Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Go ahead. Take it easy.

What would you say to a weary saint who simply longed for life to be easy? It almost seems like that's a bad word among serious Christians! After all, Jesus worked so hard, and the apostle Paul worked so hard. There must be something wrong with the idea of "easy." And with phrases like "count the cost" and "carry your cross," we obviously don't associate the Christian life with the word "easy." We speak of endurance amidst warfare and of labourers in the harvest fields. Easy?! No Christian should settle for easy!

And yet, Jesus said that "My yoke is easy" and to "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me" (Matthew 11:28-30). Did Jesus actually use the word "easy"? Yes, and He also called Himself "the Good Shepherd" (John 10:11) knowing that King David had already declared that "The LORD is my shepherd" and that "He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul" (Psalm 23:1-3a).

You want easy? Come to Jesus. (There's something you don't hear too often!) And Jesus tells us that the key to the yoke that's "easy" is that it is only possible as we "learn from" Him. This means being in the yoke with Him, spending time with Him, and I suggest that it also means that Jesus is inviting us to have a seat with Him where He is seated! Jesus is saying to each of us, "C'mon up here and sit and stay awhile! Have a seat with Me."

When Paul wrote that God "raised us up with Him [Jesus], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6), he fully expected us to embrace the posture of one who is personally seated together with Jesus in heaven. And from that posture, we learn from Jesus how to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called" (Eph. 4:1) and how to "stand firm against the schemes of the devil" (Eph. 6:11). But it all begins with the wondrous ease of being seated with Jesus. 

Watchman Nee, in his wonderful book "Sit, Walk, Stand", wrote that "There is no limit to the grace God is willing to bestow upon us. He will give us everything, but we can receive none of it except as we rest in Him. 'Sitting' is an attitude of rest." Nee marvels at the paradox that the only way to advance as a Christian is to sit down!

In other words, the Kingdom of God is such that we don't work hard so that we can sit and rest, but we are seated so that we can accomplish more. "For Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a big DONE... we are invited at the very outset to sit down and enjoy what God has done for us" (Nee).

So in answer to my initial question above, I'd be inclined to say, "No problem! There's a beautiful comfy chair waiting for you right here beside Jesus. Please: sit down with Him, and take it easy."

© 2014 by Ken Peters

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