances and the impossibilities of the situation, and are tempted to look at our own faults, failings, and mistakes.

But God’s power is so much greater than any trial or difficulty we face. All we have to do is call on the Lord for help, and He will help us overcome and defeat discouragement every time. The only way you can be defeated is if you decide that you have a hopeless cause, so you might as well surrender. The Bible warns, “Be not weary nor faint in your minds,”15 because if you faint in your mind and give up the battle of the Spirit, your body will soon faint also and you’ll quit doing the Lord’s will.

So if you want to be useful to the Lord and you want to be a blessing to others, then you need to learn how to fight and overcome discouragement. If you have stumbled and fallen, and discouragement comes in like a flood to depress you, cry out to the Lord with all your heart, and God will deliver you and give you the victory.

The Bible tells us to “put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the Devil’s devices.”16 He gives us a whole list of the different parts of spiritual armor which we need.17 The one offensive weapon listed in this passage is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”18 If you take a Bible verse, a promise from God about His power, protection, forgiveness, mercy—whatever you need—and claim it in prayer, quoting it aloud to the Lord, you will find that “the Word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.”19

When you’re tempted to be constantly reminded of your faults, mistakes, and shortcomings, you can stand on His Word: “My only hope is Christ in me, the hope of glory.”20

Every one of us is a mess. So forget about trying to be perfect; you never will be. Just follow the Lord and do the best you can, knowing that it’s only Jesus who can help you do anything good. Forget yourself and your own problems, and think about others and their needs. Then as you get busy trying to help them and make them happy, happiness will find you. “Give and it shall be given unto you.”21

And if you fall or fail, don’t give up! Don’t drown in your sorrows. Build a bridge out of your broken dreams and set your ships to sail again, even if they’re all tattered and worn. Launch out by faith and see what God can do!

Don’t look down at the waves, at yourself and all your problems. Look up to heaven. “Looking unto Jesus!”22 There’s no need to dwell on your mistakes and failings, problems, and troubles. God’s Word says to think on the good things. “Whatever is true, whatever is honest, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.”23

So when you’re tempted to get down, disheartened, and discouraged, look up! Praise the Lord and thank Him for all that He has done for you. Count your blessings and fill your mind and heart, and even your voice, with positive thoughts and words of prayer and praise, quoting Scripture and singing songs to the Lord. Let the light in—the light of God’s Word, of prayer, of praise, of serving and helping others—and the darkness of discouragement and despair will flee of itself! Praise the Lord! God bless you and keep you encouraged.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
  2. Psalm 103:13; 37:24.
  3. Matthew 10:29.
  4. Luke 12:7.
  5. Romans 8:28.
  6. John 14:16; 2 Corinthians 1:4; Psalm 46:1.
  7. Revelation 12:10.
  8. 2 Corinthians 2:11.
  9. 1 Peter 5:8.
  10. Romans 3:10, 23; Jeremiah 17:9.
  11. Romans 7:18, 24.
  12. Hebrews 12:2.
  13. Matthew 14:25–31.
  14. 2 Corinthians 5:7.
  15. Hebrews 12:3; Galatians 6:9.
  16. Ephesians 6:11.
  17. See Ephesians 6:10–18.
  18. Ephesians 6:17.
  19. Hebrews 4:12.
  20. Colossians 1:27.
  21. Luke 6:38.
  22. Hebrews 12:2.
  23. Philippians 4:8.