“It Won’t Be Easy”
When souls recognize their need to change from wrong to right, it is not uncommon to hear them say, “It won’t be easy.” Through the years, I’ve heard those words hundreds of times from dozens of people! Those who have been addicted to various substances have uttered those words. Those who have determined they cannot remain in an unscriptural union have uttered those words. Those who have imbibed various sins simply for the pleasures of the flesh have uttered those words once they realize they can no longer engage the Devil’s ways and please the God of Heaven.
Some have mistakenly used Matthew 11:28- 30 to claim service to Christ Jesus is “very easy.” Here is what Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” While the Lord indeed said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light,” He did NOT say it was “non-existent.” His meaning is His way is much easier and lighter than the burdens of sin!
Jesus also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6) Combined with Peter’s inspired statement of Jesus being our example (1 Peter 2: 21 – 25), does it not reason that we should indeed “follow His steps?” (ibid.) Did Jesus suffer? Was His life “easy”? Was He without emotional or physical concerns? Answer: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) Again, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him …” (Hebrews 5: 8 – 9)
No, being a Christian isn’t “easy” in sense of “no effort.” Romans 6 carefully details the necessity of “putting to death the “old man of sin.” That isn’t as “easy” as some might think! Sin in any form is addictive; the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15 – 17) crave it. James shows the gripping power of sin when one begins to nibble at its bait (James 1:13 – 16). It isn’t “easy” to overcome!
To keep the old man of sin dead and buried (via baptism for the remission of sins – Romans 6:4), some must sever ties of the flesh that have been united for decades! Friends, as well as family, can interfere with being righteous in God’s sight. Righteousness can have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11) and so all association with sin and its allurement must end! (Romans 12:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:22). Severing such associations isn’t “easy” … but with Christ Jesus, it can be done (Philippians 4:13).
Yet consider this question: Which is “easier” – to retain a deadly disease or have that ailment surgically removed, never to bother you again if you continue to take the prescribed treatment after its removal for the rest of your long life? Wouldn’t most of us choose surgery and life-long treatment? Sin is the deadly disease of the soul! Its only cure is amputation from one’s life! (Colossians 2:10 – 12). Easy? Yes, once the soul is convinced that without Christ it is lost, choosing to obey the gospel of Christ Jesus is “easy;” just as “easy” as choosing life over death when there is a lasting cure from the deadly disease!
“But can I stay faithful unto death?” (Revelation 2:10) YES! As per Peter’s inspired directive, you grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18) by giving diligence to adding virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity to your faith (2 Peter 1: 1 – 11). Is it “easy?” The answer depends on your determination to succeed! Just as one determines if learning in school or learning a trade or developing a new skill is “easy” or “hard,” “easy” is determined by one’s attitude toward being successful! Yes, you can succeed in being faithful unto death, if you determine to realize who controls your mind, your life, your choices! Read carefully Colossians 3: 1- 17, noting again our “old” life is dead and we are alive in Christ (Galatians 2:20). He is now our life, our mind (Philippians 2:5), our choice (Colossians 3:17).
“Easy” also means, “comfortable; fitting without pain.” We use it in phrases like, “my easy chair.” Frankly, some of those “easy chairs” aren’t so “easy” to exit for some of us! The Lord’s statement at Matthew 11:28 – 30 means “comfortable; fitting without pain.” In the days of using yokes on oxen, if the yoke didn’t fit comfortably on the neck of the ox, the ox would not cooperate in the work. This is why the Lord’s yoke is “easy” (i.e. comfortable, fitting without pain) as we change our labors from serving self to serving Him. The longer we wear His yoke, the more comfortable and fitting without pain it becomes. For some, it isn’t as “easy” as they thought – but it is a far cry easier than remaining in sin and being eternally lost!