Burdens of Consciences
We live in a dark and sinful world. Our feet trample its sin-soaked streets. Burdens of conscience can sometimes weigh us down. Worries of an uncertain future can also impair our present joys:- Cares in business.. Insecurities in life.. Trouble in the home.. Responsibilities in a ministry. Anxieties about our spiritual walk.. Frustrations from the world.. Misunderstandings between loved ones.. Fear of losing a beloved help-meet or a precious partner. Other undesirable things – things we don’t even want to share.. all combine to cause the believer to be burdened, fearful, worried and worn.
Impacts of Choices
Satan uses past disappointments and former fears, to impact on the choices of today. The devil will engineer future worries and concerns about tomorrow.. to influence our present decisions.. and yet we know that the believer should be filled with joy. We know we should rejoice in our sufferings.. knowing that difficult circumstances produce endurance. But we also know that Paul was afflicted in this and every way.. but he was not crushed. And Paul exhorts us not to fear about the unknown, but to be content in all things.. as sorrowful and yet always rejoicing – as poor, yet making many rich – as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
Trials, Tests, Temptations
We know that Jesus Himself walked this same way that we are treading, and was in every respect was tried, tested and tempted as we are – yet without sin. And He exhorts us not to be worried or concerned:- ‘Fear not – Fret not – Don’t worry – Let not your heart be troubled. Christ Who pleaded for His own cup to be removed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He Who was the founder and perfecter of our faith, walked the same path of fear and doubt – Who for the joy before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.
We know that all things in life are changed for the one born of God. We know His mercies are new every morning for the one that believes – for as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in His comforts too. And yet despite this, we can be burdened with sin and the fear of judgment.. as was Christian in his “Pilgrims Progress” to the Celestial City.. Until his burden was strangely loosed at the cross, and tumbled deep into the gaping sepulchre.. yet He still had to meet more problems along his advancing route.
Worry, Anxieties, Fear
At other times we can be overburdened by worry and anxieties.. fearful of a situation that may happen in the future – dread that a past pain may be repeated. So how can we be ‘exceeding joyful in all our tribulation’ today.. as this text in 2 Corinthians exhorts us to be? How can the insecurities and difficulties of life be lifted and lightened today – when burdens; worries; cares; responsibilities; insecurities; troubles and anxieties… misunderstandings; frustrations; and other undesirable things strew our path?
Joy Set Before Us
Remember – if for a time we are in heaviness – it is only for a season – and the very anticipation of the joy set before us.. must rejoice our drooping hearts. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice – with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. God has placed us in time with eternity in view – and He reminds us that there is a time for every matter under heaven:
Time With Eternity in View
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which was planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace.
And he tells us that today is the time in which we live. Today is the day we move and have our being. Today is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation – and He said, Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. Never allow fears from the past or worries for the future.. to remove your joy for today. Jesus said: these things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full – (today) For the joy of the Lord is your strength – for today.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
37 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
14 Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:
7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
9 And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.
10 All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses.
11 And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.
14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.
15 And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.
16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness Unto The Lord; and the pots in the Lord‘s house shall be like the bowls before the altar.
21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.