On other days we taught and talked about topics that were dear to Jesus’ heart. As he sought to fulfill the scriptures for us, to actually live them out, he often talked about what the Father cared most about: trusting and obeying. He would talk to us about how our love of the Father will lead to surrender and obedience. Trusting and obeying are wrapped together with surrender.
We learn with absolute certainty Jesus always has our best interest in mind. Always. We learn to obey precisely because we begin to see his commands not as rules meant to prohibit us from having fun, or doing what we want to do, but instead to protect us.
Protect not prohibit: Protecting us from making selfish and stupid choices that harm us, as well as harm our families. And trust me, regrettably, I know all about this. I wish I had understood this protective nature of God the Father a long time ago. Just as a loving king seeks to protect the subjects of his kingdom, so the Father’s commands are about protecting us, not prohibiting us.
As we begin to see this, we naturally see the logic, and we see the safety, in surrendering our will and our way to God’s will and God’s way. And as we more and more live with his freedom and confidence, we begin to understand what Jesus meant when he said, “My commands are not burdensome.”
Jesus told us many times he was bringing good news – good news of the Kingdom among us. The Holy Spirit has shown me that any command I see as burdensome, or as a rule that appears to be bad news, the fault lies within me. In my dark heart. Everything Jesus taught us about living his life to the full is good news – always.
It is only when selfish, and/or stupid Peter wants his way, that the Lord’s commands may appear to be bad news – because I think he is trying to prohibit me from … getting my way. And all the while he is simply seeking to protect me from … my Self.
Obedience is all about love: understanding God’s perfect love for us. As we trust and obey, as we see and absorb his love, we more naturally surrender and obey. His kingdom among us becomes more and more real. We can practically see the Kingdom. We see the world around us as a God-saturated world.
One day Jesus turned to the crowds and said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
His burden is light because we obey out of love, not fear. We no longer try with gritted teeth to obey a set of rules, out of fear. No, we trust his love for us, and so we naturally surrender to his will and his way. He is about protecting us, not prohibiting us.
One of our Gentile prophets, Eugene, paraphrased Jesus’ words: “Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Learning to live freely and lightly, with his unforced rhythms of grace, is exactly what Jesus’ life looked like each day. I only wish you could have witnessed him. It was a beautiful thing to see. It is his easy yoke and unforced rhythms of grace with which I am learning to live, but only with the power of the Holy Spirit inside me.
And you can, too.
But you must learn to trust and surrender, because you are know you are immersed in his protective love.