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Author Topic: How is Jesus' Yoke Easy and His Burden Light?  (Read 3041 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: December 14, 2012, 07:00:09 AM »

This is something that makes absolutely no sense to me no matter how I look at it. As I struggle more and more to control my passions and grow in godliness, the more I learn about how hard this really is. In the Scriptures, Jesus says that His yoke is easy and that His burden is light, and in the Old Testament, we see several instances where God says that He doesn't ask for too much from His people and that loving Him is so easy and everything etc. None of this makes sense to me. How could it be described as being so easy and light, when in reality, the entire Orthodox Christian life is a lifelong battle against our passions and struggling for God, carrying our own personal Crosses? Some of us--like most of the Disciples--were even martyred, many of us today--including myself--come from unsupportive families precisely because of our faith. We have to adhere to all this fasting periods, stand for two hours every Sunday morning, learn and keep learning, pray constantly, and we got all these moral rules on what we can and cannot do. It's pretty tough. I don't see how it is a "light" burden or how the yoke of God is "easy". It's probably harder than most religions to be honest, since western Christianity is just legalistic and thus somewhat easy to follow--since all you gotta do is adhere to a few rules and you're good--but being eastern, we have to truly improve on the inside and all of that other confusing, deeper stuff. Why can't it be simple and easy like western Christianity or even Islam--where all you have to do is follow five rules your entire life and you are good?
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 07:15:35 AM »

Why can't it be simple and easy like western Christianity or even Islam--where all you have to do is follow five rules your entire life and you are good?

Because the purpose of life is to establish a relationship with Christ. A personal relationship with someone cannot be achieved by simply following some external rules.

As for the burden being light, I like this quote from St. Gregory the Great: "The delights of the body, when we do not possess them, awaken in us a great desire for them; but when we possess them and enjoy them to the full they straightway awaken in us a feeling of aversion...spiritual delights work in the opposite way. While we do not possess them we regard them with dislike and aversion; but once we partake of them we begin to desire them, and the more we partake of them, the more do we hunger for them."

You are viewing everything as a negative burden rather than a positive opportunity. It's your mindset that makes the yoke difficult and the burden heavy.
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 10:01:01 AM »

This is something that makes absolutely no sense to me no matter how I look at it. As I struggle more and more to control my passions....
I thought the trick was to unleash your passions, but in the Godward direction.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 10:03:42 AM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2012, 10:03:02 AM »

I read a brilliant sermon of St. Augustine on this passage once. Do you want me to go and find it?
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2012, 01:02:33 PM »


Smile.

Seriously.  Smile, as you carry your burden.

Smile when you are praying in church.  Smile when you reach for the fish instead of the burger.  Smile when you stop to help someone.

Just smile....it's infectious and it will infect you.

What a wonderful Faith we have been given.  So, much opportunity to be happy.

...and if you are at your rope's end....and you feel you can't go on....God is always there to help you.

...and when things get really bad, and you are discouraged and just feel like throwing in the towel.....just think of your death.  What a happy thought, no?

Your life, and what you think as misery, will be over before you know it....and what awaits you, is a direct result of what you have done in that short time.

No matter how hard, how tough, how painful...it WILL end...and eternity awaits.

....just remember to smile more.

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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2012, 01:40:31 PM »

There's something in what both Orthodox11 and Liza are saying. Keep struggling James. But question what you are doing all this for. Is it because you fear Hell, or because you love your Heavenly Father?

Learning how to bear the difficulties, your weakness, the hard times... All in faith, hope and love. This is the secret to the "peace that surpasses all understanding." It will get easier, and as it gets easier you will wish to take on more, and as you wish to take on more, your Heavenly Father who is merciful, will only give you what He knows you can bear. Call on Him to make your yoke easy, but out of the hope that you may receive more, not just because you want an easy life.

God bless you.

-SG+
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2012, 04:19:15 PM »

It only seems so hard because most modern people are raised in such a permissive society that they never developed what other societies would consider simply basic self control and restraint. Our sense of self importance/worth is also inflated.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 04:20:48 PM by Jason.Wike » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2012, 04:36:01 PM »

I read a brilliant sermon of St. Augustine on this passage once. Do you want me to go and find it?

If he doesn't want it, I'll take it.
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2012, 04:50:17 PM »

It only seems so hard because most modern people are raised in such a permissive society that they never developed what other societies would consider simply basic self control and restraint. Our sense of self importance/worth is also inflated.

I'd also throw in the "immediate gratification" aspect of our modern American culture as a reason for JamesR's feelings. 
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2012, 04:57:21 PM »

I was thinking about it some more, and this might be advice to ignore (someone else should vet it?) but maybe the problem is you are trying to do it all with your own power when it we can't. God gives us the power to do what is right and be victorious. It is not by own our power that we succeed.


(I'm prettyyy sure that is Christian but it sounds a lot like Shin Buddhism too, but Shin Buddhism sounds just like Christianity so eh)
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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2012, 05:01:01 PM »

I was thinking about it some more, and this might be advice to ignore (someone else should vet it?) but maybe the problem is you are trying to do it all with your own power when it we can't. God gives us the power to do what is right and be victorious. It is not by own our power that we succeed.


(I'm prettyyy sure that is Christian but it sounds a lot like Shin Buddhism too, but Shin Buddhism sounds just like Christianity so eh)
Go and Shin no more.
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If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
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LizaSymonenko
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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2012, 05:06:36 PM »


^ LOL!  Good one.

...but, that's a valid point.  We are nothing without Christ...and I often find myself in a situation, doing something, saying something, etc....that I have no idea what path I took in life to lead me to that moment.  It was none of my own forethought or planning....it just happens.

So, yes....put your faith and your trust in God....however, don't just sit back and do nothing...do your best....and He'll take care of the rest.
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JamesR
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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2012, 05:29:55 PM »

I read a brilliant sermon of St. Augustine on this passage once. Do you want me to go and find it?

I would love that please.
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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2012, 05:40:42 PM »

It seems that the sermon I meant was one that was discovered relatively recently. It i numbered as sermon 70a, it's not in the edition of the Maurists or Migne and I couldn't find an English translation. But I do happen to have the Latin text so I'll translate it. Brb, translating.
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« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2012, 06:34:02 PM »

Here's the first half of sermon 70a I translated. It's the part that's relevant:

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As if the Lord rises during a meeting of the human race the mouth of the Lord, the trumpet of truth and justice, shouts and says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Who is not weary, doesn’t have to hear; but who is weary hears:  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened” Who isn’t burdened doesn’t have to listen, but he who is burdened shall hear: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened”

Why?  “And I will give you rest” All who are weary and burdened seek refreshment and desire rest. And who is not weary in this world? Can someone tell me who is not weary of work or worries? The poor man is weary of his works, the rich of his worries. The poor man is weary because he wants to have what he does not have. The rich man is even wearier, fearing to lose what he haves, and wanting to increase what he does not have. Truly, everyone bears his own burden, the sins which press on your proud neck. And yet you try to lift yourself from under such a huge bulk; when the sins press on you your pride swells.

Therefore the Lord said… well, what? “I” he said “will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me” What, Lord, do we learn from You? We know that in the beginning You were the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; we know that all things are made by You, visible and invisible. What shall we learn from You? How to suspend the heaven? How to make firm the earth? How to pour out the sea? How to expand the sky?  How to fill all the elements with matching animals? How to order the ages? How to rotate the times? What shall we learn of You? Or do you want to teach us the things You have done on the earth. Do You want to teach us this? Thus, shall we learn from You how to cleanse the lepers, how to repel demons, how to chase fevers away, how to command the seas and the waves or how to raise the dead?

None of this all, He said. But say thus, what? “That I am gentle and humble in heart”. Be ashamed before God, o proud human. The Word of God, God, the Only-Begotten, the Most-high, said: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” From such a height He descended to humility, and man exalts himself? Get yourself together and redirect yourself, man, to the meek Christ, and don’t burst in your swelling [of arrogance].

Thus, learn humility and all will be light.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 06:42:43 PM by Cyrillic » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2012, 06:44:46 PM »

Thanks for translating. Really nice passage!
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« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2012, 07:05:57 PM »

Here's the first half of sermon 70a I translated. It's the part that's relevant:

Quote
As if the Lord rises during a meeting of the human race the mouth of the Lord, the trumpet of truth and justice, shouts and says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Who is not weary, doesn’t have to hear; but who is weary hears:  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened” Who isn’t burdened doesn’t have to listen, but he who is burdened shall hear: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened”

Why?  “And I will give you rest” All who are weary and burdened seek refreshment and desire rest. And who is not weary in this world? Can someone tell me who is not weary of work or worries? The poor man is weary of his works, the rich of his worries. The poor man is weary because he wants to have what he does not have. The rich man is even wearier, fearing to lose what he haves, and wanting to increase what he does not have. Truly, everyone bears his own burden, the sins which press on your proud neck. And yet you try to lift yourself from under such a huge bulk; when the sins press on you your pride swells.

Therefore the Lord said… well, what? “I” he said “will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me” What, Lord, do we learn from You? We know that in the beginning You were the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; we know that all things are made by You, visible and invisible. What shall we learn from You? How to suspend the heaven? How to make firm the earth? How to pour out the sea? How to expand the sky?  How to fill all the elements with matching animals? How to order the ages? How to rotate the times? What shall we learn of You? Or do you want to teach us the things You have done on the earth. Do You want to teach us this? Thus, shall we learn from You how to cleanse the lepers, how to repel demons, how to chase fevers away, how to command the seas and the waves or how to raise the dead?

None of this all, He said. But say thus, what? “That I am gentle and humble in heart”. Be ashamed before God, o proud human. The Word of God, God, the Only-Begotten, the Most-high, said: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” From such a height He descended to humility, and man exalts himself? Get yourself together and redirect yourself, man, to the meek Christ, and don’t burst in your swelling [of arrogance].

Thus, learn humility and all will be light.




But seriously, thanks for doing this.
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JamesR
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« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2012, 09:15:59 PM »

Once again my patron saves me from a dilemma Smiley Thank you
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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James, you have problemz.
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