We all live under an authority. We are all ruled by something.
So may I ask, who’s authority do you live under?
I’d imagine, if you are reading this, that you have some desire to follow Jesus (considering this is a Christian based blog.) So maybe, your first thought was “Oh I definitely live under the authority of Jesus.” And if I’m being honest with you, that would be my first thought too until recently when I got my soul quiet and asked God that question. Lord, who’s authority do I live under?
The truth is, I have had years of culture embedded into my heart and mind. And at times, I can still let cultural norms make my decisions for me. I can sway between living under King Jesus and “the culture king.” Thankfully, at different times in the last 6 years, the Holy Spirit has uprooted some facets of culture out of me. But let me tell ya, there are so many facets that still have roots in me, that I’m nowhere near the finish line.
But lately in my quiet time, God has been showing me that the particular cultural idea of “hustle hard” is deeply embedded in my heart and it’s time to take the the gardening spade and uproot it. How about you? Do you feel like a life without hustle, is no life at all?
I’ve been reading through Kings 1 and 2 and Chronicles 1 and 2. It’s amazing how often you read about the kings who put so much pressure on their people, while other kings let up on their people and lead them more lovingly. After each king, you are left feeling the oppression and pain on the ones they ruled over. Even the good kings left you longing for a more perfect king.
In 2 Chronicles 10, Rehoboam who is King Solomon’s son, takes over as king after Solomon passes away. And in deciding what kind of ruler he would be, he sought advice from a group of wise elders and a group of young friends. King Solomon, Rehoboam’s father, was the wisest king to ever live, but he still was imperfect and was known to have a “heavy hand” over his people. And even though he brought a lot of good, he was a hard master. When King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who counseled his father, they told him “if you are good to these people and do your best to please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.” 2 Chronicles 10:7. But when Rehoboam asked his young friends they told him to say to his people “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions.” 2 Chronicles 10:11. And just like that, King Rehoboam made his decision to be a very oppressive king.
Now while we no longer live under kings, we still live under heavy burdens. And most of the time, those are the burdens that are put on us by what culture says is “right and good.” Especially as moms and women, am I right? We should grow gardens, make 5 course meals, workout, be beautiful, be great moms and wives, keep a perfect house, all while going to work every day. We really did ourselves a disservice the day we started singing songs like Frank and Annie “I can do anything you can do better, anything you can do I can do too!’
But that’s what culture does. It shapes our way of thinking, makes us prideful, selfish and eventually…. foolish.
I couldn’t help but read King Rehoboam’s words, “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier!” and not call to mind how opposite Jesus’ words were. “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
It made me realize, I have a choice. I can either live under King Jesus or the “kings” of this world. Living under culture is heavy. But living under Jesus looks like freedom! Jesus doesn’t put pressure on His people. He wants us to simply love Him and love others. We don’t hustle our way to heaven, it’s given freely to us by grace! He doesn’t tell us we have to look a certain way, or make a certain amount of money or be at the top. His way is not oppressive, it’s the exact opposite. For too long, I’ve been living under the pressure of kings that have no real authority over me. I don’t want to sway between King Jesus and king culture. King Jesus’ way is so much better.
Some Ways that Lead to Change
How about you? If you’re with me, I have a few ideas that I think could help us.
- Who we follow is our leader. Let’s take an inventory of our social media. If we want to break free from the pressures of culture, we can’t immerse ourselves in it. We may have to unfriend some of our favorite influencers and pop culture icons. Their lives portray that they have it all and yet we often find their souls are completely empty. And keep in mind that who we follow will eventually lead us in our thoughts, lives, behaviors and decisions.
- Media/Entertainment- Hollywood has a way of capturing our attention but it also has a way of making us feel like we will never measure up. We have to be careful not to tune into the false reality that comes out of the shows that could entertain us one minute but the next minute it is making us believe we have to work harder, be skinnier and dress immodestly to measure up.
- Immerse Yourself in the True King– Last but certainly not least, we must immerse ourselves in what is true, good, and praiseworthy- Jesus. Follow Him. Start your day with Him, end your day with Him, eat your lunch with Him and talk to Him at each break. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. Romans 12:2. The only way we can transform our minds is by renewing them constantly. Speak God’s word to yourself. Pray. Read the Word, Bible Studies, and books that all point to Jesus. This will change us from the inside out.
Recently, I’ve been loving to follow and listen to Ruth Chou Simons. She embodies this message of resting in God and cease all the striving in her new book below.
Praying for each one of us as we unclench our tight fists and release the outcomes to God.