Posts Tagged ‘my yoke is easy’

Speaking generally, it seems to me that the American church is about making converts to Christ, rather than disciples of Christ, in direct violation of God’s precise instruction found in Matthew 28.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always , even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

What if schools did this. What if they simply handed out diplomas without dipenrolling any students? What if students were enrolled, but were not required to observe, learn, or apply any of the curriculum? Would they remain in school? Would they flourish afterwards? Would their diplomas be of any worth?

Two Noteworthy Problems

  1. Most Christians don’t share their faith at all.
  2. Many who do, do so errantly.

The church is very much aware of the first issue: Christians have a tendency to hide their light under a basket. Statistics reveal that ’80 percent of those who attend church one or more times a month, believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, but 61 percent have not told another person about how to become a Christian in the previous six months.’ (Jon D. Wilke, Lifeway.com August 13, 2012)

As a result guilt often kicks in and the Christian, motivated by his flesh rather than the Holy Spirit, sets out to correct the offense. As you can imagine this leads to the second problem: a wayward focus on conversion over discipleship; the shunning failure to declare the whole counsel of God. The probable reason we keep doing it is because occasionally it works; every so often a convert becomes a disciple.

There must be a better method.

What if we did it Jesus’ way?

What if we focused on enrolling students (aka: disciples) and emphasized learning? What if the church stressed and affirmed through education: spiritual growth, holiness, fear of the Lord, Christ’s supremacy, submission and obedience, abiding in Christ, fruitfulness, evangelism, love and forgiveness?

What if we echoed Christ’s clarion call:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

My brothers and sisters in Jesus, our methods lack Holy Spirit proficiency. Sure, some converts make it. I suppose if you fill a school with children and required nothing from them, perhaps a couple or three might decide to do some *work, but we all know that most will not. But isn’t this what the church typically does? Are we not guilty of handing out diplomas and then sitting back and waiting for disciples to appear? How many people have to leave the church or abandon their faith before we realize the error of our ways?

Can’t we see how large a role ignorance has played on both sides of the equation?

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Final Thoughts

Imagine the farmer planting his crops. Tell me, what occurs if he fails to first clear the land of boulder and brush; if sun-baked soiled is not tendered with the spade? Will the seed germinate; will it blossom and bloom, will it bring forth fruit? I’m seeing a liability issue. If you dare, consider if it is the seed’s fault or the farmer’s that the ground was not properly tilled?  I submit to you that Jesus was addressing the farmer in all of us when He said:

“Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matthew 13:3-8)

*You may have noticed I mentioned the word ‘work’ in the text. Please understand that I am in no way suggesting or implying that there is any work a person can do unto salvation. Christ Jesus started and finished the work on the cross (nor am I suggesting that we ‘make’ disciples. That is another work of God and we are His instruments). I am however suggesting that work (discipleship if you will) follows salvation. The Christian who rejects work is playing with fire, just like the gardener who rejects work should expect weeds.

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The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25
The Fear of Doing What is Right

The phrase, “But what will people think,”  has frozen more than a few saints on their pilgrim’s pathway. The truth be told, we cannot live our lives based on what others may or may not suppose. To do so is akin to living inside the brain of someone not yourself. Assuming we are operating in God’s will, we should regard what other people think or say as none of our business.

Timothy Was a Wino

There could not be anything further from the truth. However, Timothy mistakenly believed that when Paul told him (in 1 Timothy 5:23) to, ‘use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities,’  it might be seen as a violation of the church doctrine Paul previously established when he said (in 1 Timothy 3:3) that elders in the church, ‘must not be given to much wine.’

Paul in the following verses essentially tells his young protégé to not worry about his reputation or what others might say; God knows their hearts. He effectively reminds Timmy that these folks have their own agendas, which typically revolve around getting the spotlight off of their sin and onto other people. He would remind us that our attempts to maintain our reputations are in reality acts of pride and therefore sinful.

Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden. 1 Timothy 5:24-25

What’s a Saint to Do?

As Paul said to Timothy, “Take your medicine,” (paraphrase mine).

And in regard to our social status, we have Christ Jesus as our example, who…

“Being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:6-7

The wonderful irony is that Jesus, in making Himself of no reputation ends up with a reputation that is perfect and divinely faultless. By giving it all He has gained it all; and therein stands our model. The reality is that when we’re behaving ourselves (in the best spiritual sense), our reputations will take care of themselves.

A Starting Point

Tom Landry, the late coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was once quoted by Charles Swindoll in the ‘Insights for Living‘ newsletter. Coach Landry said:

My job is to get men to do what they don’t want to do in order to achieve what they’ve always wanted to achieve.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m all about taking the easiest route possible (and that’s not something I say flippantly). It was Jesus who first said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light — I’m going to take Him at His word. It stands to reason that His commandments are simple to follow and the loads He asks us to bare are carryable. It’s here that many tend to say, “I don’t think it’s easy.”

I don’t think it’s easy

What I have discovered is that when I think like that, my struggle is not with what Jesus has instructed, but with how His instruction will change me. When I fear change I automatically perceive that not being an easy thing. Once you understand that, it gets easier. Here we’re instructed to not worry about what others think and abandon our pride.  It’s not as hard as you have been misled to believe.

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud. Proverbs 16:18-19

  1. What do these verses say about God?
  2. What do they say about you?
  3. What’s your easiest recourse?

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