FREEDOM AND REST!
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32.
“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.
Jesus promised that, if we wear His yoke we will have rest and if we hold to His teaching we will be set free. Freedom and rest! Isn’t that what people want, especially in today’s world of rush and hurry, and also of so much emotional pain and bondage.
It is tragic that many people who say they believe in Jesus are just as stressed and depressed as those who don’t. Believers get divorced, their families break up, their children are rebellious and disobedient, financial struggles happen to them, their businesses fail, they are out of work. Life is tough for them and often doesn’t make sense. Believers often wonder whether following Jesus is worth the trouble and they ask the question: “Is it possible to be free and at rest in our hearts in spite of being busy with so many things; work, family, trying to survive in difficult times?”
The problem is that we try to live our Christian lives our way and, when it doesn’t work, we blame God. Why did He not do this, that or the other thing for me? Why didn’t He answer my prayers? Why didn’t He do what I asked? We are disappointed with Him and we lose faith or even give up.
Now let’s look at the problem from Jesus’ point of view.
We have already learned what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus. He said, “Follow me,” not “Come to me and I’ll give you everything you want and make life easy for you.” Why do we have to follow Jesus? Because He is taking us somewhere. He said, “I am the way to the Father.” Why is He taking us to the Father? Because that is our final destination.
You see, Jesus came to show us the Father and to take us to the Father because He created us to be His sons and daughters. Sin alienated us from Him and broke up His family. Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father and to re-unite His family so that we can live together in fellowship with Him and with one another. Going to heaven when we die is only a part of the plan. He wants us to learn to live together as a family here and now.
So, following Him and wearing His yoke is the way we learn to be God’s family in this life first before we go to be with Him forever.
The next part of our journey is to find out what Jesus wants from us and for us so that we can do His will here on earth. When the people in the world see how human beings ought to live, and the rest and freedom that living God’s way brings to us, they will be attracted to Jesus and convinced that He really is the Son of God. He wants us to invite them back into His family where they belong and to share the rest and freedom that living His way makes possible.
This means that we must understand what Jesus wants us to do and be in the ordinary, everyday, practical things of life; things like the way we treat our enemies, the way we use our money, how and what we pray for, forgiving those who hurt us, and so on.
In the next few blogs, we will study Jesus’ teaching and how to apply it so that we understand what it means to follow Him and wear His yoke. When we do that, He promised that we shall enjoy His rest and experience real freedom; not freedom to do as we like, but freedom to do what is right because that is the way to have rest in our hearts.
SCRIPTURE TAKEN FROM THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
Watch this space. My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master, will soon be on the bookshelves.
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