I spent some time this week speaking to our youth about burdens. Burdens are those things we carry around with us throughout our lives that bog us down. They are things we’ve picked up along the way, hurtful words, ungodly habits, negative ideas and thoughts. They are things the enemy is desperate to get into our hands because he knows that when our hands are full of burdens, they can’t be filled with blessings.
So God tells us two things we need to know about burdens. First, our burdens are supposed to be given to Jesus. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Our burdens belong in his hands, not ours. Two verses later Jesus tells us, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
We were never meant to carry our burdens around with us. And when the enemy tries to put on in our hands, we are encouraged to reject the burden, or give it to Jesus.
Secondly, he tells us to help others with their burdens. In Galatians 6:2a, Paul writes, “Share each other’s burdens…” Isn’t that interesting? On one hand, Jesus tells us to him him our burdens. He obviously doesn’t want us walking around with them. But then through Paul, he tells us to share someone else’s burden. That’s odd isn’t it? Why would God tell us to give our burdens to him and then tell us to help carry one another’s?
The answer is in Galatians 6:2b, “…and in this way obey the law of Christ.” What is that, the law of Christ? Honestly, it is kind of a mystery. Paul never explains what it is, but many scholars have theorized. Most say love, and that is a pretty good guess. We share their burdens because we love them. But then how do we deal with the burden? I love how Matthew Henry says it in his commentary: “To act agreeably to Christ’s pattern and example”
So then, “Do What Jesus Would Do.” I need to start a new bracelet. Instead of WWJD, DWJWD. It may be a little too late for that. But let’s answer the question: What did Jesus do?
Isaiah 53:4-7. “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Jesus opened his hands, not for a blessing. It was for your burden. And he took that burden, all of ours, and he carried them to a single place: the Cross. And he left them there.
Jesus wants us to give him our burdens so he can leave them at the cross. And the reason he asks us to share each other’s burdens isn’t because he wants to load you down, but because Jesus wants us to carry each other’s burdens to the same place he carried ours: the Cross. No more. No less.
I don’t know where you are in life. I don’t know how heavy your burdens are. You may be free as a bird or as overwhelmed as you can get, but friend, you need to know that your burden was never meant to be carried. it was meant to be dropped at the Cross. Jesus is waiting for you to let go of everything you’ve picked up along the way, the hurts, the pain, the bondage, the disappointment, the shame, all of it. He wants you to open your hands so you can let go of the burden and embrace his blessing. He wants you to trade, yours for his. He is a good God and wants you to carry his yoke, his purpose for your life, not your burden.
Can I be honest, though? You can’t give to Jesus what you won’t let go of, and you can’t share your burden that you aren’t willing to tell. If you are going to be free, you have to let go, and if you are going to have any help in carrying your burden to the cross, you are going to have to tell someone about it. Find someone that loves you and loves God and share your burden. Godly people restore people. That’s what Galatians 6 tells us. They don’t shame them, they don’t berate them, they restore them in love.
It is my hope you find freedom today in letting go of your burden. I know it can be difficult and letting go requires that you look at what you’re holding. That can be painful, especially if what’s in your hands was picked up in terrible moments. But God is faithful, and Jesus is waiting. Start with a simple prayer: “Jesus, my burden is heavy, but I give it to you. I give you my yoke and receive yours.”
Say it everyday. Say it until your hands are free. And just wait. Your life is going to change. Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. He is good, and he will do it. Just let go.