Christianity complicates a life. Making the decision to take on a life of faith and seriously pursuing it will most certainly be more than the initiate bargained for. It doesn’t matter if your life of faith began at a church camp or altar at the age of 9 or if you found yourself more questioning, restless and needy at 39. Aren’t we still learning that in some areas the gospel, instead of lessening our burdens, it actually seems to add to them?
Quaker philosopher Elton Trueblood (great name, isn’t it?) says it this way. “Occasionally we talk of our Christianity as something that solves problems, and there is a sense in which it does. Long before it does so, however, it increases both the number and intensity of the problems. Even our intellectual questions are increased by the acceptance of a strong religious faith . . . . If a man wishes to avoid the disturbing effects of paradoxes, the best advice is for him to leave the Christian faith alone.”
The Lord attempts to comfort us through His words by encouraging us not to be anxious about anything while living the Christian life. (Phil. 4:7+) While we may know these verses and attempt to closely follow the prescribed steps . . .pray, petition, be thankful . . .we don’t always appropriate the peace of God which is promised. It seems to require a very settled spirit to get to this “peace point,” but it is there nonetheless. When we do sense that supernatural covering, it is indeed remarkable. We may find ourselves in awe of the calm we experience though everything around us appears to be falling apart . . . and it might really be! Jesus’ own words to us from Matthew 11 might seem a paradox. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Gaining this comfort can come with a burden, that of actually taking on the burden/responsibility/adventure of trying to live the “Christ life.” “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.” Does it always seem “light” and “easy” to you?
This agricultural illustration about yokes is really descriptive of what God wants us to experience with Him, and not just in the storms of life. If you’ve ever watched animals working under a yoke you clearly get the significance and the point of Jesus’ statement. There is no place for two leaders under the yoke. One must be dominant and the other must submit to the lead. Not only does that get more accomplished, but it’s a heck of a lot less strain in the process. Though work or our life’s challenges may indeed be a burden, our proximity to Christ, our attention to the direction He wants to lead and our commitment to follow His way will make the effort lighter and under the mantle of His promised peace. This can take some practice, but Jesus is a patient teacher. When we begin to practice of living “in” Christ rather than living “for” Christ, we’ll see a transition occur that finds us peacefully and enjoyably living by the Spirit more so than by our flesh. Think About It.