I wish I had it all together. I wish I had all the answers so I could get myself together. How I long to know the secret to life! There is a weariness all around right now. Are you weighed down with daily regrets, relationship struggles, and spiritual weariness?
I am learning that there is deep joy and rest in obeying God’s commands in the Bible! I believe there is relief from the fatigue we are facing, and that God wants to work in our struggling relationships and weary hearts to bring us to delight in Him as we obey His will.
Are you thinking right now, “But I can’t”? I remember joining the high school swim team. On the first day, our warmup was 10 minutes of continuous lap swimming. I loved to swim, but that was a first to me… and I remember contemplating quitting during the warmup! But that which is new to us takes training and conscious effort, and we can develop new patterns and abilities as we work at it. I was able to progress to swimming 8 miles per day in training, and be part of a team that won the state championship. How much more can we train in obedience?!
I think the common mindset is to dismiss training in obedience since nobody is perfect. As long as I give reasonable effort, that should suffice, right? But the invitation to rest is the invitation to follow and obey Jesus: “Come to me, all 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). John reiterates: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Is the Bible hard to obey? The commands are quite simple! The difficulty is in smothering my pride and bending my stubborn will to truly want what God wants – not to earn anything from God, but to know Him and demonstrate trust in Him.
The commands of the Bible are not just good sermon topics. They are simple truths… and we know them! But we neglect to consider their impact in the small moments of lives, the nitty-gritty daily grind of doing life at work and at home, with our spouse, our children, our neighbors, our coworkers, and others in the community. So in the moment – stop! Stop yourself from reacting, and slow down to listen and to respond in biblical obedience (James 1:19)! Stop yourself from “the little white lie” and be honest (Colossians 3:9)! Stop yourself from bitter complaining (James 5:9), but give thanks and rejoice instead (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Stop neglecting the chance to gather with the church (Hebrews 10:24-25). Get started now in daily prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and regular Bible reading (Psalm 1:2). Do the things you know to do, and find the fullness of joy that comes from keeping God’s commands (Psalm 128:1).
Sure, it sounds simple! But you’ve been trying and it’s not working? Luke 5:4-5 describes perfectly how we ought to view obedience to God, even when it seems counterintuitive: “And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ And Simon answered, ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.’” Will you seek simple obedience, in every moment, to find the reward of joy, and relief from your weariness?