Tag Archives: burden is light

Jesus, Lover of My Soul

“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.” Mark 14:3

I’m not gonna lie to you.  There are things that I just don’t like about the way in which the Lord works with us.  In time, I do see the wisdom and the genius in it, but I have yet to grow accustom to the periods in life where the Lord is breaking you like the woman’s alabaster jar.  It does help to remember the breaking is for Jesus.

Maybe you’re like me.  I keep thinking about what’s in the jar… and the aroma that will fill the room.  I like those moments.  I often find myself trying to skip to the “good stuff”… wanting to leave the jar the way it is.  But the Lord is concerned with the process of breaking vessels.

If you’re looking for a big theological word… it’s called “sanctification.”  It’s being continually fashioned into His holy image.  For He knows the aroma is the reward of a willing piece of clay.  He is that aroma.  And His fragrance comes only through a crushing blow to our souls.

I have been giving this a great deal of thought.  I think the nature of this process is interwoven into the very fabric of the Triune God.  I don’t know what all that means yet.  Nevertheless, I do believe that it is somehow rooted in the community shared by the Trinity.  The Lord of heaven knows about self-denial.

Yes, the Lord must grow us up into His image through self-sacrifice.  It is what exists between the Father, Son, and Spirit.  Without a continual denying of self, the believer will not be fashioned into His image, nor can he be built together with other living stones.

The sweetness of the sacrifice will never come unless there is a willing disciple who is broken and spilled out.  The Potter makes us and therefore has the right to break us.  And that breaking can only bring forth a glorious display of His beauty IF we will surrender our constant obsession with self and learn the altruistic faith that unlocks the depths and riches of Christ.

I’m learning that I can give up my desire for control and hand the reins of my life to Christ.  He has relieved me from my post of being the watchman of my own soul.  You know what I’m talking about?  You know… that feeling when fear and uncertainty set in. It causes us to scramble.  It says, “I’ve got to do something!”

“For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against my enemies.”  Psalm 61:3

If I can only remember the Lord is not only the watchman of my soul… He is the watchtower.  I climb the stairs of this tower… I see the Lord there… and he reminds me that He has indeed relieved me of my burden.  I’m not the captain of my soul.  I’m not the “master of my fate.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The command of Jesus is hard, unutterably hard, for those who try to resist it. But for those who willingly submit, the yoke is easy and the burden is light.”  (The Cost of Discipleship, p. 37.)

I guess it’s just really difficult to grasp.  Lord, did you really mean your “yoke is easy” and your “burden is light”?  Have you really taken care of all my needs in one sweeping victory?  Will you cloth me like the flowers of the field?  Is your well really that deep?  Living water?  Lord!  Help me to receive it!

Jesus said, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” And I cry out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23-24)

So… I start my descent back down the tower… taking what the Lord has shown me.  He knows I’ll be back soon.  And He never grows tired of my coming.  He never grows weary of reminding me how much He loves me.

It reminds me of the movie 50 First Dates (2004).  Lucy (Drew Barrymore) was involved in an accident that caused her to forget everything about her life.  She could be reminded of who she was, but after she slept during the night, she forgot it all and was back to square one.  (The movie is worth watching… check it out.)

Henry (Adam Sandler) loved her so deeply.  He decided that he would make a video for Lucy to wake up to every single day.  The video would remind her of who she was, where she was, who loved her, and whom it was that she loved.  Henry was committed to having his bride fall in love with him all over again… each and every day.

Henry reminds me of the Lord.

This truly is the greatest mystery to me: the Lord’s ability to bring life out of death; an empty tomb after a bloody cross; a new man from the mud and mire of a self-centered existence.  And He does it over and over again… new creation breaking through the old.

There is not a word in my vocabulary to describe the creative power and foolish magnificence of my Jesus.  And no matter how often we forget it… the Lord is patient and his mercies are new every morning.  He is glad to begin again with us.

Things move much slower in the Lord’s economy.  Not only is the Lord slow, as we consider slowness, but His way is foolish.  He moves when we sit.  When we are weak, He is strong.  When we fall, He rises up.  When we stop, he starts.  When we die, He lives.  Are you getting the picture yet?

“Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”  Psalm 127:1

So… relax.  Stop trying to make something happen in your life and in the church.  Let go!  Enjoy the Lord where you are… in the season He has you.  He loves you.  Trust that He will work it out.  Believe He will bring it to pass.  Turn from your own thinking.

See the Lord there in the tower of your soul.  He’s watching.  He’s got you covered.  Every morning He’s there… telling you who you are in Him and that He loves you all over again.  Brothers and sisters, receive it.

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”  The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” Lamentations 3:22-26

Living Room Faith: The Couch of Completion

For a season the Lord calls us to sit with Him in the living room of spiritual fellowship. It is there we come to know the peace and tranquility of the stillness of the being.

He whispers to us and shows us his way of day-to-day fellowship; the simplicity of being aware of his presence and walking in freedom. It’s a freedom that comes as the Lord severs our ties to the work-centered faith.

It’s a time of undoing that places us firmly on the Couch of Completion.

It is there that the Lord reveals to us all that has been accomplished in His finished work. It is in this fellowship that the Lord reveals the Father’s heart toward us: LOVE SO AMAZING… SO DIVINE!

It is on the Couch of Completion that we learn of the Lord’s eternal purpose (Eph. 3:10-21). We learn that the Lord desires a spiritual house that begins with Him finding His home within you.

It is here that we have come to know that in Christ is hidden all wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:2-3). Our searching is over.

It’s in this place that we first know Christ is enough. We have come to realize that our identity and purpose is only found in knowing Him. Knowing Christ from the couch is evident in several ways.

For starters, you no longer feel that the weight of the world’s salvation is dependent upon you. You also have recognized that you are not called to correct everyone’s doctrine and “fix” the ills of the church.

The way of man is power-over control through human authority. The way of Christ is long-suffering and enduring love. It’s a spiritual authority earned through sacrifice and a life of altruism.

You know you are touching the Lord on the Couch of Completion because you no longer move before having first received a revelation from the Lord. You are learning how to be sensitive to the Spirit instead of being driven by your own desires to serve and force the Lord’s hand in ministry.

We have not been given a work, we have been given a Person. We have not been called to further a movement, propagate a teaching, or even save souls.

We have first and foremost been invited to sit and recline with the Lord on the Couch of Completion.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus (Matt. 11:28)

Until we have sat and learned what it means to “sit” we labor in vain. We can’t walk with Christ, and we most certainly will not be able to stand, if we fail to recognize the cross of Christ leads us to the couch.

New creation comes after a period of rest.

Couch to Couch

In His time, our Lord will go with us from the Couch of Completion into the field to work. Yet this work isn’t like anything we have known before. For we have reclined on the couch of His love and have known the fellowship that brings freedom.

In the past, we believed the Lord was telling us to leave the living room in order to go out and work for Him. We heard him say, “Get out there and build me a house!” Our relationship with the Lord was not known as friendship, but as lowly servant (Jn. 15:15).

We must learn that the Lord calls to us work with Him. He has gone out into the field with us. To be more precise, we are going out to join Him and His work. And His work is always done free of religious obligation and duty.

There is no burden involved in the Lord’s work. We do not “burn-out” in the Lord’s ministry. When ministry is born out of intimacy with Christ, we sing in jail and rejoice in our sufferings.

His work is done in response to His love. It becomes a matter of fellowship among friends. That’s where He is and that’s where we want to be. If we are called to work it is because He is already working where He is calling.

There is freedom in this sort of laboring.

We do not go out to work on the house because we believe it to be a good idea or even because it is something expected of us. No, we do it out of response to His fellowship.

We must understand this. We may be presently working tirelessly for the Lord, building a house in our own strength and using our own blueprint, only to discover that the Lord is waiting in the living room…

calling us to the Couch of Completion.

We can rush into building for the Lord before we have received the proper spiritual knowledge and the experience that only comes from reclining with the Lord for a season.

Furthermore, it is right to acknowledge that this preparation does not come from principles and formulas learned in a book, it is the Lord’s knowledge and wisdom born out of trial and error. It is born out of time and experience with the Lord and His people.

The work of ministry ought to be an overflow of the relationship that began in the living room with the Lord. Indeed, we never leave the living room of our faith. As the seasons change, we are continually brought back to recline with the Lord. It is there we are reminded of His goodness and that we are to place no confidence in the flesh.

red-couch-424Our journey is one that moves from couch to couch. It is because of us having rested upon the Couch of Completion with Christ that we can know the yoke that is “easy” and the burden that is “light.”

In this rest, we can truly know the experience of Christ being in all and through all. Rest in him today. Amen.

D.D. Flowers, 2009.

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