“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (THE MESSAGE)
There is no doubt that following Jesus is no piece of cake. But we have a tendency to make it even harder by taking on burdens that are not ours to bear. Jesus here promises that while we will have our difficulties, he himself will not lay on us things that are not part of our necessary journey of faith.
He gives us tasks to do and enables us to do them. They will fit us even though they will present their own challenges. But we may not experience this because while Jesus is willing to give us what fits us, we tend to cling to doing things our way. We can’t experience his light burden and easy yoke because we have put on our own heavier burdens and frustrating yokes.
Think of it this way: God wants to give us his sort of life and invites us to offer him our arms to take hold of it. But if we are holding on to our own ambitions, our own desire to be in control, our unresolved issues of forgiveness, our nagging anxieties, then our arms are not empty. God is waiting to give us something that will benefit us, but we are making no room for it. A person already loaded up with parcels is unable to receive anything else on offer.
Fearfully clinging to the attachments or mindsets we already have, prevents us from receiving what Jesus offers. Only those with empty hands are able to take hold of the fullness of life on offer.