Whether you are joining us for the sugar fast, or not, I hope this devotional (from the 40 Day Sugar Fast) will inspire you to trade the heaviness you are carrying for a lighter load. You are so loved by God, just as you are. But since He loves you so much, He invites you to lay down the burdens you are carrying and cast them upon His most capable shoulders.
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From Heavyweight to Lightweight
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30, AMP)
Today’s Reading: Matthew 11
I looked like a turtle—hunched over, from the weight of my overstuffed backpack. I lived a mile from campus, and didn’t want to shell out the money for a parking permit, so I filled my pack with anything and everything I might need for a full day of classes.
Since I went to college in Michigan, my puffy red coat went on first, before I heaved the lead-weight backpack on top of it, as I hobbled to class—late again.
I looked pretty foolish, and turtle-like, carrying all that self-imposed weight, literally and figuratively. In college, I became more serious about my faith, but since I so wanted to get it right, and prove my devotion to the Lord, I strapped on additional requirements and rules to try and keep myself in line.
I thought these “extras” would help modify my behavior so I would be more pure and pleasing to God.
For years, I lived like it was up to me, carrying the weight of being ultra-responsible for those around me. It was a heavy yoke to bear. It resulted in dulled joy, tense shoulders, and hunched posture.
Yet, as we see in Matthew 11, Jesus invites us to take off the cumbersome backpack we’ve been lugging around, and exchange it for His yoke. He describes His yoke as easy and His burden as light (see verses 29-30).
Jesus was made for the heavy-lifting. He carried the weight of all our sins on His shoulders. He bore the weight of the cross so that we could stand tall, assured of His forgiveness and love.Our religious rituals don’t save us nor do they manipulate God’s hand. Click To Tweet
Yes, there are times we are asked us to carry heavy things but He bears the brunt of the weight so we are not crushed.
Sometimes we add things to our load that God never asked us to carry, like being responsible for the choices of those around us. Or sometimes we confuse our role in the carrying process. For example, in the account of the paralytic (see Luke 5:17-26), his friends carried him to Jesus. They set down their load at Jesus’ feet and asked Him to do what they could not—restore their crippled friend. They could not save him, but they could do their part in bringing him to Jesus’ feet. The results were out of their hands and in the capable hands of the One who would one day allow His hands to be pierced to heal us from crippling sin.
The paralytic’s friends were kind of like John the Baptist, an arrow aimed at the solution. John was a messenger, pointing people to Jesus, revealing their need for repentance. We have the privilege of lifting others in prayer, to God, and pointing others to Him, but we let Jesus do the heavy lifting.
Are you carrying around a metaphorical backpack of self-imposed bondage, in an effort to be worthy?We are not worthy in and of ourselves or due to our try-hard efforts. Click To Tweet
But through faith in Jesus, we are worthy (and worth it) because the Worthy One came to lift the burden of sin and restore us to the Father.
Obedience is required of God’s children, but it isn’t a back-breaking heaviness, it is an eternal partnership. One in which He carries the bulk of the weight and we rely on His strength to carry ours.
As we walk in the strength God provides, even amid disappointments and difficulties, we point others to our need and their need for Jesus: the One who causes the blind to see, the lame to walk, the poor to receive, and sinners to be restored (see Matthew 11:5).
Thank You that You are more than capable to supply all we need. Forgive us for adding extra weight to our load and for relying on ourselves to muscle through this life on our own strength. We desperately need You. Apart from You, we are incapable of persevering. You are our daily sustenance. You are enough for our not enough. Thank You that You can do anything—nothing is too hard for You. Give us courage to hope in You and follow Your lead, standing confidently, assured of Your ability to rule and reign over all. Thank You for lifting the burden of our sin and shame, on the cross. Thank You for the lightness you provide for our soul.
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When You are Longing for Spiritual Rest (Guest Post by Holly Haynes)