I’m not super savvy with boxing nor the game’s terminology, but I do know there are heavyweight fighters and lightweight fighters. The two terms are directly connected to the weight of the boxers. And may I remind you, I’m not a scholar or an ordained minister, I am just a fellow sister in Christ and one of His disciples. As I study God and allow His Spirit to shape my perspective, I have concluded that Jesus calls us to be lightweight boxers as we take the Kingdom of God by force, and this task is easy when comparing it to worldly standards.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30(Bible Gateway; NIV)
Back in the days before machinery, oxen- cow/bull-like creatures- would pull plows that would till the ground for people to plant seeds for crops. Plows were not light. And the oxen would wear these contraptions around the back of their neck and shoulders called a “yoke”.
In the Old Testament, in Jeremiah’s day, prophets would wear a strap around their neck with a wooden-like box attached to it. This ancient chocker was called a “yoke”.
When Jesus said His “yoke” is easy and His “burden” is light, He was referring to the fact we wouldn’t have to toil anymore. You may remember from Genesis 3, that man was cursed to work the ground until he returned to the dust of the ground from which he came (verses 18-23)… We know Jesus was showing a new way to be human. He hardly preached on the practical or spoke out against His Greco-Roman Society’s injustices. He addressed the spiritual side of things, and in a spiritual sense, He was implying humanity didn’t need to toil in their faith anymore.
A good preacher will tell you the Law was designed to reveal humanity’s sin. Paul and James talked about the impossibility to follow the Law entirely without breaking it and then having to atone for it with an acceptable sacrifice. Yet, the New Testament stresses the importance of not sinning anymore and to live according to God’s Word, aka Law.
HOW COULD THESE TEACHERS HOLD A DOUBLE-STANDARD?!
They did not.
They preached about grace and talked about living according to the new spirit dwelling on the inside of every believer. The Holy Spirit equips every believer with the ability to follow God’s Word.
In the first few chapters of Romans, Paul was clear that once we believe in Jesus and we follow Him wholeheartedly we will instinctively keep God’s Law.
Hey saint, when is the last time you woke up and said, “I think I’ll commit murder today.”
Okay, later in the day someone may cut you off in traffic and you may really hate the other driver… according to Jesus you committed murder in your heart for that hatred. According to Leviticus 24:17, murderers were put to death.
Talk about it being impossible to keep the LAW according to the standard Jesus the Messiah set. In the Old Testament, the Law addressed things after the sin occurred. In the New Testament, Jesus was addressing sin at the root, so people would never actually commit the sin.
Only the grace of God, can allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction to us after we think something or do something, so we can either A) not sin or B) not sin like that again. God could careless if you’re perfect. But He does care if you don’t change. And if you’re not changing, you either don’t understand how grace works for you or you like sinning and you don’t want to stop.
The Church in America and the Western World has done us a disservice. This church has gotten us to only focus on the Love of Christ and live according to our feelings, which allows us to be lukewarm and non-transformative from the inside out. I would dare say, prevent us from actually being saved, because when you’re saved, you live that way.
Now, no one but God can judge where someone’s soul will go after this life. However, as a fellow saint, I can examine the fruit you’re producing. And the fruit you produce is more than wealth, health, and a feel good gospel message. Down to your thoughts, you ought to be honoring God.
What a man thinks in heart, so a man is (Proverbs 23:7).
The Hebrew meaning of heart is interesting. It is almost as if the heart and the mind are one, not at war with each other, but one organ in sync. Many Western Preachers get it wrong in their messages about the heart. Because sometimes in the OT, the heart can reference our modern understanding of the mind. So the OT scriptures really mean, “the mind is deceitful”… Well, that’s my opinion, I could be wrong.
But have you ever been in that situation where in your heart you desire to be one thing and in your head you desire to do another, and then you talk to your pastor and he says, “Well, the heart can be deceitful, you ought to follow logic on this one.”
Jesus never followed human logic. He hung out with sinners. Single women traveled with Him. He healed on the Sabbath day. Yes, He was fully God while being fully Man. He could pretty much do what He wanted, but He was showing us something… He was showing us how to live as a human, in God’s Kingdom, with God’s Heart in mind. Jesus thought with His heart not His mind.
We are Easy Lightweights in God’s Kingdom, because every day we enter the ring, fighting against something our adversary sends our way because we follow Jesus. Jesus knows we don’t have enough strength to hold our own weight against the giant heavyweights we face off. Yet, Jesus gave us boxing gloves filled with grace and power from the Holy Spirt, they are light to wear and not a burden when we’re in shape- so when we’re prayed up and we know our Bible. When we follow the Holy Spirit, and duck when He says to “Look Out” and we punch when He says “Speak Out”. (Jesus never physically fought, remember that.)
Though we should anticipate and brace ourselves for suffering at times… we have to remember the purpose for our suffering. What is the point to suffer trials and tribulation for more earthly possessions? The purpose in the inevitable moments of suffering is for God to be glorified in our situation.
Consider Job. He was known for honoring God. He did have health, wealth, and lots of kids… he was a prosperous man. The enemy went to God and proposed a theory. If Job lost his health, wealth, and legacy, he would stop following God. God said to the enemy, “Job is faithful, whatever you do to him, he will never curse me” (extreme paraphrase). Guess what? Job wished he was never born, but he never cursed God or blamed God for his suffering. Job’s friends tried to tell him he suffered because he sinned in some way, but Job knew he didn’t purposely sin against God or anyone to get punished. Job wasn’t exactly given the revelation he suffered because of the enemy, but due to his faithfulness to God, he got everything back he lost ten-fold.
Now, some may wonder, why did God let the enemy torture Job?
I will be a broken record on this one. I learned in Bible College, righteousness is not necessarily doing what man would consider “right”, but true righteousness is listening to God. The only way to test righteousness is if there is a test of some sort.
Maybe a man who had everything could only be tested by losing everything. And let me defend God here, though He doesn’t need my defense services. God allowed the enemy to test Job. For God to allow the test, He knew Job could make it through. Also, God really respects the free will He gave His creation. The enemy appears to have a will it exercises. God may not validate what we do with our free will, but He will let us use that free will and bear the consequences of our choices.
Remember, God is just. The enemy may be loose now, but in the end, the enemy gets judged for good and it isn’t good at all what happens to it.
[The enemy, the Satan, the Devil technically has no gender reference in the Hebrew, therefore, I choose not to give that entity any power through a projected persona empowered by a gender pronoun. Maybe I’m being extra, but at least I’m being biblical.]
I originally started out with one intention with this post. I wanted to speak to the saints that felt burdened, weighed down, defeated, and discouraged. To the ones who either wanted to quit on life or quit on Jesus. To the ones who have been praising, sowing, and praying for a breakthrough harvest but have not seen a single portion of their reaping. This post went a whole new direction. A direction I like.
But still speaking to the staggering saints… Praise God to fix your eyes on Jesus, don’t praise Him because it is a weapon. Sow what the Spirit of God leads you to sow and sow that tithe or offering where God tells you to give it. When you pray, have a heart-to-heart conversation with God. don’t just pray for revival so Jesus will come back.
Like do you care that people you work with are heading to hell unless they know Jesus the Messiah? And inviting them to church might not be what saves them. Their salvation could be knowing you. You may never preach the gospel to them at all (unless God leads you to), but there is something about you that will lead another to share the good news with them.
This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot. Am I willing to lose an essential job, during a pandemic, for Jesus? So far God hasn’t led me to do anything radical, but I pray that I operate in boldness when it is necessary. I could easily suffer discomfort in this life if it led to someone’s salvation for eternity.
Fellow saints, glove-up, hop in the ring, and don’t give up now. And as you take faith, step-by-step, obeying God through His Word and what He laid on your heart. You’re going feel light and it will be easy, at least on a heart level.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. -1 John 5:3(Bible Gateway; NIV)
Like my ex best friend for instance, I loved her. When she asked me to do something, even if I didn’t like it or even if I didn’t feel like it, I would do it because I loved her. The same goes for any of my family members, I will do things I normally wouldn’t choose to do for them, because I LOVE THEM.
God’s Word and knowing God does something to you though. You want to change as God reveals your need of Him in your heart. So you gladly follow His Word because you want to honor God because your heart is so FULL OF LOVE for Him. It is not doing what the Word says to earn His love for approval. You already have that. The love of God is why Jesus came and died for us.
Never give up on God, because God will never give up on you. You’re in the ring together. And relying on Him, you will see the victory, if not in this life, then in paradise you will.