“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 is light."
There is no doubt, that these verses are very personal to anyone who reads them. Recently, they have taken a deeper meaning to me.
Could it be that the Lord is not just asking us to take His yoke, but is asking us to “switch yokes”? The yoke that comes from the bondage of sin is a heavy yoke, a very, heavy yoke. And whether one is lost and yoked up with sin and the devil, or a Christian that a pitfall sin has found its way in (especially if it is a secret sin), the load is heavy!
We are all born into sin, meaning we are all born with a fallen nature. Only when we become born-again, do we go from darkness into the light. We go from “sin lordship” to “Jesus lordship.” When we go from the darkness into the light, we literally become new beings in Christ. Now, inside us, is the nature of Christ and the residence of the Holy Spirit. I remember, that before I became a Christian, I thought I would die if I became a believer, not being able to cuss, or in having to turn the other cheek. But an amazing thing happened when I gave my heart and life to the Lord, I no longer wanted to cuss or return evil for evil. A clean heart that exudes clean conversation, that glorifies the Lord, became my desire, and it is a privilege, to turn the other cheek. It is the least I can do for the One who not only took it on both cheeks, but His whole body for me.
The wonderful thing about being yoked with the Lord, is that He is strong and good-hearted. He wants to keep us from being overwhelmed. He is forever with us, to help us. When we were lost, we did not seek the Lord’s help, but faced our troubles with any other resources we could find. And the enemy (the devil and his host) were always there to help us fail, trip us up, feel miserable, etc. Any benefits the devil ever offers anyone, are short-lived and damaging. And just for the record, anyone who ever thinks the devil is their friend, is sadly mistaken. For every soul hurt and destroyed, to enemy, it is a strike against God.
The freedom we have, that comes from being forgiven, and staying that way, is the greatest relief and joy I believe anyone can ever have. When we fall into a habitual sin, or a pit resulting from a sin or trauma, we find ourselves being heavy laden again. Only when we take the Lord’s offer, on the way up and out, can we truly get “unyoked” from it, and back to where we belong, with the Lord leading the way. When we are yoked with Jesus Christ, it is a happy yoke, a yoke of relief. Real life is found in the purity of the relationship with our loving Lord. A dreadful life is found in rebellion to Him.
To “those who labor and are heavy laden,” the Lord offers “rest for our souls.” The Amplified Bible says, “all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened.” I looked up the words “labor and heavy laden” in the original language, and it seems to mean those who are fatigued and weary from carrying a heavy load. If a person has already given up self (sin) lordship to Jesus, they know well what this means. If not, a person really needs to get to the point where they realize the truth of this. Any yoke we share with anything or anyone besides the Lord, is not going to go well, even if it glitters like gold at first. Sooner or later, any other yoke besides the Lord, will fail us. Once we shuck that yoke and take the yoke the Lord offers, we begin true life! We find the “rest for our souls.” The meaning of “souls” ranges from heart, spirit, to mind. I think that without the Lord, we get weary mentally, spiritually and even physically, in looking for our own solutions and with the results we get ourselves into. But, with the Lord’s yoke, and Him leading us, we can rest in knowing that His love and goodness will always see us through.
The Lord says He is “gentle and lowly in heart” and to “learn from Him.” If the One who has it all and owns it all, is gentle and humble… how much more do we need to learn from Him. The Lord has given us His Word, sent us His Spirit and is closer to us than our own breath. He offers to teach us His ways and even help us to follow Him.
Does this mean we never get into trouble? Perhaps we struggle with forgiving someone in a horrible wrong-doing or struggle with our weaknesses, such as alcohol, drugs, other bad habits, sexual temptations, temper issues, etc. I guarantee you, that if you live long enough, you will be tempted in all areas that you might be weak in! But I also guarantee you, that the Lord makes a way for those who call upon Him and to resist temptation. If we seek His help, He is faithful to help us. He truly is a good, good Father. As long as we keep “getting back up,” we are not defeated! But we must not do it, in our own strength. We have to stay yoked with the Lord’s help and leadership. We have to listen and learn from Him, about how to overcome life’s issues.
The choice is to carry our burdens or take Him up on His offer. Praise the Lord, for the reward is rest for our souls! Praise the Lord, for we do not deserve His grace and goodness and yet He blesses us. Hallelujah, His call goes out to all, to “whosoever will,” just as His love does.