Okay, let's move on...“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
#1. Rest. Wait, what?
Resting should be the easiest thing for us to do, as humans, right? What's easier to do than doing nothing? I think that sometimes doing nothing can be harder for us than doing everything. This is so counter-cultural. It might be because we equate doing "things" with being important, and deep down we really want to know that we are important. God says you are important just by BEING who you are, not because of what you do. You don't have to DO anything or PROVE anything to BE important to Him.
Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Isn't that refreshing to know?
#2. Surrender. HUH?
Surrendering our "baggage" can be difficult. We're so used to carrying it everywhere. We don't know what to do once we let go of it. I think God designed us with a tendency to want to have some element of control over the things around us. This is not an entirely bad thing really. God does not want us to live in a world of chaos. There is a place for planning and creating strategy in our lives. But, there is also a place in our lives for surrendering as well. The question is, when do we work through something in faith, and when do we release that thing and let it go (which is also as an act of faith)?
As far as the "baggage" in your life goes, it becomes a matter of surrendering. If you want freedom from your "past baggage" it is not something you fight for, it is something you surrender to God. We don't have to FIGHT for our freedom from those things; we get to rest in God's freedom from those things as we lay them at His feet and allow Him to sift out the stuff we can't. Isn't that ironic? There is a spiritual warfare going on over your life that you cannot see. Satan wants you to think that you have to FIGHT tooth and nail, and wear yourself out fighting, working out every little detail of every little thing in your life. God tells you to stop fighting and to rest in Him, allowing HIM to be God. Lay "it" all down at the feet of the cross and in doing so you will experience the freedom you crave. Isn't that rich? Salvation is the moment you asked God into your heart. Sanctification is the ongoing process of surrendering of your will, and in doing so you will find freedom from the baggage that would otherwise wear you down. Both are in your best interest. God loves you and is crazy about you, and ALWAYS has your best interest in mind.
3. Serve. Ah...Yes. Okay. Now I get it.
So it was never really about me? No! It was! But, God also cares about everyone else as well. Once you are free from your "baggage" what are you going to do with your new freedom? Now you are free to serve those around you. Where once you were completely absorbed in your own "self", you are now free to serve those around you, to the glory of God. This will not sound appealing at all to some people who have not accepted Jesus into their heart yet. It might sound foolish, actually. Can I just tell you, though, there is NOTHING more satisfying in all your life then when you can get to this point... when you are free from the "baggage" and are able to joyfully CHOOSE to serve others, out of the love that God has placed in your heart for them. It's liberating and rewarding, and this is where God's blessings are POURED out. You'll love it. What are you waiting for?
Sanctification was the topic of our sermon this past Sunday at my church....allowing God to be God of your life, putting HIM on the throne where He rightfully belongs-- There is freedom in that. Why? Because putting God on the throne takes all of the other "things" off the throne and releases the bondage and the "hold" that they have on you, giving you the abundant life that God promises in the Bible. Well, now, that sounds good when you put it that way, doesn't it?
Here's a link to the sermon that my Pastor preached this past week if you are interested in listening to it in its entirety:
Pastor Gene Tanner preaches on sanctification on October 30, 2011.
Okay, awesome song time.