Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Burden of Belief

There is a saying that goes: "We believe what we want to believe."  This may be true for some, but I have found that there are many things in Scripture that I do not necessarily want to believe - at first.  It was difficult to believe that God loves me, but He does.  Why was this so difficult for me to fathom?  I looked at myself and saw so many ugly things; greed, conceit, selfishness, and so on.
How could God look at me and love me? 
This may surprise many that I say it is a burden to believe I am loved, but once I came to really begin to grasp how great His love for me is, I began to realize how great a sinner I really am.  It can become overwhelming if I dwell on it, not to mention that it becomes sin once again, because when I dwell on it, I begin to feel sorry for myself at how unworthy I am to even know Him.  Romans 7 describes me well: So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!  (verses 21-24)
Notice the last verse - Thanks be to God - Who delivers me through Christ Jesus our Lord!!
I realize that as a Christian I have Jesus as my Mediator, which means that every time I d something stupid, Jesus steps up to the plate for me to take the blame on Himself.  That, if I allow it, can make me feel even lower.  Every time I hurt a brother or sister in Christ with my willfulness, selfishness, self-righteous attitude, envy, etc. I am hurting the very body of Christ.  This is too hard to conceive and I don't want to have to think about it, let alone believe it.  However, if I do not take up this cross, this burden of belief, I cannot draw closer to Him, to know Him better.  So I set aside what I want to believe and take up the burden of knowing that I am loved and that when I sin against a brother or sister in Christ, I am sinning against Him.  I am more quickly drawn to my knees to ask forgiveness and have fellowship restored.  So through the agony of assuming responsibility for what I have really done, I am drawn back into His arms for an even better relationship than before, as I will think twice before acting again.  Why?  It is much easier to accept responsibility for hurting a brother or sister than to accept it for hurting the One Who has done me good only and loved me when I was unlovable.
There is a song that I loved to sing while growing up: 
"I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day."
I have chosen to believe Jesus.  It was a difficult choice at the time.  I didn't want to give up feeling sorry for myself.  There is something cynically appealing about it to our flesh.  It's like a drug that sinks us lower and lower, but if we don't have it, we feel like there must be something wrong with us.  Once I made the decision to give my life to Jesus, that suffocating bubble of "poor little me" burst and I was overwhelmed by His love.  Now when I find a Scripture that is hard to grasp and cling to, I simply turn to my Father God and ask His help.  From experience I know that it won't be long until that very Scripture becomes precious to my spirit and one I turn to again and again for strength and comfort. Jesus also said: Come to me all of 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.  Matthew 11:28-30  Oh, how extremely faithful to this promise He is!!