The Yoke

Matthew 11:29 – 30

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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation; partnership, business arrangement, relationship, that seemed like a lot of work? Where you were constantly striving for approval or acceptance?

In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees placed a heavy yoke/burden of legalism, oppressive law and harsh judgement on the people, a standard that even they didn’t meet. Not much has changed. There are many in the contemporary North American church who hold themselves as the standard bearer and set the hoops through which others “must” jump in order to be good enough.

This verse in Matthew offers us something different. Jesus tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. How could this be, when He is perfect? If we can’t live up to the human standards set before us, how could we possibly be good enough for the Lord?

The answer, although right before us, might surprise you. Read the first part of the passage again…

for I am gentle and humble in heart,

and you will find rest for your souls”.

When you are struggling with measuring up to someone else’s expectations, stop and ask yourself what God’s expection is of you. Are you following Him? Obeying Him? Honouring Him? Worshipping Him? Jesus calls us to live for Him, period. Clothes, kids, cars, spouses, friends, jobs, that all comes after our relationship with Him.

Isaiah 66:2

This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

God wants our hearts. He doesn’t call us to fit in or to be stressed about who likes us or approves of us.

Psalm 25:9

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.

Relationships can be hard – that’s sad. They are often hardest where there is the greatest amount of pride – that’s sadder. They can be mistaken for what is most important in our lives – that’s the saddest.

The Lord Jesus Christ wants to give us rest for our souls. He is not a God of chaos or confusion. Scriptures tell us that the fruit of being in His Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. He promises that all who seek Him will find Him. He tells us that if we yoke (partner) with Him, He will teach us. He is gentle. He gives rest.

The next time you find yourself striving to meet the expectations of someone who is draining the joy from your life by yoking you to their burdens of insecurity, anger, lack of faith, self-righteousness or whatever else might be plaguing them, remember that the Lord has offered you His yoke. Find your rest in Him and believe with all of your heart that He is enough.


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