"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, February 8, 2013

* BONDAGE OF BUSYNESS

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV 1984)  "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."



It was one of those days.  You know the kind.  Like an exhausting game of leapfrog you jump from one activity to the next.  When you feel like you are squeezed in a vice.  When you know you need more than a vacation.  When you would rather be a missing person, for heaven's sake.  

We all experience the demands of life and how draining they can be.  Many of us have lived in an overwhelmed weary state for so long, we don't know what's normal anymore.  Like a hamster on a wheel, we keep running in circles wondering when it all will stop. 

Matthew 11:28-30 extends an invitation to everyone who is tired and exhausted.  Jesus gives an instruction for those who are burdened by life and worn out by living.  He simply says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Our souls are in need of the rest we are missing.

The people Jesus is addressing in this passage were oppressed and burdened by the religious legalism imposed by the Pharisees.  The people experienced tremendous guilt for not being able to keep the Law.  Their yoke kept getting heavier and more unbearable.  Jesus tells them to put their neck under His yoke and follow Him.  His burden is light.  Romans 8 teaches that Jesus accomplished what the Law could not.  No more Law keeping was necessary.  

While the context of this verse is related to the yoke of the Pharisees, the principle to come to Jesus for rest is still applicable to our lives today.  We may or may not be yoked to religious legalism, but our culture harnesses us into the bondage of busyness.

Many of the things we do are based on other people's expectations of us.  Often, we let others dictate how we spend our time.  In essence, we enslave ourselves to do more, be more and give more.  Like the Pharisees, we may not recognize the yoke and burden we place on ourselves.  When we truly come to Jesus as the verse says, we recognize that our soul is created for intimacy with the Father, not the load others place on us.  We can rest in His presence and not be fueled by performance.  

Unfortunately, many women continue with the same pace of life and try to feed the frenzy ache within them with temporary pleasures that never completely satisfy.  Some turn to food, shopping, sleep, TV, friends, spouse, alcohol, and other indulgences. Sometimes we neglect the very Person that would help us turn our chaos into calm, our rushing into resting, and our weariness into worship.

A couple years ago God convicted me of my bondage to busyness.  Although the activities and things I did were good, there were too many.  I lost balance and fell hard.  My physical body even began to reveal signs of failing health.  I took a one year sabbatical from nearly everything (and I mean, everything).  This necessary fallowed ground allowed me to replenish mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.  Resting was NOT something on my list (if you know what I mean), so when God indicted this season upon me it took me awhile to adjust.  If I wasn't doing something it felt odd, which revealed a deeper truth to me:  My life was so saturated with stuff I wasn't still enough to simply enjoy life, relishing my relationship with God and grasping why rest is vital to my spiritual health.  Hello Hester, don't forget I (God) created a Sabbath rest for a reason.

This passage offers us hope friends.  We must be willing to relinquish deceptive motives for doing things and alter others desires for us.  Then we are ready to come to Jesus with our worn out hearts and receive the respite we long for.  Recognizing Jesus as our source of refreshment and strength will enable us to acknowledge that we cannot be an effective wife, mother, friend, co-worker, ___________, without Him.  Breaking the bondage of busyness will help us experience greater intimacy with Him each day.


Heart Work:
Take some serious inventory of your heart and why you do the things you do.

Evaluate your current priorities, according to the season of life you are in.  Next, write down every activity and commitment you participate in.  Begin praying about which ones to let go.  Next, intentionally guard your new priorities.

Heart Exam:
How are you creating some of your own chaos?  What do you need to say "no" to?  Where is your schedule overcommitted to others (including your children), but not committed to God?  What will you do this week to change this?

How do you observe Sabbath rest?

What consequences do you experience when you rely on your own strength each day?  What blessings do you experience when you rely on God?

What pleasures are you drawn to turn to when you are overwhelmed and depleted?  Do you recognize they are fleeting and temporary?

How can changing your schedule foster greater intimacy with God?

Heart Transforming Word:
Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."

Exodus 33:14 "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

Psalm 62:1 "My soul finds rest in God alone."

Psalm 62:5 "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him."

Isaiah 40:29 "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."



Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen.  Edited 2013.  All rights reserved.