Do you feel like the task of being a Christian is too heavy a burden?
I found Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones’ thoughts on the subject are profound and comforting. He observes in his book, Spiritual Depression, that there are often too extremes in the Christian life and we need to find a balance between the two.
The first extreme is the person who believes that since they have “asked Jesus into their heart”, everything is peachy-dandy from here on out. Doesn’t mean they aren’t a Christian, they’ve simply been mislead or still have much to learn.
The second is the person who takes it all too seriously, and I mean in a bad way. This person feels that they have been “burdened with glorious purpose.” And, yes, that’s true. But when there is no real joy to accompany this view of Christian living, things get messy.
Running the race, fighting the good fight; we often view it as a task. We think of holiness as a task. See the danger? “They view God as a taskmaster…who is constantly watching to discover faults and blemishes in them…” says Lloyd-Jones. He goes on to say that, yes, we have thrown off the old laws, but are now imposing new laws on ourselves, chaining ourselves to the plow again. But we are no longer slaves, so why are we imposing rules on ourselves? That’s just a subtle version of salvation by works. We are not under law but under grace!
Ultimately this view of Christianity is fed by a fear of ourselves. A fear of our remaining indwelling sin, and, really, a fear of failure. We “fear the greatness of the task” says Lloyd-Jones. And often, since we fear it so much, we avoid the task and consequently fall deeper into sin and unhealthy introspection.
The simple solution is this: obey God. Trust Him. Delight in Him. Love Him. Love others. That’s all He asks.
I needed this reminder today…in fact, I need it every day of my life. I want to encourage you to throw off this form of slavery too. We are free in Christ, so let’s act like it!
And yes, have joy!