I’m going a little off ‘marriage/relationship writing’ today in order to share some of what I am wrestling through these days.
Have you ever reached the point of frustration with your sin or struggles, when you are so tired, you just want to quit fighting? That point when you can’t handle it and you feel like a total failure? When it seems like everyone else is doing well and winning except for you? You’re tired, exhausted, frustrated, exasperated, bitter, jealous, angry, and nothing changes. What do you when you are so tired and nothing seems to change? What do you do when the burden feels too heavy to bear?
Recently in Join the Journey, we read through the books of 1, 2, and 3 John. John’s three brief letters at the end of the New Testament often seem forgotten and neglected. I really enjoyed getting to read and be encouraged/challenged by these letters, especially 1 John.
More specifically, I was challenged by John’s words on “love” in 1 John 4:7-5:5. John uses a form of the word “love” 34 times in this passage (i.e. beloved, love, loves)! In this passage we learn, among many other things, that:
- Love is from God (4:7) and God is love (4:8)
- Whoever loves has been born of God and knows God (4:7)
- What really matters is not that we love God, but that He first loved us and sent His Son to cover our sins (4:10, 4:19)
- If God loves us, then we should love one another (4:12, 4:20-21)
- When we love God, we keep His commandments (4:16, 5:2-3) and His commandments are not burdensome (5:3)
This last one is where I want to focus. 1 John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
If I’m honest, it’s really hard for me to believe this statement at times. My way seems better and more fun, God just wants to rip me off, and his commandments, flat-out, wear me out at times. I am tired of fighting the battles and it seems easier to just quit.
Whatever your struggle, hurt, habit, or addiction, I bet you can empathize with me.
Matthew 11:28-30 says, “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 says in Matthew 11 that His yoke is easy and his burden light. Again, the Lord tells us His ways are not burdensome. Yet, why does it feel like His commandments are anything but light at times?
Here’s the bottom line: Can I trust God? Name your area of struggle when the commands seem burdensome: ______________
What do you do when the burden seems too heavy to bear?
Can I trust God with my body and my desires for eating and with a desire to be lazy?
Can I trust Him with my sexuality?
As a premarried couple: Can you trust that God’s design is best, that sex is reserved for marriage? That living together is for couples who are married?
That pornography will wreck your life?
That the praise of man will never fully satisfy?
That the high from drinking and drugs may feel good for a short while but will never lead to satisfaction in life?
If I love God, I will keep His commandments. Welcome to obedience. I don’t obey because it makes God love me more. I obey because it is evidence that He has changed my life.
For example, let’s take my desire to binge on food and neglect my health. Eating poorly and choosing to be lazy is easy. Choosing a salad and doing a Cross Fit workout stinks. Cheeseburgers and television sound so much better than grilled chicken and burpees.
Yet, I have been bought with a price and I am to honor God with my body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Is this commandment to honor God with my body designed to set me free or to just be a burden? In my lesser moments, it’s a burden. But when I trust God, I remember His commandments are the opposite of burdensome – they are life-giving.
Today, can you trust God with your body? With your sexuality? With your desires? Can you trust that His commandments are not burdensome?
His commandments are not burdensome. In fact, when we trust and abide, we see that His burden is light. There is freedom in following Jesus and keeping His commandments.
When the burden seems to heavy to bear, the Lord provides us with the gift of community. In Galatians 6:2, Paul says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
How are you doing at bearing one another’s burdens within community? I thank God for the men and women in my life who bear my burdens and give me the opportunity to bear their burdens as well.
So when the burden feels too heavy to bear, trust God with your burden and lean upon the gift of community He has given to you.
Ask yourself, and be honest, do you see Jesus’ commandments as being a burden?
Are you able to trust God with your burdens?
How are you doing at bringing your community into your struggles and burdens? Don’t forget – God’s people are part of His plan to help us become more like Christ.
Photo credit to Martin Fisch – https://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/