Have you ever tried to add new clothes to a wardrobe full of old clothes?. Have you ever worn a new coat on top of an old coat?
Seems ridiculous right? Yes rightly so. We would be seen as crazy or needing mental evaluation. But most of us are doing this every day. Same old same old, nothing is really new under the sun like King Solomon said. He said its vanity, everything is vanity. Many people would tell him if he was alive, that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Yet he was the richest man in the world. Somehow we have equated great wealth to be the pinnacle of happiness and success. Perhaps that’s why the chase is on, well disguised but it is on. Most of us are afraid we won’t make it to the finish line, not even certain where the finish line is, so we are racing hard, we are racing fast. Stressed out, and if anyone makes the mistake of standing in our way, they will know about it.
Jesus Christ the son of God and who knows the way humans think,(hint..He walked in man’s shoes and did life like you and me do before he went back to heaven), he put it this way in Math 11:28 paraphrased for this post, ‘Come to me all you who are tired and stressed out, what’s going on? Why are you so tired, so frantic, what are you chasing, what are you carrying in your heart and mind, what are you so upset about? Come to me for a minute let’s find out why all this trouble is getting to you. He says in another verse If I could overcome the pressure and stress of this world, you too can, because you carry my father’s DNA.
You may be reading this and realise, you too are in this mad race, to be someone to be something, to make a difference, as great as all this is, but is it hurting you or your loved ones while you are racing? making sure you win?. But this is the thing. Most of us have never checked the race we are in, most of us have been running in the wrong race and not even aware of it. This is not the race for life, this is the race for the biggest title, the loudest applause. The race worth the fight and discipline is the race against the old you/me and becoming the new you/me. It is not a race against another, but against oneself.
Have you ever wondered why after trying so hard, for so many years, it seems it’s not worth it? Some of us finally admit, this was all a lie and am not doing it one more day. I am not spending another day trying to make him or her or them happy, no matter what I do, nothing makes them happy. That is hard, and I have done it too, but one day woke up to the reality, it’s not him or her, I am the one who has to change. They will probably never change, and am okay with that.
Why is it hard to let go of the old way of thinking and embrace a new way of thinking? Why is it easier to hold on to the familiar even if that’s what killing our deepest passion and who we are created to be? Something to think about. It doesn’t help when even the ones we know and love challenge why we can’t settle down with what we have, or just be happy, where we are. And yet we are not created to just accept life the way it is. We are created to ask questions, check things out, check out what others teach us, check who and what we trust.
Jesus performed a miracle of changing water into wine(In John 2: 1-12). His very first miracle. He used the very water pots used for cleaning your body to be pure according to the tradition at the time, and filled them with water that He turned into wine to drink. Showing by His first miracle, it’s not cleaning yourself on the outside that makes you pure or clean, but cleaning your inside that makes you pure or clean. How and why is this necessary? To be free from the power of sin and religion, the weight and burden of guilt, because of what we’ve done wrong. Jesus makes it simple, follow me and you will travel light guaranteed. Seems too good to be true. Jesus did not come to create a religion, but show us a relationship with God the father. A servant master relationship is very different from a father son relationship, always. We are created for a father-son/daughter relationship with God, and religion has worked hard to distract many from this which totally sets you free, and makes you travel light.
We become clean by feeding on the word of God, it changes our hearts from hearts of stone,( which refuse to accept we all need God’s mercy and forgiveness), to hearts of flesh that are soft to eat the word of God on a regular basis, and get cleaned from all the junk we pick up in life that leads us away from God and constant frustration. We pick this up in Eph 5:26 from the marriage illustration:
‘that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.’
Proverbs 23:12 tells you and me ‘Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge’
The living word of God is just that, alive, able to sort out our hearts, our priorities in life. If our priority is to be happy, and pursue it with all our strength we have it backwards. This always leads to constant frustration, its like a carrot on a stick, the closer we get, the further the carrot appears, there always seems something that disturbs our happiness, because we have it backwards. True happiness comes from knowing God first and our relationship with Him, which we learn through Jesus Christ.
But Christ says follow me, and all those stresses you have will not be your lot anymore, because I will show you a better way to do life. The old has to go to embrace the new. This season take time to reconsider the instructions of Jesus, are you tired and frustrated, no matter what you do, it seems you are not succeeding? ‘Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and LEARN from me. for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light Math 11:28-30. Is your life reflecting peace or chaos? Love or anger, joy or sadness?
Here is how Merriam Webster defines Joy: