In Matthew chapters 10 and 11 are two passages that are both important and, I think, connect to each other, even though we don’t usually think of them in that way.
The first of these two passages is part of a long address that Jesus gives to His disciples as He sends them out. As part of His words of instruction to the first Christian missionaries, Jesus said, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Mt. 10:38-39)
The second passage from Jesus is given at a later date and, this time, Jesus said, “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.” (Mt. 11:28-30)
The only burden Jesus places upon us is to believe in Him and trust that what He says is really true, because it really is.
However, human nature being what it is, we are much less likely to trust in Jesus on a moment-by-moment basis when we are full of ourselves. It is only when we have been brought to our knees by challenge or tragedy that we realize that we are totally helpless. And our awareness of our helplessness is what opens us up to trusting in Jesus fully in all things. Though we may trust Jesus in our helpless moments, the sad truth is that we usually revert to trusting in ourselves when the current crisis passes.
Losing our life for Jesus’ sake means dying to all those things that lead us back to self-trust (things like pride, the desire for personal autonomy, etc.), and deliberately choosing to live always with a moment-by-moment awareness of our own personal helplessness, and choosing to trust in Jesus on a moment-by-moment basis to care for us. Then we will find rest for our souls.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, please help me to always be aware of my helplessness and to always trust in Your loving care. Amen.
Note: These are Steps 1 to 3 of the Freedom Session 12 Steps. To read them, click here.