Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
"Conventional wisdom" says that if you follow Christ, your path is difficult; and if you follow the world, your path is easy. But the Lord Jesus Himself says, "My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matt. 11:30). And for those who think they have a hard time in trying to follow Jesus or had to suffer opposition and persecution, He adds, "I will put on you no other burden" (Rev. 2:24). He doesn't want us to suffer torture!
Granted, He doesn't force anyone to "take up his cross daily, and follow [Him]" (cf. Luke 9:23), but He invites us to choose to follow Him into eternal life in the kingdom of God. He knows that we have inherited from Adam a sinful nature and how sin is contagious and habit forming; He knows that when His Father says that He "so loved the world that He gave" Him to be our Savior that we have an inward battle in learning to "believe in Him" (John 3:16). Unbelief (or dis-belief) is natural for us; we were born that way. But we can learn to believe.
The distraught father of the possessed boy in Mark 9 gives us a lesson. When Jesus told him frankly, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes," he broke down in tears and said, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (vss. 23, 24). Steeped in your natural unbelief, you can choose to believe. Then you will learn.
A new birth is needed every step of our way, but the Good News is that He loves us so much that He actually makes the path to eternal ruin a "hard" one. This again is contrary to "conventional wisdom" that says it's easy to just slide down hill into hell. An example of truth is what the Lord Jesus said to Saul of Tarsus as he was indulging his natural hatred of righteousness in persecuting the church. In love for his soul, the Lord confronted him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads" (Acts 26:14). It was a miserable life Saul was leading!
The Old Testament also teaches that God loves us so much that He has put obstacles in the downward path to ruin: "Behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns" (Hosea 2:6), "He has fenced up my way so that I cannot pass" (Job 19:8), "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps" (Prov. 16:9), "He has blocked my ways with hewn stone" (Lam. 3:9).
None of these Good News texts says that the Lord forces anyone to be saved against his will; but taken together they assure us that He continually tries His best to direct us into the path of life. Let's believe Him!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 1, 2007.
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