I try to pay attention when something is repeated at me several times throughout the day or in a short period of time. I recognize that generally, God is trying to get my attention. He knows me well enough (really better than I know myself) to know, that sometimes I need things repeated multiple times to recognize He is speaking to me. I always find it interesting in where those messages come from in general.
As I was getting ready for work, the fictional book I was listening to on Audible mentioned the the Murph Challenge. I was only halfway listening when I heard the description, something about a crazy workout in weighted vest or body armor in memory of a Navy Seal. I didn’t give it much thought as I completed the chapter of the book I was listening to that morning and I went about my day.
As I sat down for my lunchtime devotion, I was reading from the Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn, Day 304 The Power of Apoluo. The student shared the lesson of completing his daily activities with a backpack filled with stones. At the end of the day he was asked if he was ready to let it go, or if he wanted to keep going with it. It was a picture of how many choose to walk through life carrying things they were not meant to carry.
Later that same evening, I was reminded of an illustrated message I heard. I do not remember who preached the message, but they had a back pack filled with stones labeled with doubt, worry, unforgiveness, etc. It was then that I realized the reoccurring theme that I was seeing throughout the day.
That night I did an internet search of what I remembered from that morning to find the name of The Murph Challenge (assuming that it must be real). For those, like me, who are not familiar with The Murph Challenge, it was created in honor of a fallen Navy seal back in 2005. It is done worldwide, and now funds a scholarship. The challenge includes a one mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats and then another mile run. This is all completed in a 20 lb weighted vest or full body armor. Certainly not something that would interest me, although honoring fallen soldiers would be right up my ally.
While people do the Murph Challenge to honor a fallen soldier, I immediately thought, “we do not honor the Lord when we carry things that we are not called to carry.” My thoughts immediately went to the extra weight I am physically carrying. I know this is truth; one that I have felt convicted of recently to change. I know it is likely at the front of my mind as I just started a new journey in that area of my life. Yet, I felt like God was trying to show me something more than just the natural path that I am on. I was brought back to the scripture that I journaled with my lunch devotion: For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
I wrote about how I have been praying lately that The Church, myself, my family, and those in my sphere of influence would have a true revelation of the finished work of the cross. I go back to Isaiah 53 as I pray. I ask that we would release the sorrows, the grief, the worry, the transgressions, the iniquities, the sickness, the disease, the oppression, and the guilt that weighs us down. Sometimes God lays specific people and needs on my heart to stand in the gap as I pray this, other times it is for “us” in general. We are set free from those things that so often weigh people down. We were not meant to carry them, despite the lies we believe.
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 of sin. Romans 6:6 Like the student from my devotion, we have the choice to lay it down or to continue to carry the added weight. The enemy likes nothing more than to bring up our sin. But sin lost its power at the cross. Sin was done away with. Christ paid the price for our freedom. We make a choice to walk enslaved to our sin.
In addition to sin, the world tells us that we must do more, be more, and have more. We get weighed down with obligations that have little value, afraid to say no for a variety or reasons. We carry worries about needless things. We take on labels that bind us to sickness, oppression, and sorrows. We must learn to lay these things back down at the foot of the cross any time we chose to pick them up. Some days I walk in that truth, other times it is a minute by minute decision to remind myself of this truth and to apply it not only to my life but to those I influence.
I also pray regularly that we would see ourselves as God sees us. I pray that we would walk in the complete power of what was done at the cross. I love looking at Ephesians 1. Just a few of the things that are written about God’s children: blessed, holy, chosen, blameless, redeemed, forgiven, and redeemed because of the blood of Christ. That is the freedom that Christ as given us. We need a revelation of who we are in Christ to walk it out. I know that it is easy to see myself as God does when things are going good, but when your walking through the valley, the vision often needs some fine tuning. I know that is true of myself, and for those I influence.
As I thought about the extra things that we choose to carry, this scripture came to mind: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30 ESV We are not called to carry the extra weight that are in each of the examples that came to mind. We are called to work together with Christ, to be yoked to Him. We are strengthened through Him because He carries the weight.
For whatever reason I was also reminded of Elisha, when Elijah found him, he was ploughing the field with a team of twelve oxen. When you have more people, you have less weight to carry, the work is done more efficiently. God has called us to work together as a body, when we work together with Him and each other, the burden is lighter. We were not meant to carry the load alone. Galatians 6:2 say Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
When God gets my attention, He generally really gets my attention. Whether it is physical weight, emotional baggage, sin, or obligations, we are not meant to carry what does not belong to us. If Jesus paid the price for it, we can choose to leave it at the foot of the cross. It is okay to tell others no and not take on added responsibilities that God has not called us to. And when we are being weighed down by the cares of the world, it is important that we ask God to help us carry them, and that we seek the support of our community of believers, friends, and family. We do not honor God when we carry weight He has already taken from us. We honor Him in laying it down.