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JESUS Took My Burdens
by Michael Chu
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WHEN I was still a child attending Sunday School at the basement of a wooden church office set upon a hill, one of our favourite song goes like this:

Jesus took my burdens and He rolled them in the sea
Rolled them in the sea (2x)
Jesus took my burdens and He rolled them in the sea
Never to remember anymore

Now I am happy, happy as can be
Happy as can be (2x)
Now I am happy, happy as can be
Happy in the LORD forevermore

It was a fun and easy song to sing, what with its upbeat and catchy melody. Everybody can sing it by heart after only a few attempts. And, you can sing it again and again, without feeling dreary.

On reflection, that is how we could live our life -- light-heartedly and with a spring to our steps as happy children; without fear and worries. Many a times the seemingly complex theology of Christendom is best summed up in the simplicity of many a Sunday School song of my era. (Nowadays, however, worshippers in dynamic Children’s Church are singing contemporary and relatively sophisticated songs, including those sung by adults.)

Regardless of our preference, our purpose is one and the same, that is, we seek to honour and glorify the LORD our God through our praise and worship. What is important is that the song will draw us to the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all who are perishing and, ultimately, to Christ Himself – our LORD and Redeemer.

Going back to the song, JESUS Took My Burdens, let us ask ourselves: “Are we happy?” “Can we be happy?” In David’s Psalm 144 -- a song to the LORD who preserves and prospers His people, he declares by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in verse 15b, “Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!”. Happiness may depend on happenings but, much more than this, a Christian is filled with joy which comes from the LORD by the Holy Spirit. This brings me to another Sunday School song, namely, “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength”, which may draw the irks of well-meaning contemporary worshippers. No matter, we sing our song to the audience of One, God Himself.

The reason why a Christian is unhappy may be due to the burden of sins. For this he needs to repent, knowing that: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:19). Rest assuredly, God will “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19b).

Yet, there are Christians who think of themselves more highly than God. Somehow they can believe God has forgiven them but they refuse to forgive themselves and press on, forgetting those things which are behind. The best remedy for this malady is to admit that we are stinking sinners who cannot undo what we have done and face the fact that we have sinned rather than go on a denial mode with: “How could I have done such a thing?” Yes, good ol’ you and I ain’t so great after all. It’s time to get off our high horse, prick the balloon of pride, and treat ourselves with a tad of self-forgiveness and sober up to live life forward with a repentant heart.

Besides sins, worries will potentially rob us of our happiness , but not the joy of the LORD. For sure, our worries will not change our circumstances. (Don’t we all need to get this into our head?) Rather, we can will ourselves to give thanks in every circumstances with Christ in the vessel of our life, and cast all our cares upon Him in prayer with faith. The key is to clothe ourselves with humility and learn the way of Christ. Jesus has entreated us: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28 ~ 30).

Then, there is the burden of fear. Fear is a spirit which we can cast out of our lives. The way to do this is with the love of God (agape). “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). We can walk in love because “.. the love of God has been poured in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5b). For too long, we, Christians, are still living as orphans even though the Holy Spirit has been sent to be with us. Sometimes, we are also not mindful of the Holy Spirit who is alongside us to be our Helper, and we revert to living life in our own strength. The Sunday School song, Give Me Oil In My Lamp (keep me burning, burning), is a poignant reminder of our need for the Holy Spirit daily, as we take up our cross to follow Christ.

Everyday, as we keep loving God wholeheartedly, keep loving people fervently, and keep realising that JESUS loves us forever, we will learn to work with the Holy Spirit upon the realisation that IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS; it’s all about God excelling forth through the life He has given us. When God is so big in us, there is no room for fear or the devil to have any foothold. We will be a giant-slayer like David, conquer the mountain of difficulties, crossover the river to our promised land, and overcome the world.

Poor relationship with other people can really be burdensome. If we take heed of God’s word to forgive those who have sinned against us even as He has forgiven us, we would have gotten rid of a major scourge to poor relationship: unforgiveness. As we begin to see people through the eyes of Jesus (with acceptance, understanding, interest, patience and compassion -- in short, with agape-love), our relationship with people will take on a whole new dimension. But, it’s not going to change overnight. We need to practise, and keep practising. It’s up to us to change the atmosphere of our relationship with people and build on it. This reminds me of yet another Sunday School song – My Beloved Is Mine and I am His, And His banner over me is Love. (This to me is a great song because it speaks of Jesus, the Bridegroom of the church, and love (agape) as the hallmark of a Christian.)

So, as we have seen, living the Christian life can be really exciting and enjoyable if we know how. Let’s keep learning from the word of God and fellow Christians. “This is the Day that the Lord has made”, “Rejoice in the Lord Always, And again I say ‘rejoice’”, “He is my everything, He is my all”, ….oh, I could go on and on. You are getting the drift of God’s profundity distilled in the simplicity of Sunday School songs, aren’t you?

(All Scripture quotations are taken from:
- the Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982, by Thomas Nelson, Inc.)

© Copyright 2006, by Michael S K Chu.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Thomas Kittrell 15 Oct 2006
Michael, this is really an outstanding article you have penned. It is well written and full of wisdom. May God richly bless you.
Julie Michaelson 15 Oct 2006
Thank you for this message! I'm a new believer, and am still struggling to know Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Keep writing! God Bless!


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