Once upon a time there was a Christian man who was walking along a road, carrying a very heavy burden. Soon a vehicle pulled alongside of him and the driver kindly offered to help him on his journey. The Christian accepted the offer but when seated in the vehicle, continued to bend beneath his burden, which he still kept on his shoulders. “Why don’t you lay down your burden?” Asked the kindhearted driver. “Oh!” Replied the man, “I feel that it is almost too much to ask that you carry me, much less that you carry my burden as well.”
You can almost see the driver scratching his head over the answer this strange man gave him. As odd as the man’s behavior may have been you must wonder how confusing it must be for a non-Christian to understand Christians who have given themselves into the care and keeping of the Lord Jesus, but still continue to bend beneath the weight of their burdens, and often go weary and heavy-laden throughout the whole length of their life journey.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “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.”
If we were to inquire of those who do not know Jesus as their personal Savior, I am sure most if not all of them would feel instinctively, that a life of inward rest and outward victory is their inalienable birthright. If that is what the general populace expects out of life then how much more should we as Christians expect a life of inward rest and outward victories? Yet for some in the body it can be very allusive. Most of them remember the shouts of joy their souls gave when they first became acquainted with Jesus and His saving grace. Like us they were so sure of their victory so sure that they were more than just conquerors, through Him who loved them so much. They were in an army whose captain had never tasted defeat so how could they ever imagine that their life would be anything but victorious.
We all have known people in the body whose victories have been hard-fought and far between while their defeats are many and with seemingly devastating consequences. If you would ask them they would begrudgingly admit that they live not as they feel children of God should live. Many of them have immersed themselves in understanding doctrinal truths but have not come into possession of their truth and power. If they would be honest with themselves they would admit that they have found Jesus as their Savior from the penalty of sin, but they have not found Him as their Savior from the power of sin over their lives.
I just can’t believe that this was what Jesus had in mind when He laid down His precious life to deliver us from the bondage to sin!
Ephesians 4:22-24, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
If we would take time to look into the scriptures we would find that more is mentioned concerning our being delivered from the bondages to a life of sin than is mentioned of a future heavenly salvation.
There was once a man who had gone missing while staying in Uganda. His friends became concerned and upon inquiring found that their friend had been kidnapped. His redemption could be acquired if they would but pay a ransom. They would have paid anything for their friends freedom but it would have been foolish for them to pay if their friend was not to be released or if released he must walk around bound in chains for the rest of his life.
If Jesus has been my redemption and has rescued me from my captivity, should I still be a prisoner? Was the redemption accomplished for us by our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross not sufficient to save us from the power of sin as well as from its guilt? Must I be a believer, and yet have no faith that reaches to sanctification and a life of Holy living?
If that is your experience then you have found that your experience is not a Scriptural experience; that, as an old writer once said, your religion is “But a talk to what the early Christians enjoyed, possessed, and lived in.”
‘Laying Your Burden Down’
A Christian who was in a great deal of financial trouble was recounting to another Christian the various efforts he had made to find relief from his predicament, and concluded by saying, “But it has all been in vain, and there is literally nothing left for me to do now but to trust the Lord!” “Alas!” Exclaimed his friend in a tone of deepest sympathy, as though no greater risk were possible, “Alas! Has it come to that?”
Some Christians seem to think that all, their Father in heaven wants is a chance to make them miserable and to take away all, their blessing. The man who believes that his sins will be forgiven at some future time, will never find peace while on this earth for the enemy delights in this future faith, for he knows it is powerless to accomplish any practical results while here on earth.
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3,
Maybe this illustration will help. The father of an only child, a little boy, who was to be the heir of his great fortune, was loved very deeply. What if that boy came running to him tomorrow and said, “Father, I have made up my mind to let you have your own way with me from this time forward. I am always going to obey you, and I want you to do just whatever you think best with me. I will trust your love.”
How would he feel towards his son? Would he say to his self, “Ah, now I shall have a chance to make my boy miserable? I will take away all his pleasures, and fill his life with every hard and disagreeable thing that I can find. I will compel him to do just the things that are the most difficult for him to do, and will give him all sorts of impossible commands.” “No!” the Father exclaimed. “You know I would not. You know I would hug him to my heart and cover him with kisses, and would hasten to fill his life with all that was right and good.”
“And are you more tender and more loving than God?” “Are you ready to put your trust in Him?”
‘Say This Prayer’
“Lord Jesus, I believe that you are able and willing to deliver me from all the care and unrest and bondage I have allowed into my Christian life. I believe you did die to set me free, not only in the future but also now and here. I believe you are stronger than sin, and that you can keep me, even me, in my extreme weakness, from falling into its snares or yielding obedience to its commands. And, Lord, I am going to trust you to keep me. I have tried keeping myself, and have failed, and failed most grievously. I am absolutely helpless. So now I will trust you. I give myself to you. I keep back no reserves. Body, soul, and spirit, I present myself to you, as a piece of clay to be fashioned into anything your love and your wisdom shall choose. And now I am yours. I believe you do except that which I present to you; I believe that this poor, weak, foolish heart has been taken possession of by you, and that you have even at this very moment have begun to work in me to will and to do of your good pleasure. I trust you utterly, and I trust you now.”
May you know and live in His perfect will and peace.
Rex and Lois