”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.”
– Matthew 11:28-30
This beautiful hymn, Blessed Assurance, brings up a very interesting paradox: those ingredients that bring meaning to life and that everybody secretly yearns after—truth, freedom, rest, love, peace, hope, and perfect delight—can only be found through submission to Jesus Christ. This radical truth goes against all the cultural assumptions ingrained within us since birth. The Spirit of the Age teaches that meaning and purpose of life is found in activity—freedom comes through the fist, rest comes through an expensive cruise, love is found in illicit sex, and hope in the future is an illusionary concept (so we better work hard and make do with what we have now). Submitting our lives to God feels like a passive activity; and the idea that “bending our knees” would eventually bring about unimaginable joy seems to contradict simple intuition. However, the truth is that submission, although it may seem like a passive activity, ironically requires more work than resisting God. Resisting comes naturally to us; submission does not.
Some years ago, there was a very popular Christian book called The Purpose Driven Life which had been on the best sellers list for quite a long time. What this told me was that, even in the Christian community, there was a longing for purpose and meaning to life; and for some reason, many Christians were not finding it. Here is a good tip: if you want to find the ultimate meaning and purpose to life, then the answer is found through the long and hard road of submission to Jesus Christ. That’s it! This path is not itself the answer to the meaning or purpose of life, but it will lead to it. Life will not always be rosy, but there can be a tremendous joy and peace in the journey as we learn day-by-day from the gentle Master who willingly took our place on the cross.
Personally, I must admit that when I first felt the call to submit my life to Jesus, there was a powerful resistance within my own heart. One reason is because I believed that submitting myself to Jesus entailed abandonment of all creativity and complete adherence to some weird cultural conformity (like those strange cult members who all dress and talk alike). But the surprise of submission is not the suppression of creativity but the release of it; not the shackles of blind conformity but the blossoming of true individuality. This realization was completely unexpected! Who would have ever thought that by releasing freedom, I would gain it? Who would have ever believed that perfect delight is not found in self-gratification, but in His-gratification?