Sunday, February 26, 2006

Is Being a Christian a Burden?

I've been studying 1 John 5:2-3 a lot recently in preparation for some teaching I'll be doing soon. It says, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. [3] For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome."

If we're honest, a lot of us want to be like Thomas Jefferson, who cut and paste what parts of the Bible he thought were inspired and not; after all, most people I know have no idea what John was talking about here in v.3. Being a Christian feels like a huge burden sometimes. Why?

Well, this is not a unique thought in Scripture, Psalm 112:1 says, "Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!" Do you see the theme?

As we read Psalm 112 and the following verses after I John 5:2-3, we find that genuine knowledge of God, expressed as faith in Christ, naturally produces joy because we see how great our God is, both in his power and grace; as a result, we are freed from the anxieties to preserve our own interests. After all, it is God who works all things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). We are freed to live lives of mercy, justice, and concern for the poor (see Psalm 112). A person has a new ultimate loyalty and love amounting to an inexpressible joy that makes obedience itself joyful. It ceasing to be a duty--in the burdensome sense-- and becomes a delight. Is it a burden to please the ones we love? Of course not.

How much more is this true with God, the apex of joy and beauty. If we find ourselves burdened and anxious, perhaps our view of God, our faith in Christ, is too small? Who wouldn't be anxious when feeling like we're al alone in this dangerous world? Therefore, our duty and delight each day is to open wide the lenses of my mind and heart to grasp more of what I can of the vastly infinite love and power of Christ. That is the goal of each time we study, pray, converse, and serve--to seek out, believe, apply, and demonstrate the supremacy of God in Christ. By contrast, we to often seek out moral principles and neat intellectual tidbits, which work either to pacify our consciences for time or at least distract us with mental musings.

Our souls want nothing more than this.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...