Colossians 2:6-7 English Standard Version (ESV)
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
A friend of mine sent me a message that said, “Jesus must have forgotten about me because I’ve not seen any of these.” It included a link to an article from Christiantoday.com and it made me very sad. It made me sad because I think a lot of people have it wrong when they think about the promises of God. Here’s my problem with it: I struggle to automatically believe the things God says about me and it shows. Things like my body is a temple but then I eat donuts. I am a city on a hill but then I am seen in public acting like a 4-year-old. I have a default reaction to be rooted in the lies of the enemy of my soul. I’m better than I was though.
When I say “struggle” I mean I don’t automatically remember, “Oh, God is with me and thinks I’m kind of a big deal.” That may sound arrogant, but it’s actually kind of true. See, as a Christian, I am forgiven but not perfect. God doesn’t expect me to be perfect, He knows I can’t be! But what He does expect is for me to read the love letter He wrote to me- that’s what I like to call scripture, most people call it The Bible- so I can get to know Him and know how He feels about me. He wants a relationship with me. Really.
One of the many things I’ve never understood is a true relationship. Come to find out, I am, again, not alone. To be quite honest, I literally thought it was all about who you were engaged with sexually. Go back and listen to my testimony if that makes you queasy, but it is what it is. I didn’t understand that to be in relationship with someone you call a friend means you put in the effort to truly get to know them, support them in struggles and joys, show them they can depend on you, cry with them, laugh with them, ache with them. Real deal things like that. I always walked away when things got tough because that’s all I knew how to do. I know the lessons learned in my young life weren’t deliberate but pain too deep to bear will become a teacher without your permission.
So this message today hit me in the gut because it reminded me of ME. It punched me right in the Judi. Before my acceptance of Jesus as Lord made the jump from my head to my heart, I was in my friend’s shoes, and I’m thankful they finally became too tight to walk in. I want to share some of the promises mentioned in the article and then add what I learned about them that made a difference in my walk. The article info is in blue, my thoughts whatever color this is:
Here are five things that Jesus promises to you today if you are struggling.
He Will Give You Rest
Are you exhausted from all the burden-carrying? Jesus says He is more than willing to carry your burdens for you if only we come to Him humbly and openly. His invitation is open to all no matter who you are and what you’ve done.
Key word: Humbly. When I did the Freedom in Christ class in 2015, the facilitator, Christie, explained this in a way I will never forget. First, if you don’t know what a yoke is, city girl, this is a picture of what I imagine it would look like to have Jesus and me together in one… you surely know which one is me.
She said when moving cattle from one place to another and a young bull is being broken (perhaps humbled), they tie it to an older bull in a yoke . The young bull- aka: Judi- thinks it’s stronger and smarter and better than the old bull so it pushes and pulls and works so hard to get the old bull moving up to his speed. The old bull who’s been around the block just walks at the same pace he has for years, regardless of the pushing and pulling. The young bull gets frustrated and thinks the old bull is crazy so he keeps pushing and pulling, trying to get he old bull to hurry up! The old bull is not moved physically or emotionally and it drives the young bull nuts! Eventually, the young bull gets exhausted and mad because now the yoke is burning his shoulders and every muscle in his body aches from trying to carry the old bull around. Whipped, he finally gives in and slows his fight to match the step of the old bull. Not long into his walk, the young bull begins to feel stronger, but no longer fights the old bull’s pace. He is finally in agreement with the old bull and makes the rest of the trip with only a few missteps, but the old bull is there to hold him up and keep him from falling into danger.
Jesus said to let Him be the bull that sets the pace. His yoke is light because He carries it for us. We are still in the walk, but He bears the burden of the pace and the weight of it all. His burden is easy because He wants me to trust that He will help me through it all. But the trick here is that I have to know that I am not HIM. I had to humbly submit to His heart for me. I have to give Him my troubles all day long. I had to stop being the young bull who thinks they have to do it all. Yes, life is hard! Yes, sometimes I feel like I may be the only one that has a burden like mine. But HE wants to help me carry it so I’ve gotta talk to Him! HE wants to be in relationship with me.
Jesus is not in the magic business where POOF! everything is automatically easy and troubles just disappear. How would that teach me to trust the One who holds me in the palm of His hand? I had to become broken enough to cry out and tell Him I can’t do it and ask Him to help me. But then He wants me to live my life like I meant it and like I believe He is by my side. I need to drive my car like He is in the passenger seat because you know what? He is!
You Have Nothing to Fear
There is no love greater than that which Jesus showed for us all when He laid down His life for us even though we did not deserve it. That great love is our assurance that we no longer have to fear anything. 1 John 4:18 tells us, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
Fear is a lie. “I can’t do this” is a lie. “God won’t give me anything too big for me” is a lie. Consider this- God gives us stuff to deal with that IS too big for us because He wants us to depend on HIM! It’s the truth. Moses stuttered and God used him to talk to his people. Scripture is full of people who just weren’t good enough for anyone but God and He used them to work out His plan perfectly. Maybe He’s allowing the junk we are going through to happen not to teach us a lesson but because He won’t take away other people’s free will. That’s not His nature. But we can believe one thing about it all- He knows what He’s doing and He has already won.
Regardless of the storm that is raging in our lives at any given time, if we are in Christ, we don’t need to be afraid of what the world throws at us because in Him, we are not of this world. If our wishes are for the comforts of this world, well then that’s sad because that ain’t what He’s about. Nothing but good comes from the Father. We can have hope in relief that only He can provide. This world is tough and hard and mean and sometimes just downright cruel. But He came to overcome the world so that we may have life and have it abundantly. The kicker is that we must choose to focus on Him instead of on what hurts our feelings.
He Will Calm Your Storm
There is one instance in the Bible of Jesus calming an actual storm. But today He is in the business of calming more figurative storms in all of us. It may sometimes feel like He doesn’t care or that He’s fast asleep, but our assurance is that He is in our boat and He is more than able to help us in our struggles.
Remember that part about magic and that Jesus doesn’t operate in it? Just because we cry out to Him to calm the storm, that doesn’t mean He will instantly comply. What He will do though is, through the Helper He sent us, ease our spirits and give us that rest He promised. If we want God to make our lives easier, we might try being in agreement with Him. When we come into agreement with Christ, the storms seem to matter less and less. Sometimes His answers to our pleas are something like, “But I have something so much better for you if you will just wait it out….”
It’s up to me and me alone to choose to flop around crying in the storm or to choose the solid sturdiness of the Anchor. I choose Christ as my anchor. Today I choose to be rooted in Christ and the promises of God. The storm will rage, but I don’t have to hold a seat in the crow’s nest at the top of the mast asking it to punch me in the head. I can be safely on deck knowing the storm will pass and I have a Great Protector to hold me through it. I will keep a heart of thanksgiving, giving thanks that He has faithfully brought me through the many, many storms of my life, too many of my own creation.
That’s my choice. What will yours be?