Jesus’ Lifestyle: The Perfect Remedy to a Hurried Life (Even Today)

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry" by John Mark Comer. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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How fast was the pace of Jesus’ life? How did he observe the Sabbath? Is his lifestyle transferable to modern society?

Jesus had a lot of excellent habits. Two of them, in particular, allowed him to cultivate an unhurried lifestyle that gave him peace and helped him accomplish meaningful tasks. John Mark Comer discusses these two habits and urges you to adopt them if you want to escape a hectic existence.

Read more to learn about Jesus’ lifestyle that you can emulate.

Jesus’s Lifestyle

Comer argues that you can prioritize meaningful experiences and commit to a life free of rushing by following the lifestyle of Jesus. According to the Bible’s four gospels—which amount to Jesus’ biography—Jesus’ lifestyle was lively, not rushed.

(Shortform note: Scholars debate whether the gospels are an accurate biography of Jesus. For instance, in Zealot, Reza Aslan argues the gospels may not be trustworthy because they were written years after most of the events they detail. Aslan says that according to other historical records and accounts of Jesus’ life, Jesus was likely more of a radical revolutionary than the gospels depict him to be. By contrast, in The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel shares Comer’s view that the gospels are biographies of Jesus. Citing research by Craig Blomberg, Strobel says that three of the four gospels do count as trustworthy eyewitness accounts because they were written toward the end of Jesus’ life, as well as suggesting that the gospels may have been written earlier than the scholarly consensus says.)

We’ll begin this section by looking closely at a particular passage of the Bible, one in which Jesus calls upon his believers to follow his lifestyle. Then we’ll present Comer’s insights on how to model your lifestyle after Jesus’. 

Jesus’ Call to Follow His Lifestyle

Comer emphasizes a particular passage from the Bible, Matthew 11:28-30, that sheds light on Jesus’ hope that his followers adopt his lifestyle: “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.”

Let’s explore Comer’s interpretation of two specific lines from this passage.

Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Comer says that here, Jesus acknowledges that life’s burdens wear people out spiritually, mentally, and physically. He invites them to experience rest from these burdens. 

(Shortform note: Theologian Albert Barnes offers two alternative interpretations for Matthew 11:28. First, Jesus may have been saying these lines to Jewish people who were burdened by strict religious traditions. According to this interpretation, Jesus is specifically inviting them to free themselves from the burden of following these strict traditions. Second, Jesus may have also been speaking specifically to sinners who were burdened by the guilt of their sins. According to this interpretation, his promise to give them rest is a promise for forgiveness and salvation.)

Matthew 11:30: “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” A yoke is a beam that rests across the shoulders of a pair of oxen, enabling them to pull weight. Comer argues that Jesus is saying that he’s figured out a method—symbolized by the yoke—to make life more bearable. You can achieve this same result by mimicking his method. 

(Shortform note: Another writer offers a slightly different interpretation of this line: that Jesus is contrasting the heavy yoke of strict religious traditions, as described above, with his easier way of practicing religion. This writer explains that the Pharisees and Sadducees (members of Jewish sects) enforced over 600 religious laws—laws that Jesus felt were too burdensome. In Matthew 22:40, Jesus instead offers only two laws to follow: 1) Love God, and 2) love people.)

According to these passages, Jesus urged his followers to mimic his lifestyle—but what was his lifestyle, specifically? Lastly, we’ll highlight three habits that allowed Jesus to live a meaningful lifestyle free of rushing, and we’ll explore how you can mimic his lifestyle even in modern times.

Habit 1: Slow Your Daily Tempo

First, according to Comer, you can mimic Jesus’ lifestyle by slowing the tempo of your daily life. We’ll begin this section by describing the pace of Jesus’ lifestyle; then, we’ll explore why and how you might model the pace of your life after his.

Jesus’ Daily Tempo

The idea that Jesus’ life was slow-paced and free of rushing may surprise you. Comer says that most people think of Jesus as someone who rushed from town to town, healing the sick and preaching to as many people as he could. However, Comer explains that this portrayal is inaccurate: Jesus never rushed in his endeavors. For instance, he took his time visiting and healing the sick. 

(Shortform note: Why do we have this idea that Jesus’ lifestyle was rushed? One writer says that the way the Bible is written may give this impression. Verses like Mark 1:21-45 are packed with summaries of everything Jesus was up to, from healing the sick to speaking to crowds, and these verses often use words like “immediately” that convey a sense of rushing.)

Habit 2: Honor the Sabbath

In addition to slowing the overall pace of your everyday life, Comer says you should slow down for a full day every week—the Sabbath. This day provides an opportunity to take a break from your usual, rushed routine (such as work and chores) so you can engage in slow-paced, meaningful, and spiritual experiences.

How Jesus Honored the Sabbath

The Gospels reveal that Jesus regularly honored the Sabbath. According to Comer, Jesus did so for multiple reasons. First, he did so to obey God’s commandment. One of God’s Ten Commandments is “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8). By “keeping it holy,” God meant taking a break from your typical routine to spend the day worshiping him.

Second, Jesus honored the Sabbath to experience enjoyment. When the Pharisees critiqued Jesus and his followers for how they spent their Sabbath, Jesus replied, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). Comer interprets this line to mean that God created the Sabbath as a gift for us to enjoy.

Third, Jesus honored the Sabbath to continue a tradition of resisting oppression. The Old Testament explains this connection between honoring the Sabbath and fighting oppression: Moses delivers the Ten Commandments to an audience of slaves who escaped Egypt, and the commandment about the Sabbath reads: “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day” (Deuteronomy 5:15). According to Comer’s interpretation of this passage, this commandment frames rest as a form of resistance against oppression.

Jesus’ Lifestyle: The Perfect Remedy to a Hurried Life (Even Today)

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Here's what you'll find in our full The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry summary:

  • Our cultural obsession with rushing and how it's harmful in many ways
  • How to stop rushing by deepening your Christian spiritual practice
  • How to carve out more time for your spiritual practice

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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