I’ll admit that my posts tend to lean much more toward challenging than affirming.
I often feel compelled to point out areas of biblical teaching that I feel the church has neglected.
Believe it or not, I try not to be rude as I do so. I try not to ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater.
I try not to swing the pendulum from one extreme to another.
But still, perhaps my tone seems overly critical at times?
Today, I simply want to say that the what might legitimately be perceived as the demands of Jesus on those who would be his disciples should also be heard as a loving invitation.
Nobody HAS to follow Jesus.
Plenty of people – the majority of people – do not.
Many people who ‘believe in’ Jesus don’t really follow him (there I go again).
Jesus gives us a wonderful invitation.
“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.” Matthew 11:28-30
He says hear that his way of life is a way of rest for our souls.
You know, Jesus’ core teaching isn’t immensely complicated theologically.
He takes the complex, detailed and wearisome instruction of the Pharisees and provides a simple alternative.
We don’t all need to be astute theologians.
We don’t have to keep checklists of morality.
But we do need to do one hard – and yet wonderful – thing.
We need to give up. Give up our rights to decide everything for ourselves. Give up our strivings to make our own way in the world. To make a name for ourselves. To climb the ladder.
Jesus promises us that we can find life. That we can be set free!
But first we have to give up.
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:25
Sometimes we focus so much on what it means to ‘lose our life’ that we don’t get to the second part.
He promises that we’ll then find it.
Since I want to find that life that Jesus has for me, I’m giving up.
I hope you do too.
It’s a beautiful invitation.
It’s worth it.
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
We can be truly free.
It’s an invitation you don’t want to miss.