Articles not_burdensome

Published on June 23rd, 2008 | by Alex and Brett Harris

His Commands Are Not Burdensome




Recent Comment: What I would like to know is your view of 1 John 5:3 which states: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” You say that following Christ is hard, but worth it, and yet here we read it isn’t hard. What is your response?

First, let’s read the next sentence. After John writes, “His commandments are not burdensome,” he follows-up on that statement by saying, “for (or because) everyone born of God overcomes the world.” In other words, God’s commands are not burdensome because we have Christ dwelling in us.

In my opinion 1 John 5:3-4 is confirming Luke 1:37, where the angel of the Lord tells Mary, “For nothing is impossible with God.” This doesn’t mean that God’s commands are not hard, it means that (with Christ) they are not impossible.

God’s commands definitely aren’t burdensome or oppressive like the legalistic code the Jews were living under at the time. They aren’t commanded as our means of eternal life — which is a huge burden lifted — but instead as a joyful expression of our love and appreciation for being saved.

1 John 5:3 says: “This is love for God: to obey his commands.” It does not say: “This is how we are saved: by obeying God’s commandments.”

I’m convinced that God’s commands can be hard — but not burdensome. They can be hard — but not oppressive. They can be hard — but we can joyfully do them through Christ. They can be hard — and God is glorified by the fact that it’s hard.

The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was in me.”

Here you see a beautiful paradox. Paul’s hard work didn’t get him any glory, and God’s grace didn’t make it easy. But both of them together brought Paul to the end of his life where he was able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

What do you think? Are God’s commands hard?











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About the Author

are the co-founders of TheRebelution.com and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.



  • Elizabeth

    I think many of God’s commands are hard. If they were easy, they wouldn’t be going against our flesh. There are many commands that push hard against our old nature. For example, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” And “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.”

    These are things that don’t come easily and take a lot of hard work and perseverance and God’s grace. However, the other side to it is that Jesus says “…My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” He gives us the supernatural strength that we need to follow and obey Him.

  • Andi Hyers

    Bravo! Your answer to this was wonderful. Yes, I believe that God’s commmands can be very hard sometimes but they are not burdensome to the believer. If Christianity was easy than I think I would we would have no need for Christ or grace. To the believe who is in love with God and truly seeking His will and desires, God’s commands will never be a burden. However, I believe that God’s commands become burdensome to the one who is not seeking to follow God’s will or who is desiring to fulfill their plan instead of God’s plan. Does this make any sense to you?

  • Chelsea

    I agree with Elizabeth’s comment above!

    I think Jesus’ personal callings for us can be hard. When Jesus asks us to go and be a missionary to Africa or anywhere out of our comfort zone.. that can be hard! But I believe that the prizes that we receive in Heaven can help us press on. Jesus Himself can help us press on for the prize set before us! He alone can give us the strength to persevere. So in a sense, yes, His commands and callings are hard. But He can truly, amazingly, help us through it!

  • Chelsea

    One last thought – I don’t think that His commands are burdensome! No, it is a joy to be a follower after Him!! Nothing compares to knowing Jesus!

  • Joel

    Muchas veces, uno como creyente, se cansa. A veces, hasta podemos tirar la toalla. En realidad, hay una paz cuando obedecemos los mandatos de Dios. Pero cuando estamos siendo probado, una siente que está siendo mortificado, al mismo tiempo que los guarda.

  • Sometimes following Christ is very hard…for the moment. But if you look at things as a whole, you’ll see how much easier it is to do things God’s way.

    Good post!

  • Bri Disher

    Great post!

    I believe that obeying God will always be hard but like you pointed out, it is not in a oppressive, burdening way. God’s will for our lives will always require diligence and perseverence but He will give us the strength to do it.

    “to this end I [Paul] labor, struggling with all his[Christ’s] energy which so powerfully works in me.” Col. 1:29

    We have, as Christians, Christ’s power IN us!!!

    Just remember, We can do ALL things (even hard things) through Christ who gives us strength!

    ~Bri

  • I will echo what was said above, yes, sometimes His commends are hard, but not burdensome. I think there is a difference. “Hard” is defined as “requiring a great deal of endurance or physical or mental effort”, where “burdensome” is defined as “a duty or misfortune that causes hardship, anxiety, or grief; a nuisance”. That clears a lot of things up for me. God’s commands are not a nuisance or misfortune, but they do require a lot of endurance and effort.

    Thanks for the great post. Great answer. :)

  • Hannah

    Love this post!

    I too agree, it is very hard to keep His commandments however it is not impossible to do. God will always be there to help you no matter what. And I think the dictionary meanings of the words also help with this discussion a lot (as stated by Kaysie – way to go).

  • Catherine Hayes

    God’s commands can be hard. As others have commented, if they they weren’t hard then it wouldn’t be going against our flesh. And if we weren’t going against our flesh we wouldn’t be obeying God’s commands. Our earthly desires (our flesh) tell us to do what we want to do, which is usually not what God wants us to do. God’s commands aren’t just hard for us, they were hard for Jesus too. It wasn’t easy for Him to give Himself up to be mocked, scorned, rejected by His Father for a time, and die a painful death in our places. His flesh didn’t want to face that kind of pain, but the God part of Him knew that it would ultimately be worth it.

    Of course, it’s easy to type all of this, but difficult to accept it and not complain about it. We have to persevere and keep fighting the good fight even when it’s hard. One verse that I try to remember when I’m having a hard time with something is 1 Corinthians 15:58, which says “Therefore my dear bretheren, stand firm, let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, for you know your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” God also says that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, but He will provide a way of escape. We don’t have to do hard things on our own; God will give us the strength to do them and He will be right there with us the whole time.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is this: God’s commands can be hard if we try to do them by ourselves, but they can become easier when God helps us. I hope this makes sense and is able to help someone.

    Catherine

  • Daniel Hayes

    Sometimes His commands are hard. If God made all His commands easy to follow, He probably wouldn’t even give them.
    Let sombrero-clad unicyclists greatly abound!

    The D-ster

  • Megan Liz

    I think it depends a lot on what your perspective is. On the face of it, it may look easy to do whatever you want and disobey God’s commands, but in the long run–is it ever truly easy when you’re cleaning up the mess? When we get to heaven, I don’t think any of us will complain about the heavy burdens laid on us during our life on earth. So I know this may not make a lot of sense, but sometimes the hardest things are the easiest. When you passionately love someone, even a hard thing done for or with them can become second-nature to you.

  • Anders S.

    God’s commands are certainly hard. He made them that way, so that we would not be able to complete His commands without reliance on Him. The Apostle Paul says that we need to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, don’t conform to the world, and to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. Only through much study and prayer are we then able to rely fully on God and can then complete the commands He has given us.
    Through this process though, we come to the realization that as we open ourselves more to God, we just want more of Him. It snowballs into this never ending whole in our lives that only God can fill. As we do as He commands, we come to the realization of the Joy that comes from obeying God, and we should want so much more of it.

  • Amber Lynn

    I think sometimes that people can make God’s commands burdensome. They do that by wanting to do other things. I know that is my struggle with most things I have a responsibility to do. But with God, we can do the things He commands and have joy that we did them.
    The commands will be hard sometimes, but oh so worth it to do God’s will.

    ~ Amber Lynn

  • Anders S.

    Oh. One more thing. In the original post it said “Paul’s hard work didn’t get him any glory”. I wouldn’t agree with this. Paul got tons of glory – Heavenly glory. Paul didn’t want earthly glory. He enjoyed the suffering he went through because through it he was glorifying God. We as Christians shouldn’t seek any glory or the thought of being comfortable as we go about doing as God commanded. We should plan on going through earthly pain and tribulation. But what does that matter? The opportunity that we should be called upon by God – the Creator of the entire universe – to glorify Him should be so overwhelming that we should think twice about it. It is the most amazing opportunity ever!

  • TC

    I like this quote from John Bunyan:

    Run, John, Run
    The law commands, but gives us neither feet nor hands.
    Far better news the gospel brings;
    It bids us fly, and gives us wings.

  • Laura

    I agree with Anders response completely. I couldn’t put it any other way.

    But I also think that WE make God’s commands hard. A life of following Jesus Christ would be so much simpler and easier if it weren’t for our own free will. God commands everyone to GO and be followers of Him but yet so many people are still standing where they were years ago just because WE don’t want to move.

    Yes, God’s commands are hard…but whoever said doing hard things isn’t what life’s all about…

  • Katie

    I think that God’s commands are hard but rewarding. Even if the reward is not immidiate, or even if it’s not in this life, we will receive crowns for it in heaven.

  • Anders S: I love what you shared in your first comment about how God’s commands are hard to make us rely on Him. =)

    Also, I agree with you that Paul was/is greatly rewarded in Heaven — but this is also a gift of God’s grace (i.e. “by the grace of God I am what I am…”). I still stand by my original statement that Paul’s hard work doesn’t earn him any glory — he admits as much himself. God does reward obedience, but I think we can both agree that all the glory still belongs to God, correct? :)

  • Well, that depends on your definition of “burden.” It would be helpful if I knew the literal translation, and I am going to have Dad give it to me when he gets home from work. If you give me an incredibly heavy object, and tell me to carry it 10 feet, and that I will get $100 for it, it is not a burden, it is a joy to carry that object. I think that God’s commandments are the same way. They are not burdensome, because we know that we will get rewarded for them (not implying that faith is obtained by works) in the end. I’ll probably post another comment when Dad gives me the literal translation. If not, then “burdensome” IS the literal translation. It is impossible to give an answer by analyzing the exact word, if it is not an accurate translation. It would also help to know what version of the Bible that commenter was using when they asked it.

  • Anonymous

    This is going to be way controversial, and I don’t mean it to be. But I think some of God’s commands can not only be hard, but also burdensome. For example, I have made the choice to not watch certain things on TV and in movies, and to not drink even though I am of age to do so, for varying reasons, of which I will not get into here, but all based on my personal interpretations of Scripture. These things have made me different from pretty much every Christian my age. I’m ok with other peoples’ choices but they’re not ok with mine and try to pressure me to conform to their lifestyle. I have always tried to find more like-minded people to develop friendships with rather than head butting with people, but it seems like-minded people really don’t exist anymore.

    So how is all of this a burden? Following Christ in so many ways means walking a path of isolation. At least, that’s how it’s been my entire life. The choice then becomes walk with Christ and be completely, 100% alone in life, only living for work and/or school, or compromise to have people to do life with. I don’t believe God called us to be alone or He would’ve left Adam in the garden alone, but there seems to be no feasible way to reconcile this situation, and thus, following Him becomes a burden. At least, that’s the way I see it. I’m sure my view is probably incorrect, but anyhow…

  • Brittany Cronin

    I agree—God’s commands are hard, but not burdensome. As Paul said in 1 Timothy chapter 1: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me…” The Christian life is not an easy life, as even a brief look at the life of the apostle Paul will attest, but it’s certainly not burdensome. It is a life lived out of love for the Savior, and in obedience to Him. And when you love someone dearly (as we should love our Savior and God) obedience is not a burden, but a joyful privilege.

  • I agree. Definitely, a Christian’s day to day life can become a “hard” thing. Our souls are constantly embattled with the desires of our flesh. Even Paul, in Romans 7, talks about the hardship of fleeing sin, of obeying God’s commands -it’s certainly not an easy thing, it’s the day to day struggle embodied in the sanctification process that won’t end until we reach heaven’s gates, but it is worthwhile, and most certainly never burdensome. :)

  • Brittany Cronin

    And the point of the Scripture I mentioned in my above comment is that Christ is the one who enables us to keep the commands of God (to live out the Christian life). The burden would be in trying to keep His commands on our own strength.

  • In all reality, they shouldn’t be! Our sinful desires lead us astray from the wonderful reward that awaits those who follow his commands. Because of the guarantee of God’s joy when we obey him and our clean conscience, they are not burdensome when we obey Him. The real burden is the consequences of our sinful deeds when we do not follow God’s commands.

    mpsnizzle

  • Bri Disher

    Anonymous,
    Wow, it sounds like you are really going through some big trials in your life right now. I know a little bit of what you are going through since I have different standards then my church does. Sometimes I get the feeling that a lot of people think I am “legalistic”, but I do have good friends and a family to help me.

    I will be praying and I am sure others will as well! :-)

    These are some verses that I have really found uplifting when I am going through hardships:

    James 1
    2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

    1 Peter
    6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    God uses EVERY trial in our life to make us more like Jesus. Praise God!!

    Stepping Heavenward,
    ~Bri

  • Lydia A-P

    In response to the Anonymous comment:
    First of all, we all sometimes have questions or views that may be unpopular, but that’s why we ask them and voice them so we can test them out!
    A burden is something that is either carried physically: cargo, freight, haul, load.
    Or something hard to bear physically or emotionally: affliction, cross, trial, tribulation
    Or a duty or responsibility that is a source of anxiety, worry, or hardship
    Or an act or course of action that is demanded of one, as by position, custom, law, or religion… according to my dictionary!

    So, there the definition sI will be working with, are the 2nd and 3rd ones as they are most relevant. Your desire not to wacth certain programmes and movies, because of personal convictions, is therefore should not be burdensome, as it is not a ‘duty’ but in fact an act of worship, and one that at least, should not, be a source of anxiety, worry or harship. Physically, it is not all that hard, and emotionally, it may be more difficult, but certainly, not when you have the grace of God sustaining you! The 4th definition does not really apply to this example!

    As Brittany and Jasmine have said, the Christian life is not easy, Paul complained about a thorn in his flesh, II Corinthians 12:7, yet, when we remember,v9, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness’, we see what God has provided.
    In fact, in Matthew 11:30, Jesus says ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light’!

  • I quite agree with you, Lydia, that all of the hard things we do are a direct result of our worship to God. I think that because of the love serious Christians hold toward their Maker, they will be okay with performing serious things. It doesn’t mean they’ll be easy – they’re hard, but even when they’re tough, even when they’re strenuous, even when it seems like we can’t make it, we find that if we take a step of faith and plunge ourselves into the task, the grace of God is there, carrying us. We find that it is God actually working in and through us that is getting the hard thing accomplished. Consequently, the worship in our hearts towards God overflows because of His power seen at work in us. We love Him all the more because we see Him performing – even if it is through us fearful, hesitative human beings.

    And that’s the beauty of the Christian walk. Many of the things God asks us to do are hard, (“If you love Me, keep my commandments”) most of the time because they go against the sinful desires of our flesh or because they are strikingly counter-cultural. Whatever the hard thing is, if you are a Christian, God has an abundant supply of grace ready to be poured out upon you if you just take a step and try. And all of the glory will go to Him – the Rock of the ages.

    Thanks for posting this, Alex and Brett!

  • Abbie

    So true! God gives us hard things which we must face – but they aren’t just meaningless chores. They are challenges meant to help us grow. They, and our reactions to them, are what shape our character. They make us who we are as Christians.

    I don’t agree that we walk in isolation – we are different, we might not have friends, but we aren’t alone. God is always there for us. “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” He tells us. We are given challenges by God, and through God we find the strength to endure them.

  • I love God and His son Jesus Christ, therefore I keep His commands. All of them, including the fourth that God says to “remember”. I do not find the Ten commandments at all burdensome , I believe they are binding, in that they let us know if we are falling short. Like Paul ,if there were no law then I wouldn’t know right from wrong.I could say much more, (I am on my work break).I love this web site and to see so many of us working for God’s glory is amazing, Thank you all, keep up the hard work.

  • DJ

    They can be if we’re not in Christ like u said but with Christ we can do ANYTHING!!

  • Anonymous

    Bri – Thank you for the verses and words of encouragement! :)

    Lydia – It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it, but feelings of isolation ARE emotional and emotions can affect the physical, especially if experienced over prolonged periods of time. I have been “different” since I was a young child, and am now into my late 20s. Therefore, this example perfectly fits your 2nd definition of burdensome. :)

    Living on your own and having to take yourself out to dinner, take yourself to a movie, take yourself to an amusement park, take yourself hiking, take yourself etc., etc., etc…Yes, God gives us strength, yes, we can choose to sit at home and read our Bibles instead of feeling sorry for ourselves…but it doesn’t disguise what’s there underneath it all, it merely masks it and covers it temporarily until the next time we want to do something and have no one to do it with but our Bible. The very idea that the Bible can be a substitute for a human companion seems absurd to me. I used to tell myself that too, but it doesn’t work in real life, and it’s not even what the Bible says: Genesis 2:18 – “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Also, the Bible says that we need others to help sharpen us and encourage us in our walk and help us stay on the straight and narrow path (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

    Unfortunately for me, this has been my life, not just a season. I hope for most people this isn’t their burden to carry. Anyhow, I’m merely expressing that yes, there are some ways that following Christ’s commandments for your life can be a burden.

  • Anonymous

    The 10 commandments, no, I don’t believe those are a burden. But actually living out everything you feel God has called you to do aside from those– yes, some of them are.

  • Anders S.

    To Anonymous,

    I’m very sorry you feel so alone in your walk. I’m sure you are going through some hard trials. I have certainly put up with some of those things having been at a secular school this past year all on my own away from any friends I have. But the one thing that really came to me is that I’m never really alone. God is always there right beside me. So even though you feel like you are alone, be reminded that God is there right beside you, leading you down the path He has laid out for you before you were even born.

  • Anders S.

    To Brett,

    Yes. Of course all glory still belongs to God. I moreso commenting on how Paul was/is glorified in heaven because he now gets to glorify God directly. (Should have put that in my original comment.) And I was also commenting on how Paul was uplifted even through his suffering because he knew that it was glorifying God.

  • Sheba

    Dear Brothers,

    I would like to pose a situation in which the commands of Christ do become a burden. In the case of a man and woman. No, I’m not about to cite some kind of heinous pattern of abuse, but just simple everyday ignoring of one another. Yes, these things are generally two sided. But, ultimately according to Ephesians love should be initiated by a man and maintained. What if that does not take place?
    Well, the woman is left vulnerable emotionally. I’m not talking about a season of business travel or brief marital discord, but of years and years of ignorance and refusal to take responsibility (on the part of the man). That is what has happened to my parents.
    My mom is now having an adulterous affair. My mother did not go looking for this someone else. It just happened. That is not the kind of welcome home from your semester of college gift, I wanted to receive. I was on the verge of stoning her when I first found out. And I wanted to stone her some more: physically, intellectually, spiritually, emotionally. But then I listened.
    My father has been her cross for years. By putting him aside, she has put down her cross (disobedience). But, at the same time my father is her neighbour as well as her husband. So when your neighbour ignores you incessantly, when they ought to pay you some mind, don’t you think that one ought to stand up for oneself? (for both of their sakes?!)
    Even in the midst of the separation, my father still refuses to take any significant responsibility for the situation.
    Is not my mother vindicated in some serious way?
    This is all very heretical sounding. And I confess that I am still not sold out on this very liberal theory.
    In favour of saving their marriage, I even went so far as learning the song that was played at their wedding, for their first dance. You know, to try and remind them of their commitment. That only got so far. But, today I came up with a new song:

    Here goes:

    I don’t want to hear about Kuyper.

    I don’t give a —- about a Schaeffer.

    The only Christianity I want to know about, is to see you love my mother.

    I don’t give a —- about Dooyerveerd, Willard can plant a willow tree.

    Only want to see you love my mother, cause your pride is destroying the hope in me.

    Well, Martin Luther can eat his robe, and I’m glad Katherine told him off the way he

    deserved.

    For what good is it to go around gloomy all day, one would think God is dead.

    Then Nietzsche would be right, and that’s not allowed.

    So let your Christianity, be your smile.

    (all rights reserved. copyright 2008 – eternity)

    PS. I know your eyebrows are raised right now. I actually do respect those writers, it’s just all about the mouth the quotations come from. And yes, there was meant to be some choice language, deliberately intended. Please do not try to evangelize me on the subject of pristine speech. I know there are many, many verses, I could quote you tons, (okay fine paraphrase, maybe that’s my problem.) Yes, I do own a thesaurus, just left it closed today.

    looking forward to your response.

    Yours in Christ,

    7sheba7

  • Sheba: My heart breaks for you and your family. I don’t have much time right now, but here are a few initial observations:

    1) The burden for your mother was your father’s neglect, not her faithfulness. Her obedience was right and good and beautiful in God’s sight. If she had persevered to the end she would have no regrets.

    2) Two wrongs don’t make a right. Her adultery doesn’t lift a burden. It is already an evident burden for her family and will have terrible consequences both in time and eternity.

    I have more to say, but I’d appreciate your feedback on these two points.

    Also, am I correct in thinking that the song is written to your father?

  • Personally, I think God is not going to require something of us that we can not do. He loves us too much to unfairly demand things we are not capable of. So no matter how hard it may seem, it is possible for us to do. And, not only is it possible, but he is willing to help! He is there with us step-by-step through all our difficulties.
    We serve an AWESOME God. :)

    ~Julia~

  • Nicole

    I was especially blessed by this as lately God has really been changing how I view doing hard things. When I initially heard the phrase, “Do Hard Things,” I didn’t feel like it was exactly what I needed to hear — I think that I took it somewhat as works-based righteousness. I saw hard things only as tasks — such as reading the Bible, exercising, doing chores, waking up early, setting aside money for a cause, etc. I questioned that doing these things could help me transition from the dutiful servant of God — who sees each hard thing as merely work unto bettering oneself and getting rewards — to become the loving Bride — who rejoices at the honor of serving Him and does all that she does from a heart of devotion that joyfully responds to His Love.

    You see, I was looking at it all wrong. Simply put; I was dreaming my own dreams, relying on my own strength, working for the glory of men. My eyes were not on God; my gaze was not fixed unhesitatingly and without distraction or compromise on the Face of my Beloved Master.

    I’m learning practically to apply what I often said and thought I already knew; that we don’t do hard things to become independent from God — to reach our own dreams, to rely on our own strength, or to accomplish the work set before us because other people will take notice at our diligence and sacrifice and success. We do hard things as a gift of grateful praise for His Gift to us, we do them as a celebration of His Resurrection and the sanctifying work He is working in us, we do them not as a slave repaying a debt but as a bride made one with her bridegroom in heart, in pursuit, and thus in action — we do hard things wholly dependent on and abiding in Him because we know that we are nothing without Him.

    This changes everything. The suffering I once saw as a burden and hinderance to my own plans and desires, I now see as an honor bestowed — I joy that He has counted me worthy to share in His Experiences and thus know His Feelings and His Fellowship in a new way. The tasks I once saw as merely tasks, I see instead as a delightful outward expression which thankfully reflects the way I feel inside — I am enthralled with all that He is and I only wish that I might have more outlet to express how I treasure Him in my heart. I boldly endeavor to pray that the only hard things I strive to do bring me that much closer to Him and change me into His likeness; I know I must forsake all else — I must forsake all that convinces me my strength is sufficient, that pulls my hand from His, that takes my eyes off His Face.

    The Laws God has commanded of us may seem a burden, or sound legalistic, if we look at them as merely a list of what we cannot do — if we look at them weighted by the world’s perspective. But, from experience, as He writes His Laws on our hearts as we surrender and seek Transformation and Freedom, it doesn’t remain that way — in fact, we begin to see it quite the opposite. It doesn’t become easy — there is are still blood, sweat, and tears required to take up our cross and follow after Him. We will be mocked, hated, persecuted, isolated from earthly companions, and emotionally and physically spent for His Cause. We will be led to fight temptation and corruption. We will be taught to work with perseverance. We will love and we will shine His Light. All of that is hard — and there’s no way around it if we truly choose to obey Him. But still, if we overcome this world’s perspective, by His Grace, and look at His Commandments correctly (as Paul did), we begin to see it not as a list to burden us with what we cannot do that binds us from getting what we want, but rather as a collection of gifted privileges He has made possible for us to do for Him that we might have what is best for us.

    Way too often, I consider the convictions I feel and I think, “Well, I can’t do this or I can’t do that,” and I’m frustrated that injustices are happening and disappointed that I feel helpless. But that’s just a waste of good conviction. Instead, I’m just now realizing, I need to take the next step (past pondering these “limitations”) and ask God, “What have You convicted me [i]to do[/i], then?” Because when I look at it that way; the “limits” disappear in light of the opportunity without limitations that God is offering me.

  • Courtney

    I’ve often wondered, especially now, why things are so hard, or why we are placed into hard situations. I loved this topic, it made me realize, that yes, God’s commandments are hard and they are supposed to be hard. For, if they were easy, it would require no effort on our part.

  • Hayley

    Well, just a couple of hours ago, God pulled me aside, sat me down, and reminded me how real and present He is, how He is all that matters, and how I should be living every moment with Him and the promise of heaven foremost in my mind. Then, afterwards, for a little while I got slightly stressed out wondering what I should do to begin living every moment for Him. It kind of seemed like it would cramp my fun a bit, but I felt called to do it because I really want to make Jesus happy. Then, an hour or two later, I stumbled across a book my mom bought for me called “Do Hard Things.” Then, I read the flap on the back and discovered this site. And then I read the topic for this blog.

    God has a plan for me.
    It’s so exciting to see Him move in my life like He did tonight.
    He is so totally and completely in control of everything, so, even if what He wants me to do sounds hard, He can give me the strength to do it. (And He will fulfill His purpose for me! Splendid! Psalm 138:8) Yes, I believe that many–if not most–of the tasks God gives us are hard (Jesus doesn’t want us to be softies. We’re the children of God for goodness’ sake.), but I believe that once we learn to love what God loves, once we learn to love God with all of ourselves, the feeling of burden willbe removed from many of these hard tasks. But, since we are imperfect humans, I don’t doubt that there will be times when we succumb to our selfish or lazy nature and we will feel burdened by what God asks us to do, unfortuantely. So, the best thing we can keep doing is praying and encouraging one another.
    I think this is an amazing site, and I’m so happy to have found it. Thank you all of you for striving to be who God has called us to be! I can’t wait to see how God moves through us!

  • Taylor

    Being a Christian oftentimes means doing the hard thing…ours is the task of taking the higher road and showing people how they should live, to glorify Christ. Some may consider this a burden and it is in fact our goal, but labeling it as burdensome seems somewhat negative…perhaps it’s just the connotation of the word. God’s commands may seem hard, but only because our flesh craves for the fallacies found in the world. Many times I’ve had to make a decision between what I want and what I know God wants and every time I’ve chosen my way over God’s I’ve been sorely disappointed. While we may not see it at the time, whether we think it is a burden or not, God’s way always proves to be the only way. Thankfully, Christ came to save us rather than give us the fate we truly deserved (John 3:17) and upon accepting Him as our Lord and Savior, He secures strength for us to overcome any obstacle. But at the same time, this does not make us immune to misfortune and the evils of this world. Becoming a Christian does not make you invincible, but it gives you the ability to call on the One who is.

    As Christians we have been given a mission, a divine purpose, and because I am Christ’s (1 Corinthians 6:20) I will gladly bear the load, He definitely went through so much more for me and each and every one of you.

  • Obviously, God’s commands are not always easy. i.e., it’s not easy to put others before yourself all the time! But whereas sin and violating God’s commandments lead to bondage, obedience leads to freedom and peace…which is a much easier burden to bear than the chains of sin!! And as we get into the habit of obeying God’s commandments, livng our lives according to Him in the little things, it becomes more of a joy and less of a burden. As children of God, we have the power to overcome and what blessed peace, joy, and encouragement we receive when we DO overcome our sins or other obstacles in life. So are God’s commands hard? Yes. Are they burdensome? No. How can I be burdened by the love of a God who was willing to give His Son’s life to save me from my sins? How can I be burdened by attempting to thank Him with how I live my life? It’s hard, I fail, I sometimes cry because it makes more sense or is more comfortable to sin rather than obey…but obedience results in freedom. And how many of you can define freedom in Christ as a burden we must bear?

  • Ryan

    If ever there was a more needed message it is that the Bible ought to be setting the standards for our development as teenagers, and as believers, instead of the myths of the world. The Rebelution is infused with this.

    As with all things in our Christian life, “in the beginning, God” emblazons everything, and sanctification is no different. But let’s be honest… our Christian sub-culture has a few myths of its own.

    According to Albert Mohler’s blogpost “The Scandal of Bible Illiteracy” 82 percent of Americans believe “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse, not a quote from British secularist Algernon Sidney. Those identified as born-again Christians did better—by one percent. This is in direct contrast with Romans 5:8 and Ephesians 2:1-10. As a result of this and other factors, in most sermons in evangelical churches the focus breaks down to 90% “Helpful/Successful Tips” and 10% “Jesus Did it For You” (if that much). But I think the reverse should be the standard. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13

    The result in our present gospel as a Church in America is a legalism couched in pragmatism. It’s just legalism with a better marketing plan—it sells better than the old kind, because it promises practical, worldly benefits. It promises results.

    I believe the answer to your question, Brett, “Are God’s commands hard?” requires a clarification: one of orientation… who are you asking? An unsaved individual or a Christian? And if a Christian, how far along are they in the sanctification process? (Hence my original comment venturing into that territory). For even Christians obedience is a challenge, but the question must become then—who is doing the work? If we do anything, aren’t we already responding to what God has done already? If it’s difficult, does that indicate we are doing it in the power of our own flesh? “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes the flesh his strength.” Jeremiah 17:5. That curse is apparent when modern Christians who live at total variance of what the Bible wonder why books like “UnChristian” fly off the shelves. God’s primary witness shouldn’t have to be people “naming the name of Christ” neglecting to “depart from iniquity.”

    So how do we obey? A question I don’t pretend to have the answer to… all I know is only one person has ever lived the Christian life, and that is Jesus. But people try to live like Him in the power of their own strength all the time. We can’t live up to Matthew 5-7, Romans 8, Colossian 3, Ephesians 5-6–without Him in us, “willing” AND “doing”, it’s impossible.

    What led to my question to begin with is a fear and concern that what was being proclaimed with “Do Hard Things” (while needed in my own life) seemed to, at SUBTLE points—let me emphasize—be more heavy handed in our activities and efforts at living this Life than in the way God works IN a believer’s life to ultimately THROUGH them. That doesn’t mean obedience isn’t hard, but like Spurgeon said: “O fruit of the Vine, thou canst have no fruit without the sap!”
    I love the fact you recognize this, and have articulated it. I can at least now find “Do Hard Things” to be far more reconcilable with these theological sticking points…

    I don’t want to change or taint the message of the Rebelution since it’s not mine to do so. But I appreciate the thoughtful response of all those above, and certainly those below mine here on this page, and even moreso hope that I have at least contributed in a small part to getting us all to think a little out of the box. Another good thing to read would be Boundlessline.com’s article “But What if Obeying God Isn’t Practical?” (http://www.boundlessline.org/2008/06/but-what-if-obe.html) since this topic touches that in many ways.

    It doesn’t depend on us. How amazing! Now if only that made more of a difference in my growth…

    Salutations to you all… -Ryan

    “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23

  • Ryan

    Sheba (June 23rd, 2008 at 4:59 pm):

    My goodness… may I interject? I want you to know that i am praying for you… while I want to honor my parents, I want to at least share that my mom also had an affair–with my dad’s younger brother. This broke up my parent’s marriage of twelve years ten years ago, and I have been the child of divorcees ever since.

    This sent my family in a tumultuous spiral of mom’s drug use, my baby sister’s (now apparent) alcoholism/dance with drunkenness, my father’s four failed, brief marriages since, and myself seeking solace in church—the Mormon Church, before Christ found me in 2000. My family is still unsaved, and they might as well have thrown a brick at me for their reaction to my conversion. In many ways my Christianity was a rebellion, and I was kicked out during high school to be taken into a Christian home while finishing high school.

    Yikes.

    How I can relate in many, MANY ways with your feelings of loss and bewilderment. Anger. Frustration. Parents can take out their bitterness towards their spouses and use children as cannon fodder in remarkably efficient and creative ways—and none of it is justifiable.

    Sheba, I don’t mean to patronize or sweep under the rug any of this. If I could write ten pages I would. What I want you to know is that my mom used the same explanation: dad was never around, she was lonely, and BOOM, “it just happened.” It never “just happens,” and I think you know that. My grandmother—my mother’s mother—also had an affair because her alcoholic husband was never around. Same explanation. I would ask you really ponder whether these justifications you are struggling with really jive with the accountability for one’s actions we all will have required of us in the coming judgment.

    Your exposition of Scripture is fair: with men as the head of the household, greater responsibility comes with greater authority. “To whom much is given, much is required.” Proving ourselves in little, like showing affection, communicating, taking out the trash, leaving post-it notes in the cupboards with sonnets on them (what I’m looking forward to doing if I have the opportunity), will ultimately lead to being proven in much: being able to present my wife and family at the Bema Seat as the fruits of Christ’s labor and work in me and them to perfect the image of Himself in broken clay pots. It will not be easy. To borrow a prhase—it will be “hard.” But with Him, nothing is impossible.

    Fact is though, if we gave women the excuse that “he didn’t pay attention to me or show me love” men can go right back and say “she didn’t submit!” Both are taught in Ephesians 5. It is arguably the man upon whom more responsibility lies, but the passage opens “submitting to one another in the fear of God.” (Eph. 5:21). Going back further we find the key to loving husbands, loving wives, loving children (ch. 6), good masters, obedient servants, and victorious soldiers in the spiritual war: the filling of the Spirit (5:18). We can’t do this without Him. If we aren’t “succeeding” (I use that term loosely) in this Christian life, it rally can go back to who we are depending on—our spouses to meet us halfway, or God to change us and forget about emotional baggage and sleights that go unresolved.

    Your search for a villain in this torn marriage and family though—and I speak from experience—needs to cease for your own good. Both your parents were wrong. All of us are… I am more wrong than my unsaved family, and more sinful. FACT is, if you find the “cause” of this affair, one of your family members will be it, and the Bible tells us “we do not war against flesh and blood, but against… spiritual hosts of wickedness.” Focus on fighting those guys, and Christ’s ultimate victory, and know that you have my prayers.

    -Ryan

  • I think God’s commands are very hard because He made us that way. With Satan trying to throw stumbling blocks in the way, and making us not want to obey God. If God had made every task he asked us to do easy, how would that test our faith?

  • Like many other wonderful writers as well as Brett and Harris has put it, God’s commands can be hard, but not burdensome to the Christian soul. I recently finished CJ Mahaney’s “Humility” and I cant help but remember Habakuk, the faithful prophet, ever during suffering.

    When we are most satisfied in God, He is most glorified is us. Hence, it is an immense joy to Do Hard Things for the Lord. :)

  • Rachel

    I agree with this post and I think that once we are saved there is nothing that can reverse that. But God gave us his commandments so that we remember our commitment and also so we know how to live. I’m a Messianic Jew and being a believer in the Jewish Messiah has made my Jewish and biblical practices that much more enjoyable. The word of God says that all the paths of His word are peace and I am so glad to have it. Yet it is hard sometimes to not just follow the world but God’s grace brings us all past that.

  • i think God’s commands are hard sometimes.wedont normally want todo the things that are hard

  • Bethany

    Revelation 12:17
    And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    They are not easy, yet, like was stated before, are not burdensome.

    1 John 5:3
    For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

  • Catherine

    Yes, I believe Christ’s commands are hard. Impossibly hard by human standards. No, they are not burdensome like the leagalistic religions of Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and countless others are, but I believe Christianity might be “harder” than those. For me, it would be easier to have a check-list of do’s and don’ts in order to get to heaven. Burdensome, yes, but for me also easier. It is far harder to change my heart, to purify my every thought, to try to conform to the image of Christ. Christianity is a faith and a lifestyle of holiness, not a religion. But while it might be the hardest, it is also the most rewarding, the most beautiful, and worth every ounce of sweat for knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. And it’s also the only True Way!

  • a’Lisa

    I agree with this post. Some of Gods commands may be difficut but everything is possible through him.
    I agree with Allison also in that we dont always want to do things that are hard or take time and patience. :)

    And Sheba i will be praying for you. I dont exactly know what you are going through. But i pray that with God’s help you will be able to get through this tough time.

    And Ryan i will pray for you and your family also that you will be able to bring your family together and that through you they will see the Light of God.
    God Bless :)

  • Catherine

    I’ve just finished reading most of the comments, and I want to add a few things. Sheba and Ryan; I am so sorry for you both. I cannot imagine the immense suffering you both have experienced/are experiencing. Both of your stories will remain close to my heart and I promise to pray for each of you.
    And Hayley, I’m so excited for you! I love those moments when you just know that Christ is working in your life. May you continue to seek His will with all your heart and fall more in love with Him each day. Welcome to the Rebelution!

  • As Catherine said above, Sheba and Ryan, my heart goes out to both of you. You will be in my prayers. May God be glorified in your lives.

  • BK

    CHRIST has fulfilled all of the commandments for us!

    He came “not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it”. This is Christ’s active obedience for us! We must understand that we are not under the burden of the law because has a jofully bore this burden for us.

    Christ obeyed the law in order to earn our merit required by the Father. Then He died on the Cross to pay the penalty that we deserve for breaking it! What an Amazing, Loving Saviour!!!

    This is Good News! There is grace, even now, for the believer, too.

    Our response is one of loving gratitude towards our Glorious King; to live holy lives to His Glory, alone.

  • Sharyn

    Ordinarily I would not leave a comment here like this but after numerous emails to both the email addresses on your site regarding my tickets not arriving for the Dallas conference and not having had a single reply I feel this is my only other option. I will be driving over 4 hours down from OK, and want to make sure that my guests and I can attend. Please feel free not to publish this comment but please do contact me. The cost has been deducted from my credit card and I would appreciate a reply. The email address is supplied. Thank You!

  • RAYMOND WATSON

    I first gotta go with what Jesus says, that His load is light, and that being yoked to Him means we will triumph in the end if we will endure with Him.

    Paul says, in so many words, that to be a slave for the Christ is the ultimate in freedom. I have grown to believe, like David, that I love God’s laws, love God’s statutes. I believe one only understands the truth of this when one matures in Christ Jesus. Up front, all the laws and statutes of God seem like the heaviest burden in the world, but they are a light burden, considering the alternative of being lost, piled up high with sin on your back, (read Pilgrim’s Progress), and separated forever from the Lord.

    Someone correct me if I have not spoken correctly !

  • RAYMOND WATSON

    I want to say that the video of Alex and Brett on that morning show was so great. What strong men for God you brothers are ! You actually give me hope in a world that seems to care only for unrighteous things. Rather, the Christ operating in you gives me that hope !

    Everyone pray with me that the Lord raise up more strong young Christian women and men like Brett and Alex in every area of our culture.

    We need their clarity, their example, their faith, their fearlessness, their faithfulness, all the good things they are. We need it in arts and letters and sports and academics and other stuff that is out there in the world where Christ’s influence can use a boost !

  • Christy W

    Doesn’t our definition of easy or hard, good or bad, all depend on the outcome we are seeking? Discipline without direction is drudgery.
    If we are looking for a care-free life then yes, I would say God’s commands are hard. If we want easy answers then yes, God’s commands are hard. If we are looking for recognition, acceptance, and encouragement from those around us, then yes, God’s commands can be very hard.
    If we are seeking to know GOD, to delight in HIM, to understand HIM, to be changed into HIS image, the no, His commands are not hard.
    I am reminded of Elizabeth Elliot’s book “These Strange Ashes” where she tells the story of her first difficult year as a missionary. At the end of the year she looked back on four huge losses and next to no apparent gain. Yet she says this:
    “Each separate experience of individual stripping we may learn to accept as a fragment of the suffering Christ bore when He took it all. “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” This grief, this sorrow, this total loss that empties my hands and breaks my heart, I may, if I will, accept, and by accepting it, I find in my hands something to offer. And so I give it back to Him, who in mysterious exchange gives Himself to me.”
    “And so it often is. Faith, prayer and obedience are our requirements. We are not offered in exchange immunity and exemption from the world’s woes. What we are offered has to do with another world altogether.”
    We are not of this world. Yet how quickly we become consumed with it and how painful we find the loss of its joys. If we would only turn our eyes to Jesus and look full in His wonderful face we would find a perspective altogether different from the one we know and, may I say, far superior because it is the perspective of the One who can see all of eternity in a single moment.
    Nothing I am asked to endure or give up can be counted a sacrifice if God Himself is what I receive in exchange.
    If He is not, then what is the point?

  • Brittany Cronin

    Sharyn, they don’t mail tickets to you–that’s why you haven’t gotten them:

    “All Rebelution events are ticket-less and operate on a first-come-first-serve basis in regards to seating. After registering online or through the mail your name will be added to our lists and we will sign you in on-location the morning of the event.”

    Information located at this link:
    http://www.therebelution.com/conference/faq_08.htm

  • Kaisha

    That was an awesome post. I’ve been thinking along the lines of DOING hard things, and God’s grace, and how the two mesh.

    I don’t feel worthy to give encouragement or advice to Sheba, just because I’ve never been through anything that hard before. But I do know this: that ALL things do work out for good for the child of God. I love you and will be praying for you.

    Your Sister-in-Christ

    Kaisha,

  • Cathy

    I don’t think the commands are hard because, like you pointed out, Christ living in us does the enabling and empowering when we are surrendered to Him. What I find difficult is the surrendering of my own desires and sense of justification (which must take place prior to the Holy Spirit’s working) that prevents Christ’s working in my life. For example, there is a person in my life that I have a hard time liking. He rubs me the wrong way with his teasing and is rather a know-it-all which I find trying. My desire is to persist in not liking this person because all my natural feelings tell me that they are justified. The commands of Christ, however, do not. They, in fact, tell me that I’m not merely to tolerate this person, I’m to love him and honor him above myself. In order for that to happen, I first must die to my natural impulses and my pride, and only when this happens will Christ have free rein to work out His obedience in me. It’s always a battle for me- but it’s always worth it. :)

  • I don’t have enough time to read all of the other comments, but I think it really depends on if we’re in the spirit or not. If we are walking by the spirit, Galatians 5 verse 16 say that if we are walking by the spirit we WILL NOT carry out the desires of the flesh. If we are in the spirit I think it will be easy for us, because it is the spirits desire.

  • Christine

    Yes God’s commands are hard but we are not doing it alone we have other Christians around us to help carry the load.

  • Sharyn

    Thanks guys for your prompt reply to my comment. Looking forward to the conference!

  • Laura

    God’s Kingdom is here, as Jesus has stated.

    We must understand that our members are to be used as instruments of righteousness to God. If we have died to our sinful body, and now have a new life with Christ we should act in such a way that sin does not have dominion over us.

    Romans 6 4-8
    “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life.. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”

    Jesus is alive! This means alot more than we can imagine! This means that He is sharing His resurrection with us! With the power of the resurrection we can obey God’s commands, but we must first die to our old self and live in newness, otherwise yes His commands are hard.

  • There is a song running through my mind as I read many of the comments. It’s one from D. C. Talk back in the 90’s…so, it’s a classic that takes me back a couple of years. I think the chorus is specifically pertinent.

    What if I stumble?
    What if I fall?
    What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
    Will the love continue
    when the walk becomes a crawl?
    What if I stumble?
    And What if I fall?

    Because we are going to stumble through the difficulty of things, I don’t believe it means it is a burden…it’s a challenge, like you said. Honestly, I think D.C. Talk only said “what if” due to rhythmic measure in the song but really meant, “when I stumble, when I fall, when I lose my step and make fools of us all…” because it’s inevitable. We will not always make the wisest decisions – but it’s through those times of struggle and hardship that we can rely on the Lord to help us back on our feet, walking and running once again.

  • Kaisha

    I forgot to say that my brother happened to turn on the local radio station, and heard you guys on the Lars Larson show! Great job!

  • Of course commands are hard,but for us as Christians all the blood,sweat and tears for His will, will be worth it in the end because we can say (as Paul) “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” and that makes it all worth it.

    Don’t y’all agree?

  • Monica Curtman

    I agree with the “of course” by Eric, so I’m going to use it. I also agree with everything else you said, Eric.
    It is wonderful to do somehting that someone that loves you very much to do, but of course some of God’s commandments are hard! If they weren’t, then we wouldn’t have a need to trust God or lean on Him. And doing the things that He commanded ud to do that are hard is one of the ways that we grow in Him.

    Also, some things are going to be hard. But the more you trust in God, the easier they get.

    Someone commented way up there that Heaven was a “prize.” I disagree. A prize is something won by your own accomplishments. The Bible tells us that we are not saved by our works. James 2:14-26 That’s probably trivial but anyways.

    Love you and God bless!!!

  • Heidi M.

    “I’m convinced that God’s commands can be hard — but not burdensome. They can be hard — but not oppressive. They can be hard — but we can joyfully do them through Christ. They can be hard — and God is glorified by the fact that it’s hard.”

    Matthew 11:28-30 is a great confirming verse on this subject. Jesus said, “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.” Jesus first assures us He’ll provide rest from our weariness and burdens, but in the next breath he urges us to do His work, because that is the condition by which we receive the rest He offers. Because, He concludes, His yoke, as opposed to any other, is easy, and the burden God would have us pull is light. So basically we give up our burdens to take on the Lord’s work, and as God has designed it there is rest amidst the labor and, strangely, the load given us can be peacefully borne. It is yet another awesome paradox of Scripture.

  • Rachel Meier

    I think that the commands Jesus left for us are hard. After all, at one point, (in Luke 14) Jesus sat down and told people that if they did this and this and this… they could NOT be His disciples.

    But being burdensome and being hard are two different things. According to dictionary.com, burdensome means “oppressively heavy; onerous,” while hard means, “difficult to deal with, manage, control, overcome, or understand.” I feel that the commands of Jesus can, and are, hard, but not burdensome.

    Thankfully, Paul tells us in Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” This verse helps me when I mess up, complaining about things that should be a joy to do, time and time again.

    A verse I found while reading the Bible today was in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

    I love the last part the most, and that’s really what being a Christian is all about. For when we admit to our Father that we are weak and cannot live without him, that’s when He comes in, and makes us strong.

  • Hey everyone,

    I am so glad we are talking about this! My family currently does not attend a church, simply because there aren’t any around us that believes in keeping all the commands. I believe that in these last days Christ is calling for us to go back to the Bible in all things. Rev. 12:17 “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” Notice OBEY God’s commandments, WOW! I am saved though grace because I was a sinner, but now dead to sin ,I am a new creature. This does not mean that since I am under grace I can continue to sin. No way! Jesus helps me to obey His Father’s will. Thank you all for the encouragement ! :) I don’t want to be legalistic, but I don’t see how obeying my Creator could be legalistic, afterall, He made the Ten Commandments to show were we fall short.I obey because I LOVE.

  • Holly Beth

    I know God’s commands are hard to keep and that sometimes they seem impossible to keep, but God said that he would never give us more than we can handle. But it wouldn’t be worth anything if we didn’t have to work towards a goal, living and striving to be like Christ.

  • God’s commands are definitely difficult; I have found this to be especially true with things that are hidden from sight, like pride. To anyone looking in, I am about as good as it gets. Sometimes my motives are not so pure. The fight is good, if it weren’t, we would be bored. That is why so many of us are interested in games that challenge us. We want a fight. Let’s fight the good fight and win so that when our time is come, we will have no shame in how we lived. What glory is there in being a Christian if we cannot or will not live in a way and witness in a way that tells others of our status as prince/princesses of the one true God? Stand firm my brothers and sisters! Thank you for this article Alex and Brett

  • Ethan

    I agree. When we face hard things we need to look to God for help. He is the one who eases our troubles. Our God is a loving God and never gives us impossible tasks. We may think they’re impossible, but if we have the mindset that God will help and support us then what can go wrong? For nothing is impossible with God. Sometimes i have trouble picturing this. But that is because our finite minds cannot fully grasp the impossible. God can work beyond the impossible. And if He can work miracles, how easy do you think helping us is for Him?

  • Hayden

    Hey guys-

    I guess it depends on your definition…if by difficult you mean physically straining, then yes, sometimes God’s commands are hard (algebra is a good example). But if you mean spiritual commands, that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. God’s given us his “helper” to aid us in our journey, so when we’re in need of aid, we have to turn to God for help. I agree with Ethan: God can work miracles, from raising dead man to lowering gas prices, so we need to rely on Him. Also there is the verse that says that he won’t give us more than we can take, so we don’t have anything to worry about. Even when it feels like we’ll never be able to pass our next history test, we must keep this in mind and trust in the fact that God is by our side.

    -Hayden

    P.S. I saw a thing about you and your book in World magazine the other day…it was cool to see how your ministry expands into even worldly institutions. Keep it up!

  • Sheba

    Brett: Thank you for your reply, (given June 23rd, 2008 at 5:17 p.m.).

    1)Correct, it was the neglect.

    2)Correct again, two wrongs do not make a right. Before I say anymore I would like a slight clarification on the “will have terrible consequences both in time and eternity”. Is that a guarantee? Or, might I, as one of the members of my household have a say?

    Yes, the song is written to my father.

  • Wow, what a great post, and everyone had some awesome thoughts to share about it! I confess that I haven’t read them all, but I just wanted to add my two cents into the mix. I did notice one comment by Heidi cross-referencing the 1 John passage to Matthew 28:11:28-30. I thought that was a great parallel! It is interesting that Christ says is burden is light. We don’t often think about a burden as being something light.

    Praying for you guys :)

    ~Nella Camille

  • S.K.

    I agree with the blog. Sometimes, the commands can be hard, but they’re not burdensome. Thankfully, there is a promise that says “nothing is impossible with God” and “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. Even though things might be hard at times, God is going to pull us through. And I can say that from experience.

  • Sheba: Just have a minute, but thanks for letting me clarify! I was only referring to the fact that sin has both short-term (earthly) consequences and long-term (eternal) consequences — but there is absolutely redemption and hope! :)

  • Max

    I don’t think that his commands are burdensome, but they are hard. It is hard not to covet things, for me a new guitar…. Thats why fighting sin is a ‘hard thing.’ It is hard, its not easy. Its something you need to be constantly battling.

  • Felicity

    God’s commands are only burdensome as long as we try to do them in our own strength. I find that when I surrender to God, things that were hard no longer are hard. The battle is in surrendering.

  • Ruth

    Sheba: I want you to know that I am praying for you. My heart broke when I read your original comment. My parents are also divorced and there are many struggles we are going through. I have no contact with my dad and despite the fact that my parents have been divorced for about three years, the pain still cuts very deep. I’m very sorry for what you are having to go through right now. I can relate and I just wanted you to know I’m praying for you.

  • Erica

    i think that is an awesome response. obeying God and what He commands of us has brought a whole new meaning to me in the last couple weeks. I just got back from a mission trip to Manti, Utah, where about 300 Christians gathered together to witness to the Mormon people. They were there to watch this big Mormon Pageant. What I learned about my own faith and walk with God was so worth it. The Mormon people do good works because they have to in order to be saved for eternity. We do it because we are thankful to God for saving us. When realizing that our “good works” are done out of thankfulness and love for God because he GAVE you the gift of eternal life by just believing in Him, it makes the whole concept of doing those “hard to do” commandments 10x easier and actually enjoyable. We obey because we love. We love because He first loved us. What an AMAZING concept.

  • Morgan

    I believe that His commands can be very hard and seem almost impossible at times but that’s why Jesus died to make the impossible possible, through Him and only Him can we uphold His commandments. Our weaknesses are made perfect in His strength. There is such an amazing freedom that follows when you begin to follow His words and grow stronger in Him. Suddenly you find yourself wondering what would you be without them and realize that the only way you can walk victorious and have a powerful life in Him is using His words to your full advantage. What an amazing thing God has blessed us with! Actual commands! we don’t have to wonder around aimlessly, we have God’s own words! and even when you think there is no possible way to get out of a bad situation and break His commands, it says in scripture that He will always make a way out for you. What an amazing comfort! I am so thankful for all the opportunities I have to worship the God that gave me these commands! THANKS JESUS!:)

  • Bethany

    I agree with Elizabeth (waaaay at the top), who said God’s commandments are hard because we’re pushing against our flesh. Putting ten percent of your paycheck in the offering plate or telling people at work that you’re a Christian aren’t hard things in themselves. It’s our desire for comfort and esteem that keep us from doing those things–It’s our fear that God won’t recognize our efforts and will leave us in the cold.

    Knowing how small our faith really is, though, God assures us throughout the Bible that doing His work will result in an even greater life. In Malachi 3:10, God tells the Israelites to tithe and says, “…And try Me now in this… if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

    In the end, though, the difference among burdensome, hard, and easy things isn’t the issue. God loves us, yes. And we’d like to live happy lives that are as smooth as possible. But I think in America, we sometimes get a little too caught up in what our being Christians means for us, rather than what it means for God. Colossians 1:16 says that all things were created by God and for God. It can be hard to reconcile with, but our ultimate mission in life is not to find emotional restoration or to fulfill the American Dream. We’re here to glorify God. If it isn’t a burden, great. But if it is, we still have to do the same things.

  • I’m grateful to the commenter who originally asked the question.

    Do I believe God’s commands are burdensome?

    Used to, I would have said, “no.” because I’m not supposed to disagree with the Bible. Inwardly though, I believed and acted on, “Yes, His commands are a burden.” Now, I have learned to be more honest about what I really believe is true and ask God to renew my mind until what I most deeply believe lines up with the Truth.

    I think we unanimously agree that God’s commands are not easy. But, are they burdensome?

    I was thinking of the analogy of a hike or a mountain climb. I love to hike, and I like to be stretched to go farther than I thought possible. I prefer a hike that isn’t easy; I thrill to try a harder one. Just because it is hard does not make it burdensome to me.

    I think I previously viewed God’s commands as more of a death march. I didn’t believe in my deepest heart that God approved of me, no matter how many commands I kept there was always a failure. I was taught to look more closely at my failures than at God’s ability and love. I believed that no matter how hard I tried, or how much faith I had, or how much I wanted to love God, He was going to stretch the hike out until I dropped by the side and then accuse me of failing. That is burdensome.

    I didn’t realize that I didn’t know God’s love. When I experienced His love, that is when His commands were no longer a burden. It is true that failure happens, but that is no longer my focus. Obedience is absolutely necessary, but I don’t focus on that either. God, Himself, has become my focus and I find that everything else really is added to me. His commands are not burdensome.

  • Kyle

    The question about God’s commands and the level of dificulty they present is a question that has been brought to my attention rather frequently in the past couple of weeks.

    Evangelist Bill Rice III, evangelist at the Bill Rice Ranch (a church camp in Murfreesboro, Tennesse), explains quite clearly that following God and what he commands isn’t a easy path to take. The question that should be asked of all Christians is where you’re looking to obey those commands.

    Are you looking to God for strength and guidance? Are you realizing that you can’t do his commands under your own mortal power? If not, you’re probably thinking “I’m okay. I can do this on my own. I don’t need anyone’s help in my life.” Its not a thought that you realize you’re having initially, but its there nonetheless. If you think you can live as a strong Christian on your own, you’re had. Thinking that you can obey God’s commands without His help is something that can be explained very easily. Its something called pride.

    In James 4:10, it says “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” What that verse is saying is that all Christians should know that they are not capable of living a life with God on their own. They need help from Him. If you don’t realize that, then you are acting proud, and earlier in James 4 it says that “God resisteth the proud” (James 4:6). We can’t have pride in our lives to be good Christians. We must have the humbleness to admit to God that we can’t do it on our own.

    So, God’s commands are hard, but if you know that you can’t do it on your own, and pray for God’s help to give you the strength to follow Him, the commands will be easier to do. With pride in your life you’re walking through life on your own. But with a humble heart you are walking with God, and he will never reject you.

  • mary

    I agree with Elizabeth as well..(way at the top) Gods commands are hard…If they weren’t they wouldn’t be going against are flesh. Also what Kyle said about having the humbleness to admit to God we can’t do it on are own, is so true. We can’t do it on are own…I mean we can’t pray “God help me love my enemies” and then wait for him to do…I mean sure we definetly need his help but we also have to take steps to work towards loving our enemies…We need God’s help, we need the humbleness to ask God for help, and for him to work in us..But we also need to take pratical steps in working towards what we asked him to help us with…So in answer to this, God’s commands are hards but for believers they shouldn’t be…If we have the humbleness to ask God for help and then take pratical steps ourselves…They should be easy…

  • Thank you guys for your accurate and balanced handling of the Scripture in response to this question. Well done!

  • I believe that God’s commands are VERY hard when you first become a Christian, because there is that constant battle between who you were and who you want to become. And by attempting this you can be knocked down and even knocked out a few times. But you ALWAYS have Jesus to come to for help. I think that once you have worked hard to live a righteous life, and have just made it a habit following his commands just become easy and everything in your life seems to fall into place!! Sorry if this doesn’t really make sense. I’m speaking as a Christian that really just now learned what it means to be loved by Jesus!! It is a wonderful thing! btw: i enjoyed reading the comments left here…it was nice to get everybody’s different perspective and opinion. May God’s never ending blessings be showered on you all. :)

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