It is joyful. It is peaceful. It is wholeness. In a word it is shalom. This has always been his plan for all of us. Our ancestors messed it up, and we have messed it up. I certainly have messed it up. So instead of living in his garden of shalom, we live in our own guardhouse of sin and shame.
But Jesus comes along and says, in effect, “I have good news for you. You can now begin to live in the Kingdom. You don’t have to wait until you die to experience the Father’s shalom: his wholeness, now. I have come so that you may have life, and I’m talking about life to the full!”
But not if you are living under the rule and reign of performance. God’s original design was a world of relational and physical paradise. Sadly, too many of us are living in a world of relational and physical performance. If you are a performance-driven person, let me assure you, your spouse, your children, and everyone else around you knows it and feels it. And it is not pretty.
Are you seeking your peace by perfection in performance instead of holiness in harmony? Perfection in performance or holiness in harmony. I think it is clear which Jesus intends when he says,
“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.” (Matt. 11:28-30)
A rabbi’s ‘yoke’ was his teaching, as well as his way of life. When Jesus assures you his way to live is easier and lighter than your way, he means it. And he can deliver this new way of living, this holiness and wholeness in harmony with him. But not if you won’t let him.
If you insist on control, you will miss his contentment. If you insist on sheer willpower, you will miss his joy power. Yes, there is willpower in Jesus’ kingdom living, but it is prompted and powered by his Holy Spirit power, not your power.
At one point in his travels, the Apostle Paul was verbally sparring with the elite and the intelligentsia of Athens, seeking to introduce them to this new holiness in harmony. He said this,
“For God did this (created this world, and you) so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:27-28, parentheses mine)
This is not about performance; this is about pleasing. This is an easier yoke. This is a lighter burden. This is in fact a blessing, not a burden.
This is holiness in harmony.