The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is, as the song says, the most wonderful time of the year, but it is also fraught with peril. Having been buried alive by a blizzard of endless food and tasty treats, many of us begin to dig out with a New Year’s resolution to drop a few pounds. Although we tried our best to ignore the tighter-fitting clothes and the last notch we’d moved to on our belts, our worst fears were confirmed when we finally stepped on the scale. Sadly, the numbers don’t lie.
After swearing to never do that again, we stepped off the scales promising to do better. Establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is certainly a worthy pursuit. After all, carrying around too much extra baggage is not only frustrating, but can also put unnecessary stress on your body. So, if you’ve taken a 2017 “do better” oath, please don’t overdo it, but stick with it.
However, there’s another weight that cannot be measured by our waistline, seen in a mirror or captured as a number on a scale, but is far more deadly. It is the weight of sin – a burden we were never designed to bear. When we do, we ultimately cry out like David, “my guilt overwhelms me — it is a burden too heavy to bear. I am exhausted and completely crushed” (Psalm 38:4 NLT). All of us can identify with David’s diagnosis. And right now, some of us may also be enduring the heavy burden of sin. We’ve been avoiding the spiritual scales, but we know it’s true.
But I have good news – there is a cure! Jesus “bore our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4 ESV). “He was pierced through for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5 NASB). “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24 NASB).
If you are tired of carrying around this oppressive weight, listen to Jesus calling, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV). That’s the voice of the sin-bearer – the Lamb of God who takes away all our sins (John 1:29) – past, present and future – those sins that once eternally separated us from Him and those which ensnare us each day.
All we must do is come to Him. And because of His great love for us, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 ESV). Then your cry will not be one of weariness or despair, but a testimony of glory and praise, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation!” (Psalm 68:19 NASB). This is the joyful shout of renewed fellowship with Jesus.
And when our hearts are lighter, we are free to fulfill the law of Christ and “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2 NASB). You see, when we are weighted down with sins, we lose our Holy Spirit-given capacity to help others – to lighten their load – to share their burdens – to not allow them to be crushed by a hostile world – to put our arms around them and bring them to the healing arms of Jesus. Jesus stretched out on a cross and laid down His life to show us that loving means bearing. After all, “love bears all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Now go lose some weight.
“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.” – Jesus
Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
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© 2017 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries