The world often gives us messages that directly contradict the Bible. One example of this is advice on how to live. Many of us have seen people who try hard to do everything right all the time, but this can lead to the “hamster on a wheel” syndrome. We can be our own hard taskmasters and create undue stress when we hold ourselves to unrealistic standards, but God gives us permission to relax with Him.
If we constantly allow external circumstances to drive us because of how we appear to others, we may be suffering from lingering residues of the Law-of-Moses-mindset without being aware of it. Under the law, our performance was paramount. Now that the law has been replaced by grace, what matters isn’t what we do, but what Jesus already did. This means much-needed rest for our spirits and souls. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).
We can work ourselves into a frazzle operating under the law, but we can be thankful that Jesus changed things for the better. No longer do we have to subject ourselves to overly strict, self-imposed standards. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). This favor from God that allows us to relax and be ourselves may seem strange to new Christians. However, the longer we walk with God, the more we can come to appreciate this favor.
Life is too short for constant work without a break; it wears us out physically and mentally. God put us here to fulfill His purpose, but He also gave us a whole world to enjoy. He never intended for us to drag along with no enjoyment. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Life is beautiful and wonderful if we let God show us how to truly live it.
Whatever isn’t God’s will is sin. He wants us to live victoriously and joyfully. God wants peace of mind for us and the total absence of fear. Living like this was unheard of in the Old Testament because the fear of violating any aspect of the law meant death, but grace turned everything around. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).
People can spend years searching for meaning in their lives, but the truth the world doesn’t know is that a relationship with Christ pulls everything together and helps connect the dots. When we interpret life through the lens of grace, everything makes perfect sense. We have exactly who the world needs. Sharing Him with others frees them, as well as us.