“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28; NASB)
The holiday season is upon us and with it all the hustle and bustle of shopping, going to special events, and get-togethers with family and friends. All of this can be quite overwhelming if you let it. This week’s verse is not really about God giving you rest from all of your self-inflicted anxiety, worry, and insanity. We need to use our own common sense and rational thinking to keep the stress down. The truth is, you do not need to accept every invitation, or throw a party, or put more lights on your house than your neighbor.
What Jesus was referring to here was the heavy burden sin can be on us. Sin will eat away at anyone who allows its fruitless effects to linger. As believers, we’ve not only been forgiven of our past sins, but our future sins as well. This is assuming that if you have given your heart to Jesus, you also made a conscious decision to live your life differently. God does not stop us from sinning; we are sinners until the day we die. At no time can we consider ourselves “fixed”. We come into the Kingdom of God with issues. The sin those issues cause us to commit in everyday life are no longer counted against us as long as our intention is to stop committing them. There is an old saying among believers that says, “we do not stop sinning when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we just stop enjoying it.”
One of the main functions of the Holy Spirit is the conviction of sin (see John 16:8). As we grow closer to our Lord, we become more aware of the sin in our lives. The result of this should be twofold. It should keep us humble in knowing how desperately we need Christ in our everyday lives. It should also drive us deeper into prayer, asking God to help us to resist the temptations of the world. The Bible says: “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9) This does not mean sin no longer exists in us. It means our sins are no longer held against us when our intent is not to sin. The conviction of sin can weigh heavily on us if we do not give that sin to Jesus. It is our choice whether to receive the forgiveness given through His sacrifice on the cross. God said,
“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.,” (Jer. 17:10; NIV)
When your heart is right before the Lord, He does not hold your mistakes against you. You should pray about them, asking Him to help you eliminate that sin from your life. You should not carry guilt or shame about your behavior. Accept His forgiveness, pray for any healing where it might be necessary to prevent future sin in that area, and believe He is answering that prayer.
Have a great week and God bless.