Are you busy & burdened? Come.

Working.  Carrying burdens.  Struggling to keep up, to carry on.  Does it sound like a description of your life?  Does it sound like a description of a blessed life?

We live in a busy world.  Our technology is a blessing and a curse.  The more we can get done, the more we feel we must get done.  It can put us on a vicious treadmill.  In the midst of the vortex, Jesus calls to us to come aside.  His call must be our priority.  Everything else will fall in place if only we will listen to His urging.  But how?

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30  

Early in the book of Matthew is an explosive passage known as the Beatitudes.  In it, Christ gives startling insights into the life of a believer.  His words take our views and set them on their head; it is almost an upside-down picture of blessing.  Blessed are the needy, grieving, meek and persecuted ones.  What?!  Yet, if we will pause, we will see the wisdom.  Today, let’s just look at the third blessing, Jesus proclaimed in that passage:

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.  Matthew 5:5

Meek.  It isn’t even a word in our standard vocabulary today.  Many mistakenly substitute the idea of ‘weak’ in its place.  They couldn’t be more wrong.  Meek is a glorious, gentle strength that doesn’t quit.  We see it in the call of Jesus as a word He uses to describe Himself.  Jesus invites us to join Him—to be yoked to Him as we go through this life.  Our earthly lives matter to God—to Jesus.  In the Old Testament, God instructed His people to make an altar of earth.  In effect, our lives are an altar of earth.  We can live as sacrifices of praise to God! If we will heed the call of Jesus.

“Come to me.”

He wants to help us carry life’s burdens; to find rest in our lives on earth so that we can and do live to the praise of His glory.  We are created for purpose…eternal purpose that is beyond our ability and personal capacity.  We need the gentle strength of Jesus to accomplish the mission God has designed us for.

The natural world often instructs me in the heart of God, so I searched for videos on how farmers train oxen to the yoke.  Perhaps you’ll enjoy this look at how oxen learn—and how it ties to our faith walk.

It pierced me!  I have not been a very teachable oxen over the years.  I’ve stopped when my Jesus wanted me to move on.  I’ve charged ahead when my Jesus would have had me wait.  Yet He never tired of me or gave up on me.  His meekness…His gentle strength…held me in check.  As the video described, I’ve given myself some injuries yanking on the yoke instead of learning from Jesus…but His loving, patience is healing and transforming me.  He longs to do the same for you.

Are you tired?  Are you carrying burdens that are crushing you?  Yoke up!

Let’s Look Like Jesus: Holy Fear

This series of articles, “Let’s Look Like Jesus” complement the perpetual prayer list for Christian Character.

Holy Fear is actually the antidote to the horrible fear immobilizing so many in the world today.  Fear is a common part of our world; in fact, sometimes it seems fear makes the world go round.

Proverbs 28:14 challenges us though:  ‘happy is the man who is never without fear.’ The words stop me as all of the foolish fears of life eddy through my mind: the fear of aging and infirmity, the fear of disappointing or offending others, the fear of failing, and the fear of shame. The list is endless of those things that we can fear. Yet, those are the fears of evil which destroy life.   Dr. Caroline Leaf explains the deadly impact of fear-based thinking in this brief video:

 

Clearly the wise writer of Proverbs spoke of fears which lead to blessing and life.  There is a reverent fear…an awe…which protects from evil and leads to life.   There are earthly things which inspire a reverent fear. Electricity is one. We often take its power for granted but unleashed electricity is indeed a fearsome, deadly force. The wind is another. At times it is a gentle, refreshing breeze and others a destructive force beyond the control of our best efforts.

The only fear, though, that leads to happiness is awe of our eternal Creator. As a Christian, holy fear is that aspect of our character which flattens us before our mighty God. It is the reverent awe of lying prostrate before the King of Kings which transforms a child of God. It is an attribute of great value in the character of a child of God.

With reverence and fear as an integral trait, we will not only read the Word of God, we will seek to see it become alive in our relationships with others. We will take His Word not only as our standard but as the reality in which we long to live. Our choices will never become completely perfect…our humanity is not eliminated as the character of Christ controls us more fully.  Less of us and more of Him is a life-time process.

Fear of God, though, will lead us to trust in His design, to obedience to His ways. His blessings will overflow into the details of our days. Our lives, and the impact of our lives, will reap eternal rewards with a heart that is humbly reverent. Rejoice today in trusting submission to the Creator…in laying before Him every worry and care knowing that He can and will bring good!