The call to live a life of faith can feel like a lot of hard work. To be good, do what is right and swallow our pride takes effort. The kind that, if we are honest with ourselves, we don’t always want to make. It’s hard to tithe when the budget’s tight. It’s hard to make time in your day to pray or read the Bible when you never feel like you can sit down. It’s hard to control your tongue when every ounce of your being wants to complain. It’s hard to go against the grain.
In this environment, choosing good sometimes feels like trying to push a big boulder up a hill. The Apostle Paul was no stranger to this struggle when he wrote in Romans 7:18, “I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
Do you ever feel like Paul?
In my last post I focused on Jesus’ words of comfort for those who follow his way. He said, “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.” He was talking about the kind of rest we long for… freedom from the boulder pushing life.
In Matthew 22:36-40 a teacher of the law; a ‘good’, diligent & righteous man, came to Jesus & asked him, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Jesus, in that simple yet profound statement said, when put to the test, all the laws… all the rules… all our good effort can be measured by this: Love.
Love God. Love others. Simply love.
There is such freedom in those words. Who does not want to be loved, to give love? To spend their days both giving & receiving love? There is no list of rules, there is no checklist or unattainable goodness in this life of faith. There is one request.
With you whole heart, love. With all you do, love. With all you are, love.
Today be set free in your life from the yoke, the labor, of goodness. Instead, freely come to the one who loves you as himself and take up his yoke of love. This is the way of faith.