Is your heart weighed down?
Updated: Feb 8, 2022
34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Most of our dreams make no sense whatsoever. In fact, their lack of sense troubles us. Why don't I have shoes on? Why can't I run? Why am I at this job I worked at a lifetime ago, and why is the phone melting? We wake up in a panic and then breathe a sigh of relief.
Our hearts were weighed down with nonsense. Things that felt real and responded to all of our senses, but didn't quite fit the bill. We needed to wake up to a greater reality that wasn't apparent at the time, but that actually corresponded to who we are and what life is.
In this passage, Jesus covers the whole spectrum of ways we cope with the burdens of life. The irony is, as He points out, is that they actually add to the weight.
On one hand, there's dissipation and drunkenness - a carefree life of self-indulgence, partying, and squandering. It's like pretending the weight isn't there by numbing and distracting us from it entirely. On the other hand, we tend to hyperfocalize on the weight and cares of this life. The weight is too much, it's going to crush us, and the weight is all there is. Two ways we try to cope with a vaporous and burdensome life in a fallen world.
And it's not like Jesus isn't sympathetic. All throughout His ministry, He commends His hearers not to be anxious over the cares of this life (Mt. 6:25-34; 10:19; 13:22), to persevere through suffering (Mt. 5:11-12; Rev. 2:7), that life is toilsome (Jn. 16:33), and to rest in Him (Mt. 11:28-30). He's aware of the ways we cope and wants our hearts to be free from their slumberous weight.
We need to wake up to heavenly realities and not be lulled by earthly dreams, and the Lord is faithful to do it even if it means shaking you awake in terrifying confusion - and not because He's cruel. He wants us to be sober-minded people who live in reality. Genuine people who have categories for the weight of life that help them flourish in the faith. He doesn't leave us to increasingly drown in self-imposed burdens.
At the risk of being trite, we watch ourselves by watching for Him. The weight of life is lifted by waiting on Him. That's the Christian life. Waiting on the Lord while earthly dreams are dashed, that heavenly realities might sprout in their place.
Don't be in the business of trading dreams until you die, for the reality faced there will be worse than any nightmare earth has to offer. Wake up. Persevere. Hope in the Lord. Join the "children of the light, children of the day...let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation," (1 Thess. 5:5, 8).