"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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
More and more it seems that society equivocates on religion or rejects it altogether. Of course there are many reasons for this but among them have to be the perception that a relationship with God is too restrictive and too burdensome. There are so many bright, shiny, comfortable and sensually pleasurable things out there that seem to be prohibited by the Christian faith that many people are more interested in fulfilling their desires than securing their eternity.
A closer look reveals that the pursuit of pleasure and the rejection of structure and discipline come with their own cages and are often difficult and costly to maintain in more than a senses of the words. When we make our interpersonal relationships our number one priority, there is no one who does not know the effort this can take and the heartbreak that it can involve. It is only Jesus who has truthfully said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you," Hebrews 13:5. When we make working our priority for the sole purpose of gaining more and more and then conspicuously consuming it, we find that it is never enough and become trapped in a cycle of trying to protect what we've accumulated while attempting to gain even more. Jesus asked the question, "For what will it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose or forfeits himself [his soul]," Luke 9:25. Lastly, what of the things that look, feel and taste good to us? Does not the pursuit and enjoyment of some of these things cost us dearly in health, relationships, finances, time and even inner peace? It is written, "What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?" James 4:1.
Beloved, a relationship with the Lord and membership in his body is not the trap that some would make it out to be. It is submitted to you that living outside of him is the true trap. All of the things outside of him that are dangled in front of us are merely bait designed to trap us and keep us imprisoned. Jesus offers freedom: freedom from worry, stress, strife, consequences of our sin and everlasting destruction. Are there observances that we must maintain, obey and respect? Absolutely, just as there are with everything from traffic laws, to work policies and procedures to family rules. None, however, are more beneficial than Jesus' offer of rest from the burdens and weariness generated by the choices we make and an easier yoke with a lighter burden. Let all who have ears hear and let all that hear understand.