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Bearing Our Burdens

Jesus had a way of offering reassurance and comfort when it was needed most. He understood the hurts and difficulties of life. He knew that many of the people to whom He spoke were in need of someone to love and care for them. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus spoke to the people and said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

We considered these words some back when we looked at the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6.  They fit nicely with Jesus’ instruction there concerning worry and anxiousness. I come back to them because I think they are important words for us to continuously consider.

If I am not careful, my inclination is to weigh you down. I can give you command after command from the Scriptures, hoping that reciting commands to you will produce spiritual fruit. Unfortunately, this is sometimes how I do sanctification in my own life as well. If I just try harder and do better I can be more like Jesus.

Even though I have discovered that this never works long-term, I foolishly keep coming back to this strategy. Oh, it works for a little while. Or at least on the surface it works.  But it doesn’t take long before I begin to feel burdened  It doesn’t take long before I begin to feel weighed down. This is why I need to be reminded of the words of Jesus here. I need to cling to the words of Jesus, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Some of you are like me. You want to be told what it takes to honor the Lord. You want to hear the commands of God and be challenged by them. You want to try your best to meet God’s standard. But you are also like me in that you fail. Oh, you make it for a little while. But then you burn out. You get tired of all the hard work that your brand of sanctification requires and you quit trying.

I want to remind you that the yoke of Jesus is easy. His burden is light. He has already met God’s standard on your behalf. There is nothing you can do that will make God love you more. There is nothing you can do to add to the work of Jesus on your behalf.

Now let’s be clear, that should not lead us to lawlessness. No, exactly the opposite is true. It should lead us to pursue Christlikeness by taking on the yoke and burden of Jesus. It should lead us to cling to Him.

As I read the gospels, I am struck by how Jesus goes from speaking hard words about persecution and forsaking family for the kingdom of God to talking about his yoke being easy and burden light. He obviously did not consider these different emphases of His teaching to be inconsistent.

We are not promised in Scripture that life will be easy. In fact, we are promised exactly the opposite.  The Christian life is hard. But Jesus promises to be with us and provide rest for our weary souls. We must learn to stop depending on ourselves and our own efforts. We must turn to Jesus and allow Him to produce His righteousness in us. If we abide in Jesus, He will abide in us.

Adam Blosser is the pastor of Drakes Branch Baptist Church. He can be reached at adam@drakesbranchbc.com.