HOW CAN WE BEAR
THE BURDEN OF TERRORISM
Despite all of the aforementioned discussion of terrorism, this weight of carrying the burden of that terrorism and the following our Lord to some personal calvary, is not as heavy as some would pretend.
"My yoke is easy (good), and My burden is light..."
Jesus said that the Pharisees "bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne ... and lay them on men's shoulders." (Matthew 23:4). Yet, our Lord asks us to bear a "styrofoam" cross. Some of today's congregations are like the Pharisees, and want a religion that is heavy with burdens. Many congregations want Christianity to be hard and troublesome. The early church battled the same tendency. They wanted to make the burden carried by those in the church to be heavier than planned by the Lord.
"Why tempt ye God to put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?"
Some in the early church wanted to make the burdens carried to be heavy. Jesus came to bear our burdens, and told us to do what He did. Therefore, we should be trying to lighten the burdens of others, not adding to the burdens. Some add rules, regulations, laws, and heavy weights to the faith. These are not the ‘cross’ we are to be carrying, and if we add all those to the ‘cross’ we are bearing far heavier a cross than Jesus ever intended.
"Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden."
We are told to "learn of" Jesus. The Lord Jesus is called "Rabbi"(teacher) 80 times in Scriptures. He is a great Teacher. Jesus can teach us much. He tried to teach us how to carry a cross, but to carry a styrofoam cross.
"Let not your heart be troubled!"
The cross should not make us be troubled. The same burdens carried by some saints are carried lightly, as others carry those burdens as though they are so very heavy.
Notice how willingly Paul carried his cross.
I Corinthians 4:12-13
"And labour, working with our own hands; being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat; we are made as the offscouring of all things unto this day."
The prophets of the Old Testament were mistreated, lied about, abused, and even slain for their message and choice of God's ways over the way their friends wanted them to go.
"Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. ...Take my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering, affliction, and of patience."
THE VALUE THE BURDEN OF THE TERRORISM WE MIGHT CARRY.
The reason some can carry the cross of terrorism so lightly is the same as that of a miser carrying a bag of heavy gold coins. He seems to bear the load lightly, for he values the heavy weight. A person who is lifting shovel after shovel of dirt and rocks as he digs up a treasure, does such with joy and anxiousness. The weight did not make him avoid the heavy work. It is the idea of the value of weight that makes the difference.
Paul said: "I glory in mine infirmities.". He had learned the value of the burdens that he carried. As hard as it is to realize, we need to comprehend that the Lord's "yoke is good". There is good in the burden of the cross that we bear.
II Corinthians 4:8
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed."
Moses had to choose to bear the cross of shame and reproach for God. He had to choose that life over a life of riches, ruling Egypt, and power. It could have been a difficult decision, but Moses made the right decision.
Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of reward."
The Lord wants us to bear a cross.
"And He said to them all: If any man will come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whomsoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it."
After we have borne a burden, and the Lord has delivered us through it, we can usually see the good that came from it. But the Lord wants us to realize as we are still bearing the burden, that it is good. Faith can move mountains, and faith can make our cross, our yoke, and our burdens be lightly borne.
WE ARE TO CHEER HIS CROSS, AND WHAT IT MEANS TO US,
THEN WE ARE TO SUBMIT WILLINGLY TO OUR CROSS
One key to the realization of such is to learn to submit willingly to the cross. Some will struggle against it, and fight to not carry it. But if we willingly submit to the cross that we bear, we will find that it is only a styrofoam cross. It may look heavy, and burdensome, but our faith upholds the heaviest burden lightly.
The happy ending may be years away, the suffering may still be counted good, because we know, in faith, that God will make all things "work together for good." Faith will still work in the dark, and when we can in the natural see no way for things to work out.
II Timothy 1:12
"For the which cause I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed; for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."
The world tells us that "It will be all right soon!" when things are really tough. Yet, a Christian can say "It is all right now! We can say, by faith, that we "take pleasure in our infirmities."
Everyone has some kind of burdens, but only the Christian has "good" burdens.
"All things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose."
WE ARE MOST LIKE CHRIST, WHILE WE CARRY OUR CROSS, AND EVEN THE TERRORS OF THAT CROSS LIGHTLY.
Not all Christians realize this, and many are carrying the styrofoam cross like it was a mountain. Meekness is bearing a heavy burden lightly. The Lord told us to "Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly." Christ bore a heavy burden and bore it meekly. He wants us to be like Him. If we reluctantly resolve to bear the burden only as long as we must, we are not meekly bearing the burden. Anxiousness to not bear your cross makes it heavy. To struggle to get rid of the cross makes it heavy. To scoff, sneer, and scorn the burdens makes them heavy. We need to learn to be content, no matter what state we find ourselves in. When we become happy for the cross, when we rejoice in our sufferings for our Lord, the burdens become light.
I Peter 3:14
"But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye; and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled."
I Peter 4:14
"If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified."
Meekness is an unnoticed virtue. It is so quiet that we do not find others praising us for it. Christ bore His burdens so lightly, and happily, that the disciples kept thinking that they were going to Jerusalem to install Him as King and Messiah, but He was on His way to the crucifixion.
Today, while many are on their way to victories, you would think they were on their way to a crucifixion. They fear and dread, complain and scorn the littlest trials. They do not bear the burden lightly, but murmur against God and the burdens.
Some people want others to notice every burden they carry. They want to talk of every trial, every financial crisis, every persecution. They have a "Pity-Me! Complex".
Meekness is not an unnoticed virtue by God. If we willingly accept the cross, bear it with pride for our Lord, and do not struggle, complain, or sit in exasperation at the crosses we bear, the Lord is well pleased.
I Peter 4:12-13,16
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on His behalf."
NEVER ‘DENY’ THE CROSS, IT IS A PRECIOUS GIFT.
II Timothy 2:12
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He will also deny us."
The part of that verse, "if we deny Him" really lacks the word "Him" for it was added by the translators. This verse really means: "if we deny the suffering, then He will deny us." It is vital that we learn to bear our cross willingly. We must not seek just the false "prosperity doctrine" that is prevalent today. We must learn to allow ourselves to be mistreated, abused, hated, lied about, plotted against.
II Timothy 1:8
"Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, His prisoner; but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God."
The cross, that we are asked to bear, is a styrofoam cross. It is light and easy to carry, when we willingly accept it from the Lord. We can bear it proudly, for we are suffering for Him. We can know that the Lord will deliver us from all these trials we bear.
II Corinthians 1:9-10
"But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God Who raiseth the dead; Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in Whom we trust that He will yet deliver us."
Jesus rose from the grave, and showed victory over even death. If He can do that, we can be assured of our own resurrection if we abide in Him. Therefore, what threat, what abuse, what persecution, and what intimidation can hurt us??? We will be ultimate victors through Jesus, and need not fear TERROR nor the TERRORISTS. We can smile for the Lord will deliver us.
The wounds of the cross are precious wounds, and the healing is not just assured, it is the scars and wounds themselves. When Jesus returned from paradise, in a new immortal body, He still kept the wounds, in His hands and side, they were there to show to Thomas, to demonstrate to any doubters. He did not get a new body that was void of any evidence of the ‘cross’ that He endured. We may be surprised that the wounds of the cross down here, will be our glory on our new bodies.
How can we do all this? Just as we have done here now, 'CONSIDER JESUS'. As we look to our Savior, Who did all this for us, and consider what He has asked of us, and what He has promised us for the future, we can 'consider Him' and rejoice. The pain is there, till we step from here to His presence, but we shall rejoice in our 'scars' for Him, as He proudly showed forth His nail prints for us.