There have been those moments, the ones where I experienced the simplicity and pure joy of serving God, wherein my heart yearns for those spiritual disciplines not as an obligation and they definitely do not become a burden.
But lately, my faith has been causing me some headaches.
It has felt like one dead-end effort after another that I still need to push to thrive. It has felt like a burden. I woke up at peace this morning and sat on my bathroom floor to study my bible but when I was done, I had more worry on my mind than the peace promised to those whose minds are stayed on thee (God).
I left with questions like, “Would I ever serve God completely?”
“Would I ever experience his peace?”
“Would I ever be like my brothers and sisters in the faith?”
“Would I ever serve in the church? Would I win souls? Would I…?”
They began to feel like a checklist, a checklist to ascertain my genuineness as a Christian. And gush! The guilt and worry they breed are one of the worst things to wish on an enemy.
I guess one of the reasons why I have found myself in this place is because I have been thinking about intention as a Christian more lately, I have been thinking about the idea of discomfort as a Christian.
And by wanting to be more intentional, I have just become more focused on my dead-end efforts. And they have in turn become a burden to me.
Even in such circumstances as this, two things I have always been able to ascertain…
1. My dead-end efforts can’t save me
Psalm 44:6: “I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory”
Hebrews 9:15 Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.
There is no more I can do to make myself holy and pure, I can try but it would be a filthy rag compared to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary.
My dead-end efforts to be who I think I am supposed to be in Christ would always remain as they are. Dead-end!
2. I can’t be separated from God’s love ever!
This is probably the most comforting scripture ever,
Romans 8:31-39 “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Nothing! Absolutely nothing.
I saw something today that said he delights in me and wants me to delight in him too. He doesn’t want to be an obligation to be fulfilled or a task to be undertaken.
He wants my heart, pure, genuine and willing.
Now, the truth is even with this powerful knowledge and truths I still find myself struggling with the weight of all my important efforts and all my guilt from this. But one day, I stumbled upon a verse in Habakkuk 1:11
Then they sweep by like a wind and pass on, and they load themselves with guilt, [as do all men] whose own power is their god.
The scripture is speaking about how those who load themselves with guilt have made their own power their god, it got me thinking about myself. How much I rely on my own power and strength and how great my guilt sometimes is.
I need a reprieve, my reprieve is found in Jesus. But I must not see his “easy yoke” as a “burden” too, I must see it as he says it is “easy”.
So I picked up my laptop today and found this article about someone who has gone through a similar experience. Her perspective on it is enlightening. Her article can be read here “Does Your Faith Ever Feel Like a Burden? Here’s What to Do”
Two things that stood out for me are these statements,Behind my anxiety and dread of heavy faith obligations was an insidious lie: I thought it was up to me to be a Good Christian. If I didn’t work hard to grow, then who would? The answer was Jesus, not me. Click To Tweet Only when I let go of my addiction to working hard did I realize that everything I had once dreaded was actually a doorway into the Kingdom. Click To Tweet
You should check out the article if you have found yourself in a similar position, but in the meantime, I would like to know what you think, and what your advice be to me and so many others like me? I would like to continue the conversation on this topic.