Read His Words Before Ours!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
The following words by John Mark Comer profoundly impacted me when I first heard them shared at a conference I attended in October.
God does not offer escape.
He offers equipment.
Prior to hearing those words from my balcony seat in the midst of thousands of people, I don’t think I realized how often I have prayed for His yoke to be a way of escape from the world, rather than the equipment He provides to make spiritual progress.
Stay with me and let this really sink in to your spirit for a moment: Our spiritual progress is produced by accessing and utilizing the equipment He gives in the midst of the world around us, rather than by avoiding it.
Suddenly, the thought of the yoke is no longer a way to survive scenarios on the way to our eternal destination, but a way for us to thrive in and through them.
So, how does that happen? We understand more when we dig in to a few key things.
First, what is the significance of being “yoked” anyway?
When I asked Jesus to be my personal Lord and remove my sins, I died to my old way of life and began a new one. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!”
Part of this newness is the Holy Spirit now dwelling within me. It is only through the help of the Holy Spirit that I live out this new life. I cannot imagine what this journey would be like without His guidance and empowerment.
It would absolutely be impossible!
He has the strength to bear the burdens of life, and since I am now yoked, or joined, to Him, He provides me the ability to obey and accomplish His good works in my life.
“I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
This “yoking” connection between me and the Spirit of God is far more efficient and successful when I am moving with Him rather than against Him. He spoke the universe into existence, so I am pretty sure that in a power struggle I will not come out on the winning end.
Okay, so what does it look like to move with Him?
How do I cooperate within the yoke? Welcome to Colossians 3: those boundary lines I mentioned a few moments ago.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
This refers to a mindset change; an intentional shift toward renewing my mind (Romans 12:2) because of the newness afforded me by the Holy Spirit.
As a Christian, I recognize that earth is not my permanent home. I know I will spend eternity in heaven and choosing to hold to a heavenly mindset provides me with an entirely new perspective on life. Hope is instilled within me, in the midst of the hardships, and an endurance to run the race is evident. Instead of looking at the world around me and seeking to see how it impacts me, I find myself looking at the world around me and seeking to see the Lord at work.
Where is He moving?
What is He doing?
How will He use this current frustration for His glory?
In order for this new mindset to be in place, Paul reminds us that the old mindsets need to go. Sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed… All are thought processes which lead to actions. Actions that draw us away from the Lord.
Yokes work best when we are moving in tandem rather than fighting to go down separate paths. Not only does working together help us with the movement, it also helps us avoid the pain of learning to follow the hard way.
Paul continues to expound on more heart responses that impede growth and inflict wounds in others if they are allowed to continue:
This list is a powerful one with actions that cause our “yoke” to strain as we push against it.
However, Paul’s list in Galatians 5:22-23 is even more powerful. “But the fruit of the Spirit is
When we move in tandem with the Holy Spirit, working within our yoke to Him,
this fruit blossoms.
He is the only One Who trades anger for joy and peace, malice for kindness, and so much more, when we choose to work with the yoke of the new life we’ve been gifted in Christ. It is through this movement of the Holy Spirit working within us that we can navigate this lifetime, not as escape artists holding out for heaven, but as co-laborers for the kingdom of heaven.
So suit up.
His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!