Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September 15 – God’s yoke + burden

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.  (Matthew 11:28-30  NET)

What an interesting promise.  Jesus calls the weary and burdened, promising them rest, and then asks them to place His yoke on their necks and shoulder His burden!  Isn’t that a contradiction?  How can people experience rest when someone places a new load on their shoulders, fastens a new yoke around their necks?  You would think that rest meant no yoke and no burden, but in God’s world things are reversed.  God’s yoke is easy and His load is not hard.  In fact all weariness and burdens in life come when we try to avoid God’s yoke and burden.  The more we try to experience freedom and happiness by ourselves, without God, the more oppressed and unhappy we become.

A perfect example of this is discipline in the home.  All children are hungry for discipline and boundaries.  When there is no discipline in the home, no clear rules and strict, loving enforcement of those rules, children feel insecure and unloved.  Somehow their small, underdeveloped brains reason that if their parents really loved and cared for them, they would lay down the law and punish them for breaking it.  It seems contradictory because children complain about rules and discipline, but the results prove otherwise.  Children thrive when they are given “yokes” and “loads” by loving, strict parents; that is when they feel truly loved and cared for.

Not only do non-Christians and unbelievers get this wrong, many churchgoers and self-professing strong Christians also get this wrong.  The world teaches that complete freedom from any and all restrictions makes us free, that restrictions block happiness, that satisfying pleasures brings true joy and satisfaction — but it’s all a lie.  True freedom, strength and happiness come from surrendering our wills to God.  True blessings and wisdom beyond our years come when we fear God and are careful to follow His commands.  When we shoulder God’s load and yoke, all of a sudden, problems that have constantly haunted us all through our lives are no longer a problem.  On the other side of God’s yoke and burden is a life of happiness and strength that we’ve never experienced.

If you are weary and burdened, ask yourself how serious you have been with God.  Sure, we all experience problems and hardships in life, but when we’re walking with God, trusting in Him and using our faith, every problem turns into something that is easy to bear and easy to carry.

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