What resolutions have you broken already? All too often our resolutions are such that we cannot keep them even for a few days. Our resolutions should be such that they have a distinct impact on our lives without trying us. The resolutions that we usually break are the ones that we consider to trying, a burden.
Exercising can be a burden. If we haven’t exercised in any fashion for an extended period of time getting into that habit and mind set can be trying for us. We might fail if we set ourselves up for failure by expecting too much too soon.
If our resolution is to be a better, more faithful Christian we must remember the words of Jesus. In Matthew 11:28-30 we read, 28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” John adds to this in 1 John 5:3, For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. We are assured that this is something we can do. It is not so hard for us that we will fail.
The life of a Christian is a pleasant quiet life. Paul reminds us in Romans 12:9-21, 9Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. He also reminds us in Galatians 5:22-23, 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
You see a resolution to be a better Christian is one that guides us and keeps us each and every day and it is one that we can do. It is not a trial.
That being said we must remember that we will suffer trial because we live as a Christian. Peter tells us, 14If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 17For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 19Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:14-19). Peter was just reminding us of the words of Jesus in the Beatitudes, 11“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:11-12).
The point we should remember is that the law of Christ is not too difficult or burdensome for us to keep but that the trial comes from the world. We have the proof of this as we read of the temptations of Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13.
The trial comes when we put self in front of serving God. Jesus taught concerning this as recorded by Luke, 57Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” 58And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 59Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” 61And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:57-62).”
A great example to show that seeking Christ is not burdensome comes from the man Zacchaeus; this incident is recorded in Luke 19:1-10. Zacchaeus was short and could not see over the crowd. The crowd was evidently so large that he could not even wedge his way to the front, but that did not stop him from his desire. This short man who was a chief tax collector and rich did not think it a burden to climb a tree just to see Jesus pass by.
How many trees will you climb to be an acceptable and profitable servant of Jesus? Jesus stopped at the tree. Looked up at Zacchaeus and told him that He must stay at his house, verse 5. Later Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; (Verse 9).
Seeking and serving Jesus is only a burden and trial if we make it one. Only by holding on to the world does it become a great and heavy weight.
By Chip Foster
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