God’s commands aren’t burdensome? A view from hindsight.
When we live our lives according to God’s guidelines, the reverse happens. You come up against a desire, and the Holy Spirit reminds you away from it. Then the choice must be made. When we deliberately choose God’s way we may not immediately find relief. Life still swirls around our feet like a swift stream. Walking up such a swift stream requires us to take purposeful and strong steps while the current steadily pushes and shoves. Satan and our desires are in that current and aim to dislodge and knock us over. Eventually, though, we conquer the thing while others are swept away. One gets bruised working against the stream and the other gets bruised when carried downstream.
Look at verse 4.
4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (1 John 5:4–ESV)
See how that verse dovetails with the rest of this lesson?
One of the most poignant examples of walking upstream in my life comes from teaching residents to do cataract surgery and teaching medical students to examine patients. I am so, so much faster when I don’t have a medical student around. My sense is that I could focus so much more on my patient’s problems if I did not feel compelled to stand up from the exam and direct the so eager medical students to sit down and look at this or that.
It feels like such the burden to do these things. What are “these things”? They are golden rule actions, deliberate reaching into the circumstances of patient and learner intwining them into something new, something excellent, something which has a real longevity. It is deliberately looking at what the medical students need and setting my actions to meet them. That is loving them. That is 1 John 5:2 stuff, and 3 stuff, and 4 stuff.
Betterment, not burdens.
Do you know what happens? So many patients end up not being annoyed but being fulfilled by having me take interest in the young men and young women. By the end of a clinic, there is no burden; there is mostly joy. Betterment not burdens is the outcome. By this I exchange short term, that is getting patients back to their cars and their lives and me to things on a semi-important to-do list, for the long term. That is intergenerational. Typing it gives it a pleasant idealism. It is hard, hard work, though. It requires faith that actions this way are really worth it.
That is what John means for me. So, I highly recommend you learning from God what he wants from you and then setting your sail squarely in that direction. It may seem you are flying into the wind, and you may be. But…in the end, you will see that the burdens have gone overboard…where they belong.