Perhaps the most powerful statement Jesus made that would lead to a victorious overcoming life is in Matthew 11:28-30:
“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” (NKJV).
One of the greatest sources of stress in life comes from trying to exalt ourselves in the eyes of others, and the anxiety that comes from trying to maintain that persona. However, when we reject this aspect of our fallen nature and resolve to humble ourselves instead, we are released from that great source of anxiety to find a peace that leads to joy.
When we experience the remarkable contentment of not having to compete for attention, we do not only seek to exalt the Lord and edify His people. We also seek the highest form of leadership, which is to be a servant of all as we follow the path of our Savior. Then we will find a rest for our souls rarely experienced in this life, which leads to the abundant life.
When we take on the yoke of the fear of man or human expectations, we become burdened by stress and anxiety. This steals our true potential in life, the potential to work with the Lord for what He is building—the eternal. This is not the temporary, fickle gratification that comes from man’s approval. When we know we have God’s approval, it does not matter what anyone else thinks. This is the ultimate peace, rest, and freedom by which others witness the kingdom in us.
Another powerful, life-giving way the Lord provides for us to humble ourselves is explained in Deuteronomy 8:2-3:
And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord (NKJV).
How does gathering fresh manna everyday humble us? Jesus said He was the Manna that came down from heaven. He is the daily bread provided from above. Just as Israel had to gather this bread the first of every day and eat it for sustenance, we must seek Jesus first every day. To seek Him first is to acknowledge we cannot make it through the day without Him. That is the humility to which He gives grace.
In this text, the Lord said He gave Israel manna to humble and test them, to see whether they understood that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. The word “proceeds” is present tense. We do not only live by the words that proceeded from Him—past tense—but also by the daily living word that proceeds from Him—present tense.
In Deuteronomy 8:2, the Lord said He gave them manna to humble and test them to see whether they would keep His ways or not. How does gathering manna first each day determine whether we will keep His ways or not? If we consider Him first and seek Him first, it is evident He is first in our lives. If we encounter Him first each day, we will be enlightened and empowered to walk in His ways each day—“today, if you will hear His voice” (see Hebrews 3:7).