by Jonathan Ray, NCCS Director of Student Life
North Cobb Christian School's Middle School and Upper School students are applying their faith through a new Habitude this month, The Tightrope Walker. This spiritual truth will speak to all of us, regardless of our walks of life.
This month, Pastor Russ Masterson of Christ the Redeemer introduced the principle behind our third Habitude this year at North Cobb Christian School: The Tightrope Walker. The message of The Tightrope Walker is this: our pride, insecurities and anxieties cause us to live like we’re balancing on a tightrope with a backpack filled with burdens. We walk on this wire weighed down with the pressures of life, of maintaining our image, of guilt over our daily mistakes -- so much bagage strapped to our backs -- while we attempt to convince everyone we have it all together, that we’re good, loveable, talented, and worthy of being liked and accepted.
We try to balance all that junk as we make our way across a wire towards the love and affection of others and even God, believing that's how we earn it. What a burdensome fearful life.
What if people see us for who we really are?
What if we fail?
What if we fall?
Sometimes we don’t even know we’re doing this, it’s so ingrained in our hearts and mind … BUT Jesus offers us a different way.
He asks us to come to Him, to allow Him to take our burdens, and He welcomes us into the freedom of His care, being truly known (yup, God sees all the good, the bad, and the ugly) and yet truly loved and welcomed in, accepted by Him. We don’t have to be a tightrope walker, one false step away from falling out of favor with our Maker. Instead, He welcomes us to fall -- into His care, into His acceptance, into His love. That changes everything.
Which yoke is best?
We can find this call of Jesus in the gospel of Matthew, verses 11:28-30. Here, Jesus invites us to bring him our burdens, taking up His yoke instead.
“Come to me, all who 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 is light.” Matt. 11:28-30
Jesus knows we are burdened. He isn’t giving this invitation to a select few people who feel burdened, but to everyone. Jesus knows the hearts of humans, and He knows that we often live in burden, trying so hard to control our lives and universes. And, He also knows that this doesn't bring anything good into our worlds.
I’m a father of an 8-year-old and a 4-month-old, and my wife and I have opposite work schedules. Needless to say, when I read the first part of Matthew 11:28, my mind does a standing ovation when I read the word “rest." Sleep is a rare commodity these days for many of us. But there is a weight that sinks deeper than simple lack of sleep. So often, I burden myself with the cares and anxieties of life. Am I doing well enough? Do people like me? Am I seen as a good dad, employee, leader, Christian? So many burdens of responsibility and weights of expectation begin to fill my heart like a steel brick, and the balancing act begins. If I just keep it all together, if people see me succeeding, if I minimize where I’m weak and hide my rough edges, then maybe I won’t be a bum, maybe I’ll be worth other people's praises and affection. Maybe, I’m trying to convince myself more than others…
I love that Jesus offers us a better way.
We can carry the weight of His love, His goodness, His mercy, His grace. He believes in you, He has hope for you, He endured for you; when we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). The word “yoke” in that verse is in reference to a tool used to connect two animals, so that together, their work would be productive and fruitful. Jesus is saying that, with Him, we can bear a new weight together, a weight of eternal love and rest. That burden is light because He’s done all the hard work for us. In Him, we are truly known and accepted. We are counted righteous before we have attained righteousness. We are loved before we’ve made ourselves lovable. We are accepted even when the world says we're unacceptable. And we are liked before we’ve proven anything to anyone.
What a freeing truth.
Take a few minutes and think on this truth alone. Take note of one thing God is speaking to you as you process Christ’s invitation to find rest by coming to Him.
My prayer for each student and parent at NCCS: