Saturday, August 1, 2020

Lighten Life’s Load - Part 1


Last Sunday, Pastor Kyle continued in our church’s online video sermon series through the book of 1 Peter. He summarized how the Apostle Peter has explained that trials don’t define the Christian, they refine the Christian. That this world is not our home, nor our hope. If we are looking for hope here on earth, we are going to end up disappointed. So, Peter keeps pointing us to the true source of every Believer’s hope … Heaven. We have to temporarily deal with this imperfect world by summitting to our government (unless they outright defy God and His Word), treat others as you wish them to treat you, love your enemies and your neighbors, leading your family in the way they should godly live, and being an example to the world. Now the Apostle is going to speak to us about how we are to think and act within ourselves. 

A lot happens within the human heart and soul that nobody sees or knows. Where sadness, anger, dissatisfaction and doubt hide. Where self-worth battles are fought and self-perception forms. If we are going to represent Christ to the world, living out a God revering, Christer-centered lifestyle that a non-believer would be interested in, its got to start inside our heart. The Lord Jesus said in Luke 6:45b “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” We need to manage our own loads better before we can help anyone else with theirs. Our Heavenly Father gives us that ability through Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit to get control inside and find hope in the storms of life and live lighter under the same load. Through this Coronavirus outbreak, everyone is feeling a heavy load and feels the weight. We are not taking about lightening the load and a word to make us feel better, because life doesn’t work that way. What did the Apostle Peter say to do when life fells heavy?

1 Peter 5:6-7 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. (AMP)

As a Christian, if our heart is not encouraged by this passage of Holy Scripture, then there is something wrong. We can cast ourselves upon our knees, casting our cares upon the Lord and find comfort and peace, but theses verses are about all situations (all your cares, anxieties, worries and concerns). So, how do we live lighter under the same daily weight, and that is much harder than praying a prayer. The Greek word for “cast” here is “epiripto”, meaning to throw, hurl or cast something with violent force, and implies transferring the heavy load from your shoulders to God’s. The same Greek word is used only once elsewhere in the New Testament, in Luke 19:35 during Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In the ancient world, donkeys had the purpose of carrying a heavy load the humans could not, the box truck of their day. The Disciples cast their cloaks upon the donkey for the King of King, who would ultimately bear the weight of the world’s sin upon Him on the Cross, which could not bear. sin, 

So, let’s connect the dots from what the Apostle Peter says here about casting (epirito) all our cares upon the Lord. Because Jesus bore the weight of our sin on the Cross at Calvary, we can (epirito) cast them upon the Lord that we can live lighter, even though we are under the same load. Know that God cares about our cares. Finding hope in the storms of life starts when we choose to believe by faith God cares about us and our concerns. 
If we don’t make the choice to believe that the living God is here and cares about us, then we will struggle to cast our cares upon Him. Why is that? The general rule is that we don’t put the time and effort into someone who are not sure cares about us. It’s a trust issue. We need to be confident that others care about what we care about. The same is true with our emotions and our deepest spiritual needs. If you are not convinced and believe that God cares about you and your cares, then you will not open your heart and soul to Him. Deep down inside, you’ll believe that you can meet your own needs better than God can. 

It’s not a simple issue; it’s complex because we are all unique individuals. In many cases, it can relate to our upbringing (a safe loving home where we felt cared for verses in a chaotic home where we didn’t feel loved, for example) in whether we believe God cares for us. In other cases, it can be the sinful choices that we make in, as patterns of addiction, isolation, promiscuity, et cetera. But, God is the constant in the chaotic times of life. Ultimately evidenced by our willingness or unwillingness to change our ways. God cares for us and holds our hearts in the palm of His hand. Psalm 56:8 says, “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?”

Let's continue Pastor Kyle's message of lightening life's load in the next post.
In Christ, Brian

No comments: