Friday, June 8, 2012

The Burden of Life Exchanged

Have you felt it? The burden of life? The haunting questions like, can I handle my responsibilities well enough? Does my life have significance? What will old age bring me? Can I bear it? What will I do when I'm left alone?

There are fears that hit the mind. There are anxieties about our past, present temptations that we must understand and resist, and fears about the future that weigh on us like a heavy yoke. Jesus addresses a heavy burden, and for those who acknowledge it and give it to Him, He places His light and easy yoke on their shoulders. As we choose to trust Him and surrender to His guidance and authority, we are no longer dictated to by the hard-taskmaster--our self-willed flesh; the heavy burden of our humanity melts into His easier lighter one, and we are left with rested hearts.

Even in the midst of difficult times we can breathe easier as we realize how free we can be from the bondage of destructive self-will, flesh-driven desires, illusion, falsehood, and hopelessness. To the contrary, our minds are truly set free under the authority of The Truth--Jesus Himself! Our spirits are free to follow His example. Our will is free to do His bidding. Our emotions are free to be put under His governance. We are free to make every decision before Him, directed by Him in the paths that will please Him and give our Abba a good reputation.

John Stott speaks of these things in his little book, Why I Am A Christian. He says, "...the burden we lose when we come to Christ is heavy, whereas his burden, he said, is 'light.' ...the yoke we lose when we come to Christ is a misfit; it chafes on our shoulders. But the yoke we gain is 'easy'; How is this? I think it is that both our mind and our will find their freedom under the authority of Christ. The only authority under which our mind is genuinely free is the authority of truth...What Jesus offers us is the light burden and easy yoke of a kind and gentle master. Under them we find rest... Everybody is looking and longing for rest, for peace, for freedom. And Jesus tells us where it can be found--in losing our burden at the cross and in submitting to his teaching authority. Freedom is indeed found in laying down our burden, but it is the great paradox of Christian living. It is under Christ's yoke that we find rest and in his service that we find freedom. It is when we lose ourselves that we find ourselves, and when we die to our self-centeredness that we begin to live."

I'm so thankful for this exchange.