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November 29, 2017, 6:52 AM

Take Up His Yoke

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden in light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Jesus invites us to come to him and experience rest. He also tells us how He proposes to impart this precious gift. He offers an exchange of yokes. Investigation into Eastern methods of plowing helps us to understand what Jesus meant by the yoke. Mosaic law forbade an old and a young ox to be hitched together in an ordinary yoke. This was because the young animal could not pull his part of the burden.

The phrase “unequally yoked” comes from this. A training yoke was required by law. The heavy end of the yoke was the burden of the stronger, older beast. The experienced ox kept the furrow straight and, under the reins of the plowman, moved forward. All the younger beast had to do was to keep parallel with the stronger animal; if it pulled away, ahead or behind, its neck would be rubbed raw in the yoke. The trainee had to give up the right to lead in order to keep pace with the trainer. The lead ox must take the lead and the responsibility for the burden. Now it begins to dawn on us what Christ meant when He offered us his yoke as a source of freedom… and patience.

Christ carries the heavy end of the yoke. He pulls the burden for us. We must give up our wills to Him. Patience is developed in the school of Christ. We are yoked with Him to discover how to live with His guidance, strategy, and timing. Impatience involves running ahead, pulling off in our own direction, or stomping our feet in petulant pouting. Patience is developed through keeping a parallel pace with the Master. The cadence of His perfect will in our lives sets the rhythm for a life of peace.

We all know what it is like to be rubbed raw by our own impatience. We have all tried to accomplish our goals with only our own strength; and equally defeating, we have tried to do His work in our strength. It will not work. We become impatient when we want to do what we want, when we want it, and with whom we want it. Who has not bashed down a closed door while an open door stood nearby, with the Master inviting us to follow him inside?

To be in a training yoke with Christ means several magnificent gifts are offered to us. (1.) He carries the burden! (2.) We can give up responsibility of running the universe. (3.) We can learn to be “gentle and lowly in heart.” And, (4.) we can experience rest for our souls. Won’t you take up His yoke today?

Let us join in prayer: Lord, I am yours; I do yield myself up entirely to you, and I believe that you do take me. I leave myself with you. Work in me all the good pleasure of your will, and I will only lie still in your hands and trust you. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

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