"My burden is light" (Matt. 11:30). This is one of Jesus' more paradoxical statements. He makes it in the form of a promise. He doesn't promise that we wouldn't have any burdens but that His burden is light. How can that be? Isn't what defines something as a burden is that it is heavy?
It begs the question: What makes a burden heavy? In the physical realm—God's illustration of spiritual truth—what makes something heavy is gravity. The downward gravitational pull of the earth makes something heavy.
Imagine with me now that I am about to pick up a huge, heavy boulder. Can you see the scene? I struggle to pick it up and put it on my back. It's too heavy for me. It crushes me to the ground. I am paralyzed under its weight. Got it?
Reset the scene. I'm about to pick up exactly the same boulder. Nothing has changed about the burden. Except that this time when I pick it up, I'm on Mars. Since Mars has no gravity, the very same burden that paralyzed me on Earth is light as a feather on Mars.
The difference is not in the burden, but in the atmosphere in which we carry the burden. When we try to carry it in our flesh, it crushes us. When we carry it in the Spirit, it is light.
We may have to transfer out of flesh to the Spirit hundreds of times a day. But one day we'll get into the spiritual realm with that burden and stay there. The burden may not change immediately, but our reaction to it will. We can hold it up before the Lord instead of having it weigh us down and paralyze us.
Don't slip into guilt or condemnation here. The Lord is on your side. He is not scolding you. He is inviting you. Let Him show you how to transfer the burden. A Scripture He gives you to use? A phrase? A mental picture? Just ask Him. When I realize I'm burden-bearing in the flesh, I mentally say, "Only You." And that phrase calls me back.
Jennifer Kennedy Dean is an author, speaker, conference leader and executive director of the Praying Life Foundation. You may visit her online at prayinglife.org.
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