Every day, I see Christians trying so hard. I hear people talking about the heavy load they carry, and how they need more faith to trust the Lord with these heavy weights. It's obviously God's will to struggle through life, it seems. But didn't Jesus say that his yoke is light?
There's a missing ingredient that I've found. hidden right under my nose. After years of trying to lift this heavy burden of "Christianity," whatever that means, I believe I've found the one secret to a successful, fulfilling, joyous Christian existence, no matter what's going on in my circumstances. Once you grab onto this secret with all of your might, and refuse to let go, I believe you may be shocked at how much simpler this whole "Christianity" thing becomes.
Can it really be that simple? One thing that makes this whole walk smooth? I've found it to be true in my own life. Lighten the load, with one simple, singular focus. Feel the peace that surpasses understanding and get on with living life the way God truly wants you to live it.
We are at war. But that doesn't mean you have to be constantly struggling, moment by moment, in a never-ending tug of war with yourself that you feel you can never win. Give yourself a break already.
And once you really embrace this one simple understanding, you'll be in a better position to lighten the load others carry. Instead of well-meaning advice that often falls on deaf ears, provide your loved ones with words that genuinely bring comfort and restoration to their souls when times are at their toughest.
Ignore this truth, and the people around you will feel it. You'll project your struggles onto everyone around you. Even with the best of intentions, you'll sabotage relationships, cause unnecessary tension and turn hopefulness into heartache.
Christianity was never supposed to be a frustrating experience of fits and starts, where you take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. Where you feel close to God one day and so far from him the next. Where you wrangle and hustle and struggle, only to find yourself falling short and feeling tired.
The bible says that if we take hold of this simple truth, then times of refreshing will come from the Lord. I don't know about you, but I could use some refreshing from the Lord.
What is the lone truth you need to guide you to the refreshing experience of Christianity that the bible promises? The Gospel.
You say, "I already know the Gospel." Are you sure?
What is the Gospel? Take a few minutes and really think about it. First, take a few moments to really meditate on your sinfulness. No, this isn't a guilt trip. I mean really think about how God sees every thought. Every cross word. Every time I've lost my temper or acted selfishly. Every time I dishonored Him. How many times have I done that today? 10? 50? It's true that I'm desperately wicked. I choose iniquity. In fact, I drink it up like water. How about you?
Now, how sweet is the cross, in light of all of that? Even though that's who you are, in truth, God demonstrated His love for you on that brutal, bloody cross. He did that for you. He created this whole world. Everything you see. He owns it. You've cursed Him with your thoughts and with your actions, but look how much He loves you anyway.
Doesn't that make you want to worship Him? Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me? How amazing is God's love for us!
Take a few moments to bask in this truth, and everything seems a little different, doesn't it? But here's the thing: you've got to do this every day. You've got to put aside everything else and meditate on the Gospel every day. Otherwise, Christianity (and life, for that matter) will just become a heavy burden. There's only one way it'll be different: meditating on the Gospel every day.
Know what else? How you think of others will change when you do this, too. You'll start seeing people as God sees them. You'll stop (consciously or unconsciously) trying to "punish" others, because they've already been punished. When you want to fight, you'll take your fight to the foot of the cross, look up and suddenly break into worship.
When things are hard, you'll take that to the cross and realize that you've gotten far less than you deserve, and far more than you deserve. Your circumstances will cause you to worship God. You'll experience the times of refreshing your soul desperately longs to taste.
You say, "Don't all Christians already know the Gospel?" Paul seemed to think he needed to remind Christians of the Gospel constantly. Read through his letters. He's constantly preaching the Gospel - to born again believers. Why? Because we constantly need to meditate on the truth of the Gospel.
Because we are at war. And much of this war is fought in your mind. The only antidote is reminding ourselves that Christ died for us. That He was, and we are, resurrected to a new life because our God is rich in mercy and grace and love toward us.
Every day, we need the manna of the reminder of how much God loves us and demonstrated that love. Yes, it's good to read your bible, pray, go to church and tell others about Christ. But the most essential part of this whole journey is constantly spending time meditating on who you are, and who Jesus is, and what He has done because He is so merciful.
If you think this is too simplistic, I challenge you to pray this through. For the next week, take just 10 minutes, close your eyes and really stop to think about your sinfulness. Who you are in truth. The thoughts no one sees. Think about the brutality of the cross. The blood He shed for you. The anguish. A pain we can never even begin to understand. Yet he cried out, "Father, forgive them." He cried out, "It is finished."
After a week, I promise you that your burdens won't be so heavy and your heart will worship Him more and more. God invites you to walk with Him in the cool of the day, like Adam and Eve once did. This is how. Will you walk with Him today, meditate on the Gospel, and experience the time of refreshing He longs to have with you?