mercredi 8 août 2012

Did Jesus Really Freed Us of All Burdens?

Jesus call us to find rest in him by unloading our yokes and burdens. However, he doesn't say that we are going to be burden free or yoke-free. Jesus does an exchange of burdens with us.  He takes our unbearable burden, and he gives us his light burden and his easy yoke. 

“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.” Matthew 11:28-30 - NIV
A burden or a yoke is something that weighs on our shoulder. It becomes our responsibilities. Before our redemption, we carried our guilt for the sins we did. Christ took away that heavy burden that crushed us, and made us feel worthless. He took upon himself the responsibility of our sins on the cross and dealt with that heavy burden. That's one example of the burden he took away from us.

However Jesus never meant us to live a life without responsibilities or burdens. He just didn't want us to carry heavy burdens or should i say destructive responsibilities. Going on in life feeling guilty or swimming in self-pity never helped anyone. It handicapped our lives, our progresses and restrained us in affirming our personality in a positive light. In brief, these two in particular were a major hurdles to live life in full and meaningfully. Thank God. Jesus was willing to make a trade with us. We traded burdens. We gave him our wearisome burdens, he gave us his light burden.

What we need to remember as we start to take upon ourselves Jesus' burden and yoke, is to avoid to add other burdens or yokes that Jesus did not give us. In other words, to take other responsibilities or instructions that Jesus didn't give us. To the Church of Thyatira, Jesus told them that even if he seemed to have made new demands on them, it was not really a new demand or instruction. He re-comforted them with the thought that the burden he gave them before was still of actuality, he didn't add any new burden. All he asked them was to hold-fast to that old burden he gave them until the end. No addition of new burden for Christians. We should only keep the one we originally obtained from the Lord i.e His instructions/teachings.
Now I (Jesus) say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose ANY OTHER BURDEN on you, EXCEPT to hold on to what you have until I come.’ Revelation 2:24-25 - NIV
Let's also remember that the Lord's teaching or commandments (instructions) are not painful or cumbersome. One of the disciples who lived under Christ Law* says it well: "In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome" 1John5:3 - NIV.

Let me take this opportunity to also make a point on a related topic. For a long time, some Christians have seen in Jesus's call an excuse to live a life devoid of any responsibilities. But we know from a contextual reading of the text on Matthew and many others that they misread and misunderstood Jesus intention. What Jesus did for us was a favor. It is a facilitation. This is what we call grace. Divine Grace is God's favor. The Greek word that is interpreted as 'grace' in the gospel of John 1:17 is 'Charis' which also means a favor. Grace shares the same root as the word 'gift', which means literally 'charisma' in Greek (1 Corinth12). But gifts are not given so people can sit on their hands and do nothing. Gifts are resources that are freely given because we couldn't get them by ourselves. Their are tools for works and not toys for amusements. 

My good friend, Ngabe, has attracted my attention on a specific scripture from one of the Pauline epistles that illustrates what i just said with a lot more charms:
But by the grace of God I  am what I am, and his grace to me (St. Paul) was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them —yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. - 1 Corinthians 15:10 -NIV
Grace is not an excuse for being idle and fruitless. Grace is our strongest reason for an abundant life of service. Grace makes it possible to actually have a fruitful life. Josh Groban in his popular song - You raised me up - expresses it beautifully. He sung that He (God) raised me up so that i can walk on stormy seas, He raised us up so that we can stand on mountain. 

God has given us a beautiful gift - Divine Grace - let us not abuse it or misuse it due to false  teachings. false commandments, false instructions that did not proceed from Him. To accept  anti-biblical teachings are another form of burden people unconsciously take upon themselves that did not proceed from the Lord Jesus. And those who do them will soon or later find themselves disillusioned and confused about life, Christian life and more on the Judgement day (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Let's remember this scripture:
"But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you NONE OTHER BURDEN. BUT THAT WHICH YE HAVE ALREADY fast till I come." Rev 2:24-25 - KJV.
P.S: * There is such thing as a Christ Law - see 1Corinthians 9:21, Galatians 6:2 - among others.
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