There seems to be quite a bit of “stirring” coming from my Bible reading these days. Not that this is unexpected or new…more, it is intended as a means of confession and accountability I suppose. I figure the stirring is meant to incite change in my actions and my thinking, so putting it “out there” sort of puts me on the spot…sorta.
I don’t know if, or think, the passages I’ll share are directly or contextually related; well actually, I know they are not, but in a general “big picture” application, I believe they are connected. I’ll share my thoughts as they came from my journal, raw and unedited.
“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
My Thoughts: What is the “yoke” of Jesus? I wonder if we truly consider what is involved with or counting the cost of coming under the authority of the One who guides the yoke. While there is partnership involved in sharing the yoke, there is always a dominant leader who “rules” the yoke— Sometimes I think we are eager for someone to help us share our load and manage our burden; however we are also quick to abandon the yoke when the course of sharing and partnering carries us onto a path we dislike… or when our progress and relief doesn’t come as quickly or in the form that we would like. I think we like to picture the yoke of Jesus more like the yoke on a team of oxen instead of a Roman cross… so much tamer that way.
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God… Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. (James 4:4-10)
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. (1 John 2:15-16)
My Thoughts: Do we give these passages enough serious and honest thought? I think more often than not, we try to think or talk our way around them attempting to convince ourselves they mean something different than what they are intended to mean. I think we like the world and the comforts its systems and governmental order brings. We prefer comfort over sacrifice. We prefer compromise instead of pushing back against the systems that are antithetical to the ways of Jesus. We prefer selective obedience instead of whole-hearted submission to the authority of Christ. We choose the kingdom of men and the world over the Kingdom of God and excuse ourselves through self-deceiving lies intended to make us feel better about our disobedience to the commands of Jesus.
“What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29)
My Thoughts: Too often, I think; we take words like these above and say things like, “Oh, those are demons chatting up Jesus and the meaning of this to me (since I am a Christian) is their recognizing Jesus as Son of God. So, this proves Jesus is God…” and we move on. We think or assume this is the extent of what God has to speak to us about those words. Maybe we are mistaken.
More often than we care to admit, we tend to embrace the attitude of those demoniacs. Perhaps anytime we push back against the leadership of Christ Jesus we also say, “What have you to do with me Son of God?” We feign compliance to the will and way of God until it imposes too much discomfort on us—and then we rebel—either in a tantrum of overt disobedience and rejection of His commands, or passively aggressively we ignore, pretend not to hear, or reinterpret what we “hear” God say in order that we might justify our rebellion. Honestly, when we do this, we are not too far removed from those demoniacs.
O Lord, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me.
And, I continue to ponder…reflect…