From there they went by ship to Antioch where they had been given to the Lord for His work. The work of this trip was done. When they got there, they called the church together. They told them everything God had done for them. They told how God had opened the door for the people who were not Jews to have faith. They stayed there with the followers a long time. Some men came down from the country of Judea and started to teach the Christians. They said, “Unless you go through the religious act of becoming a Jew as Moses taught, you cannot be saved from the punishment of sin.” Paul and Barnabas argued with them. Then Paul and Barnabas and some other men were chosen to go up to Jerusalem. They were to talk to the missionaries and church leaders about this teaching. (Acts 14:26-15:2)
Jesus taught His disciples that God loves us so much He gave his only son to the world to save us. Whoever believes that will have eternal life. There’s nothing in that teaching (John 3:16) that says we must be baptized by water. be circumcised, do good works, or belong to a certain congregation. We are saved by belief because of God’s grace.
Yet throughout history, people make up rules concerning salvation. The first ones came from Judea. Men taught that circumcision and keeping the Ten Commandments were necessary for salvation in Jesus Christ. Was this false teaching a battle worth fighting? Paul and Barnabas thought it was because Psalm 55:22 tells us to cast our cares and anxieties at the feet of the Lord, and His measureless grace will strengthen us. He wants to remove burdens from our shoulders and set us free from distress. (Psalm 81) God doesn’t want us to be miserable, so any rule that causes unnecessary burden is a battle worth fighting.
To keep your burden light, follow the examples of Paul and Barnabas. When you do God’s work, pray, let Him open doors for you, and give Him your troubles. Guide those whom God has given you, especially the children in your life. When you’re finished with His work, go home, have fellowship, and rest. Don’t argue with people’s beliefs unless they’re trying to make salvation through Jesus difficult. Choose your battles carefully. Fight only for God’s love to prevail.
Heavenly Father, I praise you for taking my burdens so I can enjoy life and encourage and love others. Help me change to keep me from arguments that don’t lead others to You. I pray in Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.