I want to share with you a recent conversation I had with the magnificent ladies of Mary Martha in our most recent bible study. We were discussed what it was like living the Christian life and how hard that can be sometimes to follow the commands of Jesus, especially in how we are called to love and care for each other. We all agreed this wasn’t always an easy thing to do, especially during times of stress and hardship. Our reading was from I John 5:3.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome”
So, in our conversation we talked terms like “easy and hard” and “light and heavy” and what they meant for in living out the Christian life. Try this out with me.
First, think about all of the negative thoughts: grumpiness, crankiness, fear, jealousy, and saying hurtful words. You might notice that while you were thinking about those words your facial muscles started to react. Maybe your brow furrowed, your jaw began to clench, your eyes started to squint, and you felt tense and pressure in your face, shoulders, and even your stomach muscles. Now, take a moment and exaggerate those movements, clench your jaw, squeeze your face muscle really hard. How does that feel? Heavy, right? Like your whole face is weighted down.
I don’t want to stay in that place emotionally and I don’t want you to either.
So now, think about all of the positive thoughts: love, joy, peace, mercy, grace, speaking in kindness and love. Now how does your face feel? I know, I felt like the muscles in my face lightened up a bit, the muscles started to relax, and I even had a little bit of a smile on my face. So, do the same thing and exaggerate those movements and let them really open up and relax. How does that feel? Lighter, right? Like a burden has been taken off of your face.
What a difference that makes! What is unfortunate is that so often, those negative thoughts, words, and actions are much easier for us to say, do, and think. They are heavier but easier. The opposite seems to be true as well. Those positive thoughts, words, and actions are harder for us to say but they are so much lighter to live within.
It’s like lying on the ground and letting Satan pile rocks of sin and brokenness upon you. It certainly is easier, but it is heavy and damaging. Or you can let the Holy Spirit pull you out of those rocks and as the stones fall away it is a lot lighter way to live but a lot hard to accomplish.
So, living out the Christian life is light but may be hard but sinking in the sinful life is heavy but easy.
How would you want to live? What do you want your life to be like?
Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus gives us this lightness in our life by being our eternal security. In Jesus, we gain perspective. So often the things that we argue and fight about are truly things that do not matter and will not last—and will not last especially in light of eternity. As Christians in Jesus’ family, we already have all things, all the riches of heaven, and all of the saints, given to us. Do we need to fight over temporary things like money or programs that won’t last and will often be gone in our lifetime when we have all of the riches of heaven already prepared for us?
The life that we have been called to as Jesus’ followers, is no, not always easy, but it is light and a blessing to live. Even in the moments that living this Christian life is hard, we have Jesus by our side to carry us through every moment we have been called to live for Him.
This advent trade your heaviness of sin for the lightness of Jesus.