The path of life is never really easy for any of us. Even for Christians, life is still a struggle. Jesus didn’t say “Believe in me so you can sit around doing nothing.” He said “Deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Then He proceeded to be tried and convicted, scourged, crowned with thorns, forced to carry a cross up a hill, and was crucified at the top. Granted He also said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light,” but I think that maybe He had a different definition of the word “easy.” Or maybe a different idea of who would be doing the work.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of easy, I think of something I don’t have to give my full attention to accomplish or a task that can be completed with little or no effort on my part. It’s easy to get food. I just make a phone call and it’s delivered to my door. It’s easy to be entertained. I just turn on my computer and I have access to everything. When I take this idea of what “easy” might mean and compare it to my spiritual journey, the two ideas do not exactly mesh together. Jesus tells me I have to change my ways. I can’t sit around and do nothing all day and have everything handed to me. I actually have to work and cooperate with what He is doing in my life.
There’s no easy button to get to Heaven.
If that is true, then why in the world did Jesus tell us that His yoke is easy? Is this some kind of cruel joke? Does God want to have a good laugh watching us try and fail because we thought it would be easy? The answer to those questions is a resounding NO!
If you are anything like me, you will have realized by now that it’s time for a paradigm shift—a new perspective on life, or about the word “easy.” From my short, finite perspective on life, sitting around watching TV shows all day seems a whole lot easier than getting out of the house and working or volunteering. Interacting with people requires a lot of energy (especially for me because I am so incredibly introverted) and it requires me to give up doing exactly what I want to do. If given the choice between watching a show I love and teaching a class, I would say that sitting on the couch is the easier choice. To me, ease it all about effort.
This is not God’s perspective on life. His is an eternal one. In the short term, the easier option may seem like the one which requires less effort, but God is all about the long game. He’s thinking about eternity. The Christian life may appear to require a lot of effort (most of us need a decent amount of purification before we can reach the pearly gates), but it also comes with freedom. When we think that things are easy because they do not require effort, we become slaves to ourselves and to our desires. Living a life without effort is not a matter of ease but of complacency and self-centeredness. It may seem easier in the short term, but in the long run, it’s pretty boring to think about yourself all the time.
Christ said that His yoke is easy, not effortless. Following Him takes a lot of effort, but to live out our true freedom in Christ (as a child of God), that is worth all the effort we can muster. The yoke we are given as Christians is that of being a child of God. What a beautiful burden we are meant to carry. A gift I might dare say. Let us pray that we do not get lulled into thinking that we should not have to put forth effort for what we most desire in life. It is effortless to sit alone and waste away your life, but it is easy to accept your true calling as a child of God.
May God be praised!