We all carry burdens. They may not be the same as our neighbors, but we feel the weight nonetheless. If we let them, they can become paralyzing, weighing us down mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. But there's hope.
It's Week 2 here at Trinity Church Harlem and what we were believing for came to pass: it was even better than our first! More people made the decision to join our team and, more importantly, follow Jesus.
Yesterday we continued our series, "This Changes Everything," highlighting that Jesus changes what I carry. The message encouraged us to turn the burdens we carry over to Jesus, to talk to Him like we’re talking to a friend. He wants to be our best friend in the world. In Matthew 11:28, He says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus put the weight of the world on his shoulders. He bore the cross to Calvary and then hung in our place for our sins. We believe this changes everything, specifically the burdens we carry. The weight has been lifted from our shoulders because of what He did on the cross.
A song we love to sing at Trinity opens with the following lyrics:
Are you hurting and broken within
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin
Jesus is calling
— O Come to the Altar, Elevation Worship
He invites us to come to the altar, for His arms are open wide. No matter where or how far we go, we can always come running back to Jesus. We can leave our burdens there, trusting that He'll make everything all right.
Two Things To Do When Carrying Burdens: Confront and Confess
There are two steps: confront and confess. When you confront your burdens, you have an honest conversation with yourself and pinpoint the source of your hurt. Maybe you haven't accepted that you still seek revenge for that wrongdoing, or that the words of naysayers still echo in your mind and have served to hinder you from living the abundant life. When you confess, you have an honest conversation with Jesus and turn your burdens over to Him. You confess that these burdens are ones you no longer want to carry.
When we confront and confess our burdens, we can fully own them. The truth is: we don't carry what we carry just for ourselves. In the book of Galatians, the apostle Paul instructs us to carry each other's burdens and we will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). That reminds us that the trials, frustrations and heartaches we carry don't have to weigh us down. We can use the very burdens we've carried to help others who may be dealing with the same things we are, but we can't do that until we own it. And when we have overcome them by the blood of Jesus, we can say to another in a similar struggle: "Hey, me, too. I've been where you are, too." That's the value of a community of broken and imperfect people who trust and believe in a perfect God.
"Until you own something, you can't give it away."
In Matthew 11:30, Jesus says, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." The Greek word for "easy" can also mean "well-fitting." Yokes were tailor-made to fit the oxen. Likewise, Jesus' yoke is well-fitting and tailor-made for each believer and all of our needs. His burden is light because no burden is too heavy when it's carried in love. The yoke of Christ's kingdom frees us from the burden of guilt and the oppression of sin and hurtful desires. Only Jesus can lift those. He used the analogy of a yoke to explain how we can exchange the burden of sin and despair for a burden of glory and freedom from sin. So the question is: do you believe it? Do you believe that knowing Jesus changes the weights you carry? We encourage you to believe it. Because this changes everything, or maybe you can fill in the blank.