Author: Ron Graham
If you had to carry a tired and tearful child around the supermarket, you might find it rather burdensome. Yet on another day you might pick up the same child at the beach and run along the sand to the child's delight. This you do not find burdensome at all, but quite enjoyable. Why does the same weight seem burdensome in one case, but not in the other? Keeping God's commandments is a burden to some people, but it should not be. That's what this lesson is about.
The commandments of God are connected with the love of God, and this makes them much easier to keep. "This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome" (1John 5:3).
Jesus says,"If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15). People motivated by love don't find the work they do burdensome. When you love to do it, it's not hard to do.
Jesus does not lay heavy burdens on us. And what burden he does lay on us is lightened, because he lays his yoke on us as well, so that he can share our load. "Come to me, all of you who labour and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
Jesus hates a religion that weighs people down, and he condemns those who lay such religion upon people's shoulders. "Woe to you lawyers, because you weigh people down with heavy burdens. These burdens are hard to bear, yet you yourselves won't lift even one finger to them." (Luke 11:46).
Men take one commandment of the Lord and turn it into a hundred rules and regulations of their own devising. Jesus repudiates such men and their laws. "They worship me in vain, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9).
Paul echoes the words of Jesus. "Why... do you submit to commandments such as ‘You must not touch’, ‘You must not taste’, ‘You must not handle’ ...in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?" (Colossians 2:20-21).
When you examine the commandments of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, you will find that one commandment balances another, and his commandments work together so that keeping one makes it easier to keep another. Here is one example...
Consider this simple commandment: "Do not get drunk with wine, for that is wild behaviour" (Ephesians 5:18).
Now link that with another commandment: "Bad company corrupts good morals" (1Corinthians 15:33). The commandment is implied: Don't hang out with bad people. If you keep company with people who get drunk and disorderly, it will not be easy for you to keep sober and behave yourself properly. But if you hang out with good people it will be easy for you to avoid drunkeness and the wild behaviour that goes with it. One commandment balances the other and makes it easier to keep.
When we realise that...
...then we can say, “His yoke is easy, his burden is light, I've found it so, I've found it so —He leadeth me by day and by night, where living waters flow.”