Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. – Matthew 11:28-30
Before I came to have a close and personal relationship with my God, I always saw Christianity as just a religion. It was something that I viewed as rules and regulations, like having to do certain practices or behaviors. Though even then, I will admit, I just used Christianity as a title, “What do you believe?”, “Oh, I am a Christian,” though I never really acted like one. But then I got to know my God, I turned to him and went to him. And I realized, I was carrying a heavy yoke.
A yoke is a big, heavy wooden harness that is placed on oxen to make them pull heavy loads. The heavy yoke placed on my neck/shoulders was carrying even heavier burdens of self-reliance. I would hardly pray. When I did, it was during troubling times. I never opened my Bible to read it except for Sundays when I went to church. Even then, though, I never retained what was being spoken on. I never talked with my God. I figured I could do things on my own, not needing God. It got tiring. I was a mess. There was one time, at the beginning of my walk with God, I stumbled on the road of depression for a bit because of my self-reliant mindset. I know better now. I learned.
The other heavy yoke is the rules and regulations one may think is necessary to follow Christ. Often, these rules can end up being blown up way out of proportion. I see so many Christians’ arguing amongst themselves about drinking or cussing. The latest one is about bathing suits. “You aren’t allowed to wear that”, “If it is modest, I am fine, “You can’t have a drink”, “Did you hear so and so, they just cussed, and they call themselves a Christian”. I have heard and read these little comments (or things similar) very often. At times I am guilty of them myself, especially the cussing one (I am learning not to be so strung up about it). But focusing on the dos and don’ts of Christianity, especially when it is on such minuscule details as cussing or bathing suits, can become such a burden. When we focus so much on these things, we need rest from them. We need to drop these yokes, take up His yoke, and learn from him (Something that is a continual process). His yoke is easy and His burden light.
Have you noticed, though, that Jesus’ yoke is still a yoke, and His burden still a burden? His yoke and burden are the challenges and difficulties of following Him, of sharing Him, of shining His light through you. It is maybe even the effort of staying true to God. But it is so much lighter than the yokes of self-reliance and dead-end rules and regulations. Know why?
Jesus is carrying the yoke with you.
Jesus is the other, bigger, stronger ox walking beside you. We can rely on the help of the one beside us. We can learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart. Finally, with him beside us, we have rest.
Is there a burden you are carrying? Is there a heavy yoke around your neck? Maybe it is rules, regulations, or self-reliance? Maybe it is something I have not even mentioned on here. Drop those yokes at His feet. Tell Him you cannot do it, not on your own. Ask for His help, take up His yoke and allow Him to walk beside you. He wants to, He loves you. Participate in life with the Great Partner beside you.
If you need prayers, too, let me know. I will gladly lift you up to God!