“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”—Matthew 11:30Last week I had the privilege of speaking each evening at the Redwood Campmeeting in the Northern California Conference. Each night we pursued a deeply intimate encounter with God and His character of Love. One evening after my meeting, I had the opportunity to meet a dear sister who will remain nameless, but she will forever stand out in my memory. The reason is that her statements and questions summed up what I have found too many of us feel.
She came to me quite emotional and said, “I’ve been listening to you each night, and I don’t understand! I have been a Christian for the last 15 years, and not only have I never heard the things you are sharing before, but I have never experienced the things you speak of either . It’s like I’m hearing the Gospel for the first time! My walk with Jesus has been hard! I’m barely hanging on.” She couldn’t understand why she had such a hard time being a Christian when Jesus said His yoke is easy. The more we talked, the more I began to understand why her experience had been so hard. She had a focus similar to the one the disciples had in the beginning of their walk with Jesus.
Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” (John 6:28)
The disciples’ focus was on their own “doing.” In their misplaced emphasis on themselves, they had missed what Jesus’ mission was primarily about. The Apostle John wrote, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (John 1:18) Ever since the time of the Garden of Eden, humanity has had the wrong picture of God. The fall of the human race was rooted in deception concerning God’s character. Jesus came to reveal or “explain” to us what the Father is truly like. Just as our fall came through believing the serpent’s misrepresentation of the Father, our redemption is deeply grounded in believing the truth concerning our Heavenly Father. Thus God’s primary objective is that we be focused on something much greater than our own doing!
Jesus responded to the disciples’ question, not by telling them what they must do, but by offering them a reorientation concerning what following God was all about.
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe….” (John 6:29)
Christianity is primarily about believing what Jesus stated concerning the character of God. All the “doing” comes as the result of what it is we believe about Him. You see, when we really begin to grasp the truth of what God is, amazement quickly turns into a deep, resonating gratitude and appreciation toward God for what He is. And this gratitude, this heart-level faith begins to change our orientation from our ceaseless self-centeredness to a passionate desire to live only for “Him who loved us.” (See 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15) Then all the “doing” rises out of this desire to love Him back. After that, the “doing” happens naturally and spontaneously.
Are you tired of feeling that following Jesus is so “hard”? Would you like your walk with Him to be “easier”? Are you tired of “doing” it all on your own? I leave you this week with the words of Jesus, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [come to know and believe the truth I am revealing about our Heavenly Father], 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)