Bone Tired Weariness

weariness

8 Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30, New Living Translation

Weariness and burdens are our common plight. We all have them. They are shared as sort of common identity, like eye color or hair color. We all have them, and wish we didn’t. Sometimes we feel like shutting down.

Weariness, that bone-tiredness that sleep doesn’t seem to help. We seem to be chronically fatigued by life and what it brings us. We have heavy burdens, we carry a load that only gets heavier (and never lighter.)

Money problems, bills that are past due, marriages, straying children, cars that need fixing, family problems, job hassles, health problems… the list goes on ad nauseam. There are far too many issues, too many problems. I believe boredom and tedium are added to the list as they only intensify the hopelessness. (Its own special kind of suffering.)

Some will choose to ‘self medicate’ with alcohol or drugs. They want something more, and find they only create more burdens (not less.) Some will become hopelessly addicted, never finding relief from their burdens, but only increasing them. Suicide very often is seen as the only way out.

But Jesus will never condemn (leave that to the Pharisees) but instead offers a sort of amnesty to the burnt-out and the burdened. Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Jesus did not say, “Get away from me, I am holy and you are not.” Rather, He makes himself to be the solution to all those who life has overwhelmed. He wants our burdens and takes on our weariness. He wants us. He wants to give us peace and rest.

He invites us to exchange whatever burdens us for the yoke of discipleship.

An easy trade, especially since we are so desperate. Some have evaluated Jesus’ offer and made the transaction–piling up our burdens at His feet. We might be a little hesitant about the “my yoke” part, but will quickly find that discipleship can’t be compared to the weight we once carried for so long.

The non-demands of biblical disciplehip are easyFor my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Following Jesus becomes the best way to live.

29 He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:29-31

 

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Pathetic Has an Upside

 

“And this is the reason: God lives forever and is holy. He is high and lifted up. He says, “I live in a high and holy place…

(pause for emphasis)

but I also live with people who are sad and humble. I give new life to those who are humble and to those whose hearts are broken.”

Isaiah 57:15, NCV

There is no exception, or absolutely no reasoning over this.  Simply put, God is holy and that He lives forever.  That is beyond dispute.  He simply penetrates everything, He is the “first cause” and exercises complete authority over all, and anything that has had any existence whatsoever.  He is all sustaining and completely powerful. This is just basic truth, and these simple ideas woven together, produce some mighty fine theology.

But even with all this, He has a high density love for the desperate.  He searches us out, and tries to find those who know they are pathetically weak.  He has a deep penchant and preference for those who have nothing.  Astonishing?– Yes, but this I admit– stretches me.

When Jesus came, it was not to teach an elegant philosophy, and to be praised by men. But rather it was to find lost people.  He was like a special forces team dropped in a jungle, to rescue prisoners in an evil and dark concentration camp.  He came for anyone who would believe in Him.  Essentially, He provided a salvation for anyone who would take it.  But you have to be desperate, and weak, and pretty much pathetic. The mentally and physically ill are favored by His grace.

Hearts that’ve been broken have an instant attraction to Him.  You see, He collects flawed hearts, He thirsts for those who have been wounded or ashamed.  If ever you have felt this way, Jesus is already moving towards you, and not away.  The broken and humble of this world will always have a dedicated advocate and Savior in Him.  We only have to ask. He is an excellent public defender.

When we stand in the desperate place, way beyond any kind of help, He comes. And then He exercises real power and authority to release us.  He rescues us when no one, or nothing could.  Some question that all this talk about Jesus, that there might be a sense that it could be overly excessive or misguided.  But when you face the stark reality of being terribly lost, your Savior becomes pretty significant.

I like this verse, it seems to contain much that I need today. It fortifies my soul, and keeps me straight. It’s like God’s multivitamin for my heart. I hope it blesses you as well.

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Be Patient, It Will Happen

seek-patience

18 “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”

2 Corinthians 3:18, NLT

9 “Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.”

Colossians 3:9-10

2 “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

Ephesians 4:22-24

The very essence of your discipleship is to change. Maybe that’s why we are still here on planet Earth. We’re simply learning to be like Jesus. Sometimes we can feel the swirl of frustration and depression. Why is it taking so long? We seem to go through the same lesson over and over again. As a bipolar person, I especially understand this, I ‘bounce’ through life without going anywhere. (I think some will relate.)

My sanity comes from God’s consistency—not my own. One appellation He goes by is the ‘rock.’ This comforts me a great deal. He stays faithful, even when I cannot. He is the singular stable point in the quicksand of living.

In the midst of stripping “off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds,” we will encounter opposition from evil. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil” (Eph. 6:11.) So the battle is within as well as without. I must remind myself of this.

“O God, if in the day of battle I forget You, please do not forget me.”

God supplies all that you need, in spite of these adversities. It can be hard, sometimes it seems like I’ve been ‘slathered in bacon grease’ and let loose in a tiger’s cage. But there can be no victory without opposition. There are three ways to implement sanctification (becoming Christlike.)

  1. You must ‘put off’ your sinful nature
  2. You need to ‘put on’ Christ
  3. You will have to be ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’

This isn’t a formula for Christlikeness, it’s more like lines to help you stay on the path–guidelines. Theoretically, we can simply give these a glancing assent. But that will ‘cut the nerve’ of any victory that you might receive.

One more thing. Prayer is the venue in which this almost always take place. Some pastors wield the need to pray like a club. This is most unfortunate (but be easy onpray1 them, they are still learning to shepherd God’s people.) Overlook much, but learn to pray. At its essence, it is just being alone with God for a few vital minutes. But it also can be more than that. It seems prayer is a ‘microcosm’ of your discipleship.

The struggle for holiness is first won in your prayer closet. There are no short-cuts to speak of— nothing quick or easy. But there are also no time-clocks to punch. Every person is different, but all believers will pray. Pray poorly, pray weakly–but by all means pray.

Be patient. Often it will take some time to make it workable.

“Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan. “

John Bunyan

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Untangle Me, Again

gordian-knot
Life gets tangled
The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”

Words of David, 1 Samuel 17:37

I wrote this post in February, 2012.

“In recent weeks I’ve gone through a time of profound confusion. My grip on reality has been tenuous at best. I’ve had a struggle with a depersonalizing sense, I seem not to “see” reality as I used to. Everything seems increasingly odd, and disjointed. I see myself outside myself. Everything is knotted up.”

“I have had bouts with this before. And yet every time the Father has “fathered” me. I have been led through each bout. In many ways, the clinical depression has changed, now it slams. It used to be kind of low grade—a grey fog, a steady and tedious despair, but now its more like a black lightning bolt.”

“I have had suicidal urges and thinking. I hate handling a kitchen knife, as I get the urge to plunge it into my chest. It’s funny like that, I call out to Jesus and He truly does find me. He straightens out my knotted life has only He can.”

“This blog initially started off in September 2009 following the idea of “broken believers.” Perhaps it was overly ambitious. But my heart’s desire was to be transparent and very honest. I still want to see this happen, and it does, sometimes. I know I am no super saint with just the right answer for everyone. If I ever made this impression, please forgive me.”

You see, I am the broken believer of this blog.