“it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 One of the many benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection for us is in exchanging our yoke of weighty burden for His freedom which gives us peace and rest. I know sometimes this is easy to say and not so easy to do. We think we’re doing fine in our walk with the Lord and then all of a sudden we are thrown for a loop. If you have a difficult time with this, then this is for you.
We have a tendency these days to desire that particular formula that will get us to the end result. In fact, many articles are written giving us step 1, step 2 and step 3. But in our walk with the Lord there is no set formula. We are complex people with different strengths and weaknesses.
There are particular disciplines we need to persistently pursue to mature in our faith and trust in the Lord. First, we must read His Word. His Word is our life manual. A committed Christian walk consists of praying, reading and studying His word. As we read in His Word, we learn how others walked with God and grew in their faith and trust of Him. God also speaks to us through His Word. This an extremely important part of how we learn to walk by faith. This leads us into our grace walk in which we experientially walk by faith and trust in Him. This is where our relationship with God takes on that sweet aroma Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 2:14-15. We are to “know” Christ experientially. I recently read in the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan,
“We never grow closer to God when we just live life; it takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.” He also says, “…you must learn to listen to and obey God, especially in a society where it’s easy and expected to do what is most comfortable.”
This may be difficult for some Christians to take in. We want life to just go on as it has been. In other words that old saying, “Don’t upset the applecart” certainly applies to our American Christian culture. How many of us are just glad to “get through the day?” Oh, what a far cry that is from what God desires for us.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” So, the real key to peace is trust. That trust comes from having a mindset that is stayed on Him. But you say, “How do we do that when our lives are so full of busyness?” Beloved, God uses everything. He can certainly use the busyness of your life and mine to show us the meaningless of life without Him in it and He can also use that to show us that our priorities may be out of line. Believe me, God doesn’t waste a thing. But I will tell you this, trusting Him, so often, takes time…God knows that. He knows we are so driven by our sense of sight that we have a difficult time trusting what we can’t see. That old adage, “out of sight, out of mind,” can certainly apply to our walk with the Lord. But when you think about it, honestly, how many of us walk through life doing that very thing? It’s as if we are whistling in the dark. We pretend there is no danger when actually; the danger is lurking, waiting to pounce on us. When a Christian does not persistently pursue God, he or she is deceiving themselves and whistling in the dark. You put yourself in danger of getting assaulted, mugged, and beat up by the enemy of our soul. God, the lover of our soul, desires for us to pursue Him with all our might. He turns on the light and we are able to see things from His perspective and says to us “…walk in the light, as he is in the light.” 1 John 1:7. So, how do we keep our minds stayed on Him? Practice His presence with you throughout the day. It is a form of “praying without ceasing.” If we practice His presence throughout the day, we will be communicating with Him in our minds as we go to work, figure out a problem, going to the store, everywhere we go we can practice His presence.
I believe another issue deals with our prayer life. Releasing our burden sometimes takes courage and that’s usually because of our lack of trust. God says to each one of us, release your burden to me, and trust me. There’s such a big difference in trusting Christ for salvation and then trusting Him with a burdensome situation. We want Him to work it out the way we want; rather than allowing Him to work it out the way He wants in and through our lives. If we’re really honest, isn’t that what is usually going on in our crafty little heads? We want Christ to work it out the way we see it working out. Beloved, in order for Him to take the burden, you’ve got to trust Him with it and allow Him to work the situation His way, in His timing and for His glory. I can tell you from experience that His way is always for the best. We have a God who loves us so unbelievably, that even if there were no one else on earth, Christ still would have come to die just for you. Let that reality sink in a minute. Stop here and just realize that He loves you that much! His ways and purposes are always for our best and for His glory. So, beloved give the burden over to Him.
Then we struggle, following the prayer, with a take-back mentality. With all the earnestness we can muster, we pray to place it at His feet. No sooner, have we finished praying and start thinking about the possible outcome and there we go, taking it back, just like that. Maybe you’re thinking that you can handle this burden…that it’s really not that bad. Our own minds and with Satan’s help, can come up with all sort of rationales to get us to rely on ourselves instead of trusting Christ. What’s going on here? Why do we play this see-saw game of up and down? We are doing what the Word calls being double-minded. James puts it very well in James 1:6-8 “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” This verse opens our eyes to the reality of our stubborn and sometime fickle mind. I understand this personally. I have prayed many times in my early Christian years, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief !” Mark 9:24. We tend to struggle with the reality that God will actually give us what we ask for but we believe it for others instead of for ourselves. In Romans 3:14-19, Paul talks about the rebellious Israelites who didn’t enter into His rest because of their unbelief. Beloved, I want to enter into His rest. Let’s not be of those that do not believe and because of that we don’t receive His rest. God understands that faith and trust takes getting to know Him and walking with Him. So, think back and remember other times when you were in a situation and you knew that God rescued you. Those are times of faith and trust building. Think on those times and don’t allow Satan to fool you into thinking it was anything other than our God that rescued you. It was not a coincidence! It was not by chance! It was God! He is our rescuer. If you haven’t been walking with the Lord long, rely on your salvation experience for the most unbelievable miracle of your life. That’s exactly what it is…a miracle! I mean, aren’t there days when you’re just in total awe of the fact that the Holy Spirit is residing in you? I know I am.
Another quote from Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love is:
“He (God) calls us to trust Him so completely, that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”
Now, if you haven’t read this book, that quote may catch you off guard a little, but it is so true. Recently, my husband and I went through a season that I believe may have caused a lot of couples to split up or run for the hills. I mention this because sometimes our faith will be tested beyond what we think we can bear. But, I can say now with complete confidence and I know, that I know, that I know, our God is faithful. His grace is sufficient. He will deliver you. But if you don’t…in a sense, give yourself over to it and allow God to have full reign in your life, even though you may be scared because you’ve never trusted Him to this level, then you will never know how God could have rescued you. If you have a tendency to scratch your way out of a situation by your own means, you will never know what He would have done. I can also tell you that if you sense a hemming in of your life…so to speak, God is getting ready to do something big. By hemming in, I mean that He starts to eliminate your options from moving away from the situation. If that’s where you are right now, I’m excited for you because God is getting ready to do a great work in your life.
Trust Him, beloved, you will never regret it. Because our God loves you so unbelievably, so passionately, so absolutely, that He sent His own son to die for you and me. What more proof do we need than that? Our God sent His own Son to shed His blood on our behalf. Let that bring you to your knees in adoration and worship. He wants, more than anything, to walk with you through every day of your life and remove every yoke of slavery because He came to “set the captive free.” His Word says, “Then you will know (experience; know and understand the truth personally) the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32. Trust Him and walk in freedom!
Author Bio I am a wife, mother, sister, friend, Bible teacher, writer, designer, artist. A wretch ransomed, “brought me (us) into the kingdom of the Son He loves.” Colossians 1:13. With God’s help, running the race to pursue the Lord with resolute abandon. His love makes my heart thrive. Pressing on to honor Him with obedience, worship Him in the splendor of His holiness, and love Him with all my heart, soul, and strength. Humbly amazed that He loves me and pressing on to be faithful to Him. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12
My desire through writing and speaking is to proclaim the truth of the gospel and teach in such a way as to encourage a deeper walk and intimacy with Christ. Expressing the truths of the gospel so that our hope doesn’t rest on our efforts to change but in the unchanging beauty of the One who is and remains our only hope for a life transformed. A passion to unveil and bring into clear view the beautiful Redeemer and Restorer of life, the only truth, Jesus Christ.
You can follow me on the web at http://jacquelynwoolard.com