A lot of teachers will have you believe that the Christian path is difficult. Nothing can be further from the truth. When you become a Christian, you do it by faith and not by works. It is this simple act of trust that will transform your life, and not your onerous self-efforts. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
In your Christian life, you will face trials and tribulations, but it will be easy to overcome them as you put your faith in Christ and His saving power. He promises in Romans 8 that we will be “more than conquerers” through Christ who loved us.
The world’s way to righteousness is hard, because it is dependent on our own self-effort. The Christian way is easy because it is dependent on what Christ has done for us, rather than what we have done for Christ. Jesus calls us to forsake the world’s difficult ways and take on his easy burden:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
It can be tempting to reject Jesus’ light burden because it seems to easy – it seems too good to be true. Sometimes God’s way seems so easy it offends us. That was what happened to Naaman.
Naaman was a mighty soldier in the army of the king of Aram. He had won many battles but had one war which he couldn’t fight, the fight he had with leprosy. He heard from one of his servants that Elisha, the prophet of Israel, could heal him of the dreaded disease. So he went down to Israel with a big load of riches and asked Elisha to heal him:
Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
Sometimes, we are tempted to be like Naaman. He thought that having a dip in the Jordan was too easy. We shouldn’t make the same mistake as him and reject the easiness of the gospel – salvation by faith and not by works.
Jesus tells us to have faith in Him and that faith will be enough to cleanse us of our sins, help us to move mountains and achieve the impossible. But in our human thinking, we believe that the answer to our problems must be more difficult, more complicated. And so we reject His easy path and go our own way, which leads us into difficulties.
But God wants us to take the easy path – the path of dependence on Him, resting and waiting on His power to save us. In Numbers, when the Israelites sinned, God commanded Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole. When the Israelites looked at the snake, they were healed. In the same way, in John, Jesus said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.” For sinners to receive eternal life, all they have to do is to simply look at Jesus – it’s as easy as that. Salvation is simple, don’t let your need to do good works complicate God’s method of saving!