The believer in Christ has so many blessings. And my unsaved friend Mike is helping me to “count my blessings.” I’ve been thinking about what I enjoy as a follower of Jesus. Sadly, my lost friends, although they enjoy much by way of God’s providential care (common grace), these are some blessings they don’t yet have.
There’s a rather strange one that I have and they don’t. I don’t believe my unsaved friends —
21. THEY DON’T HAVE THE BLESSING OF A BURDENED HEART!
I am not suggesting that my unsaved friends don’t weep at the death of a loved one, or agonize over poor life-choices that their children make, or that they aren’t concerned with the many faces of evil in our world. But I think those “burdens” are the result of being made in the image of God, not necessarily of being a new creation in Christ.
The classic passage on becoming a burden-bearer, I think, is Matthew 11 where the Lord Jesus says,
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
A burdened heart is actually a healthy heart, if the burden is of Christ. Prior to receiving Christ as our Savior, there is a weariness and a burdenness (new word!) that can only be remedied by the rest that He gives. If “I will give you rest” refers to salvation, then it is critical to see that the believer after conversion has work to do and learning to pursue.
A burdened heart looks out at the world and weeps. It looks at friends and family without Christ . . . and prays! It looks at itself and asks not that the burden be taken away but that it be increased, trusting God to work in His way. We read in Galatians 6 the following:
Please notice that this section is directed at “you who live by the Spirit.” It would easy for someone to say “I’m not really living by the Spirit, so I don’t have to seek to restore a brother or sister who is caught in sin!” No! We are supposed to be living by the Spirit so that we can help a fallen comrade!
Notice we are to “carry each other’s burdens” and by so doing we will “fulfill the law of Christ” (v. 2). But there is individual responsibility as well: “each one should carry their own load” (v. 5).
So, how do I pray for my unsaved friend? I show by my life that my heart is burdened for his salvation. And I pray that he will become burdened about his sin and trust the Savior. (to be continued)