When the Bible paints a picture of a thriving tree planted by a stream of water in Psalm 1 – do you feel that accurately describes your life? I know I don’t see myself in that picture. I long to thrive, more than just survive.
Yet, the concerns of everyday life just seem to take over, and I get caught up going from one thing to the next. Life does not seem good, even if it does seem very full. Life feels like I’m just spinning my wheels, trying to get any sort of purchase.
This feels in such stark contrast to the life Jesus promises in Matthew chapter 11:
“Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from me for I’m gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew chapter 11, verses 28-30).
Do you feel like you’re living a light and easy life?
The Light and Easy Life
Many of us feel busy and stressed with the demands of various parties in our lives. From chores around the house, to kids, to work, church, to friends and family, it seems everyone has a claim on our lives and wants a piece of us. We run ourselves ragged trying to meet these demands and when we finally stop, we find ourselves as just that – rags, in pieces, thin, worn out.
Doesn’t the promise of Jesus seem so tantalising - To live a life of lightness and ease? What do you think needs to happen for the light and easy life to occur? I’m convinced Jesus meant what he said because this isn’t the only place he mentions life. John’s gospel is full of allusions to the life that Jesus promised, and one of my favourites is:
“The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John chapter 10, verse 10)
Jesus is deadly serious when he promises us fullness of life, which is also lightness and ease! These are all meant to characterise the life of a follower of Christ.
But why does it seem so hard and unattainable?
Dry and Weary Land
Psalm 63 makes it abundantly clear that we live in a dry and weary land. All those parties that want a claim on us, show that they are also dry and weary trying to make ends meet. If we live lives that are no different to the world around us, why would Christ be attractive? He has promised us FULLNESS of life now – not just in the era to come.
Jeremiah chapter 2, verse 13 states: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water”.
This is such a contrast to the picture painted in Psalm 1 – where instead of being planted by a river, spring, and source of living water, which helps us thrive and grow, we instead are next to storage containers, that not only run dry, but leak! The business we face trying to meet all these claims are but a symptom of building our lives by cisterns.
The Light and Easy Yoke
Jesus calls us to live with him, to know him, to delight in him – a simple request, but far from easy. We try to live life the way we want, and squeeze him in whenever we can, and then we wonder why life feels busy, hard, unsustainable, stressful. Jesus is inviting us to live life the way he did, to take HIS yoke, after dropping our own yoke.
What does this look like? It means that we are allowed to say no to things that God hasn’t given us to do. He gives us grace for what He has called us to, and anything more than that is on our own steam.
This means slowing down, and being okay not achieving all that we want to. It means trusting that God will be at work in those situations I don’t have the capacity for. It means resting, trusting God to be at work when I am not. God is sovereign, and the world will continue to spin, and His plan will be accomplished whether or not I spend that extra hour driving across town.
Friends, I’m convinced that as we live lives that are in submission to Christ, as we slow down, and start to delight in the rhythms of grace that define the Christian life, our lives will start to overflow with the fullness of life that Jesus promised.
When that happens, why won’t the world take notice? We will be people radiant with the fullness of life, and that is attractive! It’s the same reason we love seeing kids and pets bound through the playground, full of joy!
My prayer is that we take some time this week to slow down and delight in God, that we may start to taste the fullness of life that He has promised.
I disciple university students in the University of Canterbury through the Navigators while currently working towards a Master of Divinity. Outside of this, my wife and I enjoy rock climbing and going on adventures with our dog.