Revelation 2:24-25, NIV
“Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.”
The end of the year is a great time to reflect on our lives and assess our spiritual walk. Most of us have a bit of extra time available as we’re unwinding from one year and getting ready to move into the next. What a brilliant opportunity to take stock of our lives!
On a recent walk, right before my holidays were about to start, I was surprised by something the Lord said to me. He gave me a particular instruction for the holidays, and then said to me that, for these holidays, He laid no other burden on me apart from this one. This caused me to think deeply about the burdens I was carrying.
First of all, some people would that say that God is so nice that He lays no burdens on us at all, but that’s simply not true. We only have to read Jesus’ words to the Church in Thyatira to realise that He does indeed impose burdens on us. To say that God doesn’t is to disagree with the Bible.
But of course, His burdens are not cumbersome, but light. God does require us to follow specific instructions, but they aren’t meant to weigh us down- indeed, they bring life. As I pondered the burden God was laying on me for this holiday season, I realised three things. First of all, I can do this, but I do need to commit to this and be faithful to that which God is asking of me. But secondly, I realised that it would do me a lot of good, as doing God’s will is a joyful thing.
Finally, I started to reflect on the burdens I was already carrying, and quickly started to suspect that many of these burdens weren’t God-given at all, but, in fact, self-imposed. And it’s these self-imposed burdens that weigh us down. No matter how religious or ‘good’ these burdens seem, if they don’t originate in God Himself, then they’re no good at all.
So, at the beginning of 2018, I would encourage us all to reflect on the burdens we carry. Are we indeed doing what God is asking of us, or are we trying to shirk our responsibility towards the Lord? And the second question, no less important than the first one, is “Are we carrying any burdens that God has not laid on us, but that we’ve taken on in our own initiative?’ I’ve no doubt that sorting these questions out with the Lord will bring us more of His power and joy in our lives.
Prayer: Father in heaven, please help me to find out which burdens come from You and which don’t. And then help me be faithful to what You ask of me and help me to be brave and let go of the false burdens which I’d wrongly laid on myself. Amen.