What comes to your mind when you think of a yoke? The root word means to join together. It’s used metaphorically to join together or it may refer to a burden. A yoke is a heavy wooden beam that fits over the shoulders of two oxen.
We may lack peace and rest in our lives because we don’t know the secret of the easy yoke. People want the benefits of rest without making the corresponding changes in their lives. Everyone carries a yoke, the question is what type of yoke will you carry?
The good news is that you can experience His rest. You may ask, “How can I experience His rest in a busy and chaotic world?” You can experience His rest by learning the secret of the easy yoke. Jesus presents three imperatives that if you follow them, will enable you to experience His rest. The first imperative is you must come to Jesus,
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
Is coming to Jesus your first response or your last resort? I’ve heard people say, “We’ve tried everything we know what to do, I guess we’ll need to pray about it.” All of us experience times when we feel weary and burdened. What is your default response when you’re feeling overwhelmed?
Are you experiencing His rest? The word rest is not simply the cessation of activity but the idea of rejuvenation and refreshment. If you always keep the bow bent it will eventually break. Augustine teaches us, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” The next imperative that Jesus gives is to take His yoke,
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. (Matthew 11:29)
What type of yokes do we carry? Here is a representative sample:
Religious – At the Jerusalem Council Peter warned the disciples about the yoke of religion,
Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? (Acts 15:10)
People pleasing – We do what we don’t necessarily want to do because we want acceptance from others.
but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
Addictive behavior – We seem to commit the same sin over again and we can’t seem to be free, it feels like a yoke of bondage.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
What is His yoke? It’s a commitment to living life like Jesus. It’s bringing the totality of my life in line with Jesus. Finally, you must learn from Jesus,
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)
If you’re feeling stressed and lack margin in your life could it be that you’re not yoked to Jesus? G. K. Chesterton reminds us that, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” We want to do what is right, but at the same time we’re not willing to commit to the kind of life that will produce the action we know to be right. We intend what is right, but we avoid the life that would make it reality.
You have a choice – you can take the easy yoke of Jesus or you take the painful way of your own yoke. Remember that everyone carries a yoke, the question is what type of yoke will you carry?
Associate Pastor – Discipleship. The Church at LifePark
Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University
Follow me on twitter: rickhiggins5