VIEWS: 2 PAGES: 9 POSTED ON: 10/31/2011
COME TO ME By Bo Ace – 18th September 2011 I have recently returned from the most amazing experience of my life. I attended a week long ministry called Heartquest at which I met with the Lord in ways I previously only imagined would be possible. While I was away: I heard His voice closely. I understood His word clearly. I wanted His healing more desperately than I ever have. I recognised a deep hunger in myself to know and be known by God, to see and be seen by His people. I got located – not living and walking by faith. Not real faith. Not the kind that leaves you utterly trusting in God’s will, way, plan and design for your life. I realised the depravity of my own wounded soul. Heartquest was not a time over which I had any control or one over which I could exert any control. It was entirely out of my hands – but not Papa God’s - and, I am not proud to tell you, I went to this week weary and fearful. Papa God has a lot for us and I have become fully persuaded that many of us are not walking in the good things pre-ordained by Father because of weariness and pain. Simply put, we just don’t have the energy to believe for ourselves, that God’s word is true for us, to join our faith with others, to yet do more and similarly, past disappointment and harsh treatment from others has made us jaded as to the authenticity of our own, or others, Christian love. If you are anything like I was at that time, the whole idea of “joining my faith” or “praying in faith” with others was becoming just another “job” in a long list of things I have to do as a Christian and as a pastor. I am not understating things when I tell you that part of me felt that God’s expectations upon little old me were like those of Pharaoh upon the Israelites … make more bricks with less ingredients. This is what pain and weariness do in our life. They distort our vision and understanding of who Papa God is and rob our joy of being saved and loved by Father God. I had self-diagnosed and come to it that Geoff was a very big part of all my problems – if not the root cause and that all would be well with me if only he: Appreciated me more Valued me more Understood me better Made me feel beautiful Met my intimacy needs Listened more closely Listened to understand not just to “fix” me Took the spiritual lead more Didn’t need me to spell it out so much Could understand the sigh of my heart more And more, and more, and more, and more Please let me be completely frank and clear about where I have been living and walking – I was going through the motions, running on fumes, limping in my lane, angry, wounded, disillusioned and critical. Attending this Heartquest was like Jesus’ personal invitation to me and this is how it sounded: “Are you done yet Bo? Have you had enough of having enough yet? Will you just STOP already? This is the way scripture says it: Matt. 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Here is the instruction and sequence: Come to Jesus ….. (humble ourselves) Take His yoke ….. (submit ourselves) Learn from Him ….. (lose ourselves) Find rest for our souls ….. (refresh ourselves) I am yoked to Jesus and other believers. I don’t have to do life alone but I do have to move in the direction Jesus is leading me in. I am not to be a stubborn rebellious mule. The Lord has put a new heart in me and from it flows the desire to follow Him wholeheartedly. Who is Jesus talking to here? All that labour and are heavy laden. What does he promise? To give us rest. What do we have to do? This is so simple that we could almost miss it. We have to come to Jesus and we come to Him in humility and meet Him first at the Cross. … come to Me The Cross – power through humility – you and I come humbly, not arrogantly to the Cross. We did not save ourselves. Jesus went to the Cross for us and we get the benefits as a result. We yield here at the Cross; get power to be forgiven; to be cleansed; to blot out the handwritings against us; because of our willingness to yield at the Cross God’s power that translates us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His Love is released into our lives. The Cross is the place of power where eternal exchanges are made – death for life; poverty for riches; beauty for ashes; brokenness for healing; weakness for strength. If we want help in our “heavy ladening” - we don’t go to others who will listen, sympathise, criticise or dramatise. First of all, we go to Jesus. In humility. Not demanding His attention. Not telling Him where to touch us so that we may be healed. Just - coming to Him. Just - presenting ourselves to His merciful and faithful scrutiny in order that He may identify and address anything in us that He does not fit us for eternity. … all you who labour and are heavy laden In our coming to Jesus, we admit our condition. Jesus identified the malaise as being heavy laden. Heavy laden (perfect passive participle) – as having already been done (add ….ing to the word) might make the text read something like this: “Come to me all you that labour and who have already been ladened and are heavy with the ladening” Is that anyone here this morning? Are there others who recognise they are not where they could be? Family, we have a huge capacity for pride and stubbornness and we are also very blinkered when it comes to identifying our own depraved condition. Jesus said that we should consider removing the log from our own eye before we attempt to relieve our brother of the splinter in his eye. Honest admittance of what is really going on in our own lives is a start to removing the log from our own eye. May I tell you something? Jesus will carry your burden if you let Him but you have to lay down your determination to self-sufficiency and pride to let Him do it. … and I will give you rest Scripture has a lot to say about God’s people entering their rest (the rest of faith i.e. trust in God and the rest that comes from completely trusting Papa God, in all circumstances). Rest – anapauo – to repose, to be exempt, remain, by implication to refresh, take ease. This verse now gives us a fuller picture of what Jesus will give us in return for our heavy ladening and could read something like this: “Come to me all you that labour and who have already been ladened and are heavy with the ladening and I will cause you to lie back, I will exempt you from your load and cause you to remain in me, to be refreshed and to take your ease” What’s not to like about this offer? Jesus gives us the rest we need. The rest we need is found in Jesus. I don’t have to work at my rest, Jesus said plainly “…and I will give you rest”. Perhaps we are willing to look for rest anywhere except in Jesus. Why is this? Do we mistrust Christ’s motives? Do we fear that the rest He gives will come with strings attached? Is it even more simply that the journey to the Cross and to the Christ of the Cross is one we are willing to undertake only very rarely and in extreme circumstances? Heavy ladening, lack of rest, unease, stale spirituality – these are extremely negative for the Christian and should not be tolerated as acceptable – especially in view of the fact that Jesus has made a way out. It just boils down to how badly we want the “out”. … take my yoke upon you Take – airo – to lift, by implication take up or away, to raise the voice, keep in suspense (the mind) i.e. specifically to sail away (weigh anchor) to expiate sin, away with, bear up, carry, remove, take away with. The instruction is to take Christ’s yoke upon me, but how do I do this? To take up or away by raising my voice - by the words I speak. Give yourself permission to take on the yoke of Jesus in your situation. By your words, confess your need and sins to Jesus. To keep my mind in suspense – the action of taking up the yoke of the Lord may seem, to the cerebral part of ourselves, to be foolish and even contrary to our natural will and desire for self-rule. Sail away, weigh anchor – leave behind the other stuff that has been weighing you down and anchoring you into a different and unhealthy lifestyle. I take the yoke of Christ upon myself– I don’t take it to put on others (legalism), I take it upon myself. Now, as we look at this verse with a better understanding of how we take the yoke of Jesus upon ourselves, it might read more fully like this: “Come to me all you that labour and who have already been ladened and are heavy with the ladening and I will cause you to lie back, I will exempt you from your load and cause you to remain in me, to be refreshed and to take your ease. Lift up your voice to Me, don’t let your mind tell you what to do here, weigh anchor from what has been holding you back.” … and learn from Me To learn in any way, to understand (Manthano). And learn from me (Jesus speaking) - this is what the scripture instructs, to take the yoke of being a Christ follower, to yield to the constraints of being called, identified and chosen to be a Christ follower. This does rein me in. This does limit me. This does affect what I do; how I do it; where I go and why I want what I want. Scripture exhorts us to be imitators of Christ. Everything Jesus did, was as an example of how we can now live. However we get the knowledge of the true Christ, just get it, and in the getting learn it. Learn from our own mistakes, learn from the mistakes of others, learn by reading the warnings of scripture so that no mistakes have to be involved, learn by receiving the instruction and correction of Holy Spirit. Remember, the Holy Spirit is the One who will lead, guide, teach and train us. He is called alongside to render aid, He will convince of sin, He will show us Jesus, He illuminates the Word as we read the Bible. The key way we learn from Jesus is to follow His example of living a Holy Spirit infused and led life. Let’s look at this verse with the understanding of what it means to learn from Jesus: “Come to me all you that labour and who have already been ladened and are heavy with the ladening and I will cause you to lie back, I will exempt you from your load and cause you to remain in me, to be refreshed and to take your ease. Lift up your voice to Me, don’t let your mind tell you what to do here, weigh anchor from what has been holding you back. I will teach you how to live. Imitate me. I know how you should do things.” … for I am gentle and lowly of heart It really does matter how we perceive Jesus. Who Jesus is to you will be what you will give away (and portray) to others. If Jesus is a strict task master who makes you do more with less; who expects you to give until you are empty; who wipes the floor with you when you do wrong, then you will repeat and model this to others. Imagine what happens to us when we encounter Jesus in the midst of our heavy ladening and He is gentle with us. It shifts something deep within. It calls out to our pain and we are enabled to give it over to Him. Our Heavenly Father is kinder than we give Him credit, more willing to render aid and more ready to tender forgiveness than we believe likely. …. and you shall find rest for your souls The heavy ladening of our expected godly labour (to walk in the good deeds pre-prepared for us takes determined effort) affects our souls, not our hearts. Our soul is regarded as being the seat of our emotions, will, thoughts, intellect. By contrast, our hearts are the inmost part of our born again spirit that is good and perfect because God has set up home there. At salvation, Papa God removed our heart of stone (our dead heart) and gave us a heart of flesh (one soft to Him). Jesus lives in our heart, we are God indwelt in our heart (not our soul, not our body). God cannot live where there is sin, therefore the place where God dwells within us must be sin free. The sin nature that is inherent in the natural or carnal man wars with our renewed spirit to have dominion over our thought life, spiritual life, physical body and actions, words, deeds etc. This is only my opinion, but I believe that the extent to which our souls are rested and healed is the extent to which we will walk in the spirit. I put it to you plainly, the less healed you are, the less of the Spirit you will walk in. Similarly, the more healed we become, the more of the Spirit we express. Which means that the more healed we become, the greater benefit we can be to God’s people and His purposes. Why is it then, that Jesus was so adamant about healing all who were oppressed of the devil? Importantly, brokenness (soul pain) interrupts our ability to sense and show Papa God. A wounded life filter colours our perspective of who Father is – not just for us, but for others. As we flesh out this verse further, look at the depth of meaning it now carries: “Come to me all you that labour and who have already been ladened and are heavy with the ladening and I will cause you to lie back, I will exempt you from your load and cause you to remain in me, to be refreshed and to take your ease. Lift up your voice to Me, don’t let your mind tell you what to do here, weigh anchor from what has been holding you back. I will teach you how to live. Imitate me. I know how you should do things. I won’t berate you or humiliate you when you come. I will heal your wounded soul.” … for my yoke is easy: Easy – chrestos from chraomi - to furnish what is needed, employed by implication useful (in manner or morals) better, easy, good, goodness, gracious, kind. The yoke that Jesus offers to us is furnished as fully specific to what is needed by us and as that which we can usefully employ (in the things we do, our behaviour and morals) and His yoke will result in a good, gracious, easy, kind way of life (not to be confused with a life of ease or a life without trial, struggle or pain). This does not mean that taking and walking in that yoke is easy (for we have an active enemy who will do all he can to convince us not to take up and become yoked with Jesus) but it does mean that in tough times, the yoke Christ offers (and which teaches us about who He is in those tough situations) will be an easier option than trying to do life in our own strength. …and my burden is light: Burden – chliaros – tepid, lukewarm from chlio – to warm. The burden of our sin, the burden of doing in our own strength, the burden of enemy oppression can all produce an inferno of raging, internal pain. What Jesus offers us in exchange, when we come to Him and take up His yoke, does not add fuel to the fire or hurt us further. It soothes and heals us - like calming anointment on a hot sting. In fact, Jesus takes the “sting” out of most of life’s burdens if we let Him. As we take the entire verse, fully expanded, let us consider the instruction of Jesus to the weary saints: “Come to me all you that labour and who have already been ladened and are heavy with the ladening and I will cause you to lie back, I will exempt you from your load and cause you to remain in me, to be refreshed and to take your ease. Lift up your voice to Me, don’t let your mind tell you what to do here, weigh anchor from what has been holding you back. I will teach you how to live. Imitate me. I know how you should do things. . I won’t berate you or humiliate you when you come. I will heal your wounded soul. I have what you need, when you need it. By learning from Me, the life that I give you, will be good, gracious, useful and easy. I will not add fuel to the fire” How about the promise of an easy yoke and a light manageable burden? What an exchange if we will come to Him when we are weary, humble ourselves and take the rest He offers. Papa God offers me rest through: Recognising I am weary Humbling myself to come to Him Coming to Him in humility Submitting myself to His yoke Choosing to be joined to His will; pace and direction. I AM NOT MY OWN. I DON’T GET TO CHOOSE THE WHERE? I DON’T GET TO OFFER ALTERNATIVES. I AM THE ONE WHO IS LED!! Learning from Him as we are yoked together I get to learn firsthand how Jesus walks. I get to see what He is like. I quite literally get schooled by being yoked to Jesus as I “do” life I also get to walk real close, all the time, continually, with Jesus who loves me I also get to exchange my heavy burden for His light one I have been given a new heart and from my new heart, comes a natural desire to obey, follow, enjoy, know and be known by Papa God as His child. Our Heavenly Father knows all about me, but He wants us to enjoy being fully known by Him. No dark spots – no hidden, shame filled spaces There is exchange in the yoke There is freedom in the yoke There is healing in the yoke There is joy in the yoke, if we are not walking with Jesus, our joy levels and our strength levels will fail us Jesus enters our painful journey to give us rest. I need to take the rest He offers I cannot run my race well burdened with “heavy ladenning” Matt. 11:28-30 (Message) Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me … watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” Is. 40:31 They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength…” Qavah a primary root; to bind together (perhaps by twisting) i.e. collect, figuratively to expect; gather (together) look, patiently, tarry, wait for, wait on or wait upon. I started by saying that Jesus wants to exchange yokes with us. As we wait on the Lord, there is a change or passing on of strength. If we wait on the Lord, we exchange our weakness for God’s strength. Exchange is a better translation of the word “renew” – chalaph which means to change, to pass on. REMIND PEOPLE THAT: Each person should examine their own heart and life and should only respond to what the Lord reveals to them. If necessary, confess in their hearts and repent before the Lord for any sins He reveals and then come to Him in humility, repentantly. It takes courage to face what you are shown and to do as you are told but, there is rest and freedom in this place. Papa God wants our hearts and souls so that we may love Him with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength and with all our mind. Jesus, aware of the weariness of the people around Him, offered them rest. His offer still stands today. NOTES ON MINISTRY TIME: James 5:13-16 “Are any among you suffering? They should keep on praying about it. And those who have reason to be thankful should continually sing praises to the Lord. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results”. The devil tries to keep us locked in shame, guilt and accusation. He uses condemnation to keep us secret about inner issues of our life that, once bought into the light of Christ’s light, life and love, would be seen for what they are – merely sin issues that have already been paid in full at Calvary. Confession to one another must be done in a safe environment. This cannot be done by people in front of the whole church but within the confines of a ministry team who have themselves known the power of this and humbled themselves through this exact same process, we can be sure that people will be afforded the safest possible environment through which to let the Lord reveal and heal them. For this reason, only those people who have been on Heartquest are to do the ministry. They have been strictly warned of the need for confidentiality and to ensure that nothing of what is spoken to them, ever goes anywhere else. Many of God’s people have been abused by those who minister to them, then sharing their business or alluding to it with others (mostly due to pride issues). Having preached the word, allow Holy Spirit the time to deal heart to heart with His people. Allow dignity and privacy for each person. Some people may not be ready to deal with things. Let them know that is ok. This may be just a “soaking” preparatory message for them. Give people permission not to respond but make every effort to facilitate those who want to.
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