“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28–30, The Message)
The passage above is a favorite of mine. It gave me the visual image of learning how to walk with and learn from Jesus the “rhythms of grace.” When my Dad taught me how to ride a bicycle, I still remember the ease of learning how to gain momentum and then enjoy the ride. When I began learning to ride a horse, I would bounce hard and finish sore! The day came when I could feel the horse’s rhythm and muscle and just ride joyfully. There are rhythms of grace that you can learn to live freely and lightly as opposed to a severe and legalistic Christianity.
Almost 30 years ago, Dr. Milford Addison, told me you can learn to live fast on the outside if you learn to live slow on the inside. We often talked about those rhythms of grace. Over the years in my preaching, teaching, and writing I have endeavored to remind us of those rhythms from the gospels and the wisdom literature of the Bible.
There is deep and great joy in living for Christ. You can learn to live freely and lightly. Read this brief account of revival by Jonathan Edwards in his parish of North Hampton, Massachusetts in 1735, quoted by Martyn Lloyd Jones is his book Revival.
This work soon made a glorious alteration in the town. So that in the Spring and Summer following it seemed, that is to say the town, seemed to be full of the presence of God. It never was so full of love nor so full of joy and yet so full of distress as it was then. There were remarkable tokens of God’s presence in almost every house. It was a time of joy in families on account of salvation being brought to them. Parents rejoicing over their children as newborn, husbands over their wives and wives over their husbands. The doings of God were then seen in His sanctuary. God’s day was a delight and His tabernacles were amiable. Our public assemblies were then beautiful. The congregation was alive in God’s service. Everyone earnestly intent on the public worship. Every hearer eager to drink in the words of the minister as they came from his mouth. The assembly in general were from time to time in tears while the Word was preached. Some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbours.
Jonathan Edwards: Works, London 1840, Vol I, p. 348.
Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (1987). Revival(pp. 103–104). Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, portions of Esther and Daniel. For example, “The fear of the Lordis the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10, NASB)