It is an absolute joy to follow our Savior, even when it is difficult. Many people caricature Christianity as a crushing list of dos and don’ts. As if God’s commands are overbearing and debilitating. When they speak this way, it is obvious they speak as outsiders, or they have been confusing onerous human traditions as the commands of God. Scripture is clear that his commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3), and the Christian experience confirms this as well. Here are three reasons why this is the case.
1. We Are Motivated by Our Love for Him
For the Christian, our love for God is the driving force behind our desire to do his will. Just think about someone you love dearly in this life. Is it taxing to do something for them when you know it is a reasonable request? No, you long to do it. He is not a burden, he is your brother, and she is not a strain, she is your sister. How much more, then, does this apply to Jesus who loved us so much he gave his life for us? All his commands are for our good and his glory. To be agitated by his commandments is to deny at least one of these truths.
2. The Holy Spirit Empowers Us
His commands are not burdensome because he supplies us with the strength we need. This lack of empowerment is where the law fell short. It told us what to do, but it did nothing to help us do it. It was powerless because of our sinful nature, but when the Holy Spirit entered our life, he provides us with the strength and love we need. However, keep in mind that the Spirit does not promise to give us the strength to carry out human traditions. Many people are burdened because they are trying to live out dictates not found in scripture. This is one of the enemy’s greatest tactics. He uses false teachers to convince us that something is biblical when it is not, and when it fails, he points to scripture and tells us it cannot be trusted. God promises to give strength to the weary, but only as it pertains to his ways, not our own inventions.
3 His Commands Revive Our Soul
The last thing to keep in mind is that the commands of God, when viewed in the light of the Spirit, revive our soul. They become a source of strength and happiness. In Psalm 19:7-8 David rejoiced saying, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. Did those key phrases jump out at you? “Reviving the soul,” “rejoicing the heart,” and “enlightening the eyes.” There is no happier state for the believer than holiness, and there is no righteousness apart from his commands. When we are living outside of the will of God, the weight of sin drags us into the mire and makes our brightest day dull. On the contrary, the joy of the Lord and his holiness lifts our spirits to the heavens and can make us rejoice even on our darkest days.
There is not a Christian on earth who does this perfectly. That is why we must continuously rely on Christ’s atoning work on the cross on our behalf; Jesus keep us near the cross. Every time we fall short, the punishment that we deserve finds its satisfaction in Him, and we are declared righteous in Jesus. True knowledge of this never moves us to belittle his commands; it always moves us to love them and rejoice in them. His yoke is easy and his burden is light.