Speak Life: Understanding the Truth of Christianity

Have you ever had a conversation that transformed your life? Are you in such a state of loneliness and despair that you feel you need one now? The disciples had several such conversations with Jesus and many of these were preserved for us through the scriptures.

Jesus 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.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV, emphasis added).

He specifically encourages those who are “weary and burdened” to look to Him for rest. Notice He did not say, ‘Come to me all who have it together, who are churched, who have a sound theological perspective and who follow a set of rules.’

I often hear religion spoken of with much disdain as if it is a philosophy that restricts people with burdens that are unrealistic. Although some denominations still clutch to legalism, is clearly not what Christ taught. He promised to take our burdens, not to impose more. Humans like to complicate things, adding extra items that lead to a works-based faith, making religion a list of tasks and constraints.

In another passage, Jesus states “I am the bread of life, no one who comes to me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again.” (John 6:35, CSB) He calls us to Himself, as we are, to believe in Him. And the payoff is mind blowing.

Imagine that you are on a shopping spree in a mall and have an unlimited amount of money to spend. Whatever you buy you must carry out, but you can only exit the mall once. After you leave the building, you cannot return. As the day goes on, you pile yourself up with package after package. The bags swinging from your arms are indenting your skin causing bruises. The amount of boxes you hold in your hands obscure your sight causing you to trip and fall every few feet. By mid-afternoon, your arms and legs are so banged up that it is painful to walk but there are still items to purchase from your list.

An announcement comes over the loudspeaker telling of another mall that just opened right next door, The New Mall. If you shop at The New Mall, you can move freely about. The announcer promises that The New Mall has everything you need. But once you leave the mall you are in you can never return. You look around at the familiar surroundings, as much as your packages will allow. There is a deep sense of comfort in this mall, despite your bruised up self and the pain it takes to walk. The skeptic inside you questions The New Mall.

How is it that you can move freely about in and out of The New Mall but not in this one? It must be a lie.”

What if I go to The New Mall and it doesn’t have what I need?”

You look toward the exit to see if anyone else is buying in to this outrageous claim. An older woman holding one package exits the building.

She had to go,” you think, “she cannot hold many packages.”

The minutes pass and you realize that you’ve been wasting your time staring at the exit instead of shopping. With aching muscles and a strained neck, you go to the next store, making more purchases.

“What if The New Mall does have everything?”

A ring comes from your phone alerting you to a new text message. It takes you five minutes to put your packages down, so you retrieve your phone. “Didn’t I shut the ringer off?”

You notice a man exiting the mall with 3 packages. He has a limp, and you immediately shrug off his need to leave by the deformity you see in him.

The text message is from a friend reminding you of the plans you have tonight.

Looking at the time, you realize you can only spend an hour more shopping before you must leave. You struggle to pick up all the packages. Your back is on the verge of giving out, and your shoulders are making faint popping noises as you shift the weight from one arm to the next. This shopping spree has turned into a pain spree. Are you going to leave the mall to go to The New Mall? Or are you going to stay in the “comfortable” surroundings that are causing you much pain?

Positive transformational conversations start with seeking God. Prayer is the primary line of communication; scripture reading is a close second. Searching out God fearing mentors, friends and clergy can also help to answer questions. Jesus is not some unreachable ruler that counts your good works and bad works, creating a spreadsheet of worth. Spoiler alert, He has already prayed for you. “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word.” (John 17:20, CSB)

Are you in need of that tender prayer? Do you feel your soul crying out for help? Do not believe the lie that you are alone.  Speak up if you have questions. Speak up if you do not understand. And, if you notice the necessity, speak life into a friend.

Heavenly Father, You know the needs and desires of these dear readers. I pray that they may realize Your peace that surpasses all understanding. I also pray that you send a mentor to those in need. I ask that they know you as I know you; yes, even better. Amen.

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