The image of burden is taken from Jesus’ words at the end of the Gospel reading, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30 NRSV) and then applied to what Paul is talking about in Romans 7. I’m not saying Paul used the word “burden” but if there is anything more burdensome than living the life he describes, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15 NRSV) and “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do” (Romans 7:19 NRSV) I’m not sure what it might be. Paul is talking about the all too human experience of knowing what we should do, knowing what we want to do and then doing the opposite. I strongly suspect that this is the experience of every person.
The remedy for this is not making yet another resolution that we won’t be able to keep but rather it is to lay down the burden of doing what we don’t want to do and picking up the burden of doing what Jesus wants us to do. Make no mistake, you and I and everyone is carrying a burden but we can choose which one we want. We can continue to try, in our own strength, to make ourselves into what we want to be or we can fully embrace the reality of our relationship with God through Jesus empowered by the Holy Spirit and become what we were created to be. There isn’t a “no burden at all please” option so it is very much in our best interest to pick up the one that we can actually carry.
Knox Presbyterian Which burden do you want? (to download, right click and select “Save Link As . . .”)
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Which burden do you want? (to download, right click and select “Save Link As . . .”)