By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8
If Jesus calls says his burden is light and his yoke is easy, how come so many folks come to church and regularly feel beat up? How come so many feel pressed upon by a heavy burden and a choking yoke? Something does not line up. Either we need to change Jesus or we need to change church. The easier of the two is to change Jesus — changing church is really, really hard. Thankfully, though it is often attempted, Jesus cannot be changed to fit our current whim or fancy.
Men come to church (and the Christian book store) and hear messages telling them to be a “real man,” to be a “better father” and to more effectively “lead their families spiritually.” All good things, all things to strive for, yet each something that most men already feel somewhat inadequate at doing. And yet the basic message that is communicated, “Shape up!” “Try harder.” “You are not doing it good enough.”
Jesus has a message to men as well, one that does not beat them up, a simple two word message that requires all that you have but that gives you all that you need: Be faithful.
Be faithful — not to your wife (though that is important). Be faithful — not to your role as father (though that is important). Be faithful — not to the church (though that is important). Be faithful — to me, the one who created you and knows and loves you better and more fully than anybody else.
What does it mean to be faithful to God? Simply put, it is seeking to live the way you were created to live, in communion with God with no area of your life separated or segregated from God’s leading. It is an obedience that flows from trust, not as a burden, or a “have to,” but as fullness of life, impact, legacy and a life that matters. Jesus said seek first the Kingdom of God and all of the other things (being a good dad, being a good husband, a spiritual leader) will be added to you — but you’ve got to start there.
Faithfulness is not a checklist, a duty, or an obligation. Rather it walking the life of discipleship, learning to be the cooperative friend of Jesus, living a life of creative goodness through the power of the Holy Spirit, for the sake of the world. Faithfulness is not passive, it requires intentionality on your part even as it requires the power and faithfulness of God on your behalf.
Jesus never pushes anything on you — that is why his burden is light. But he will invite you to things that are too hard for you to do alone — that is why it is called a yoke. If it seems to “not be you,” or that you “don’t know where to start,” than you have the idea.
So Do This:
Start with a simple prayer, “God, I want to be faithful.” “Lord, teach me how to be faithful.” Then move to the Word of God and set up a time of reading, all the while asking “God help me to be faithful.” Come to church and worship with your Creekside family and ask “God help me to be faithful.” Share your desire with friends and pray “God help me to be faithful.” Sign up for a Beyond Course or Deep Waters, join a small group, talk to me, talk to other leaders at Creekside and elsewhere, and as you do so, do your best and give yourself a break.