One of the most important yet misunderstood scriptures spoken by Christ is Matthew 11:27-30. He says simply, “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.” The Message Bible says of the same verses, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely.” This seems to be an invitation easily accepted, but what else is in this? In the verse just before these, Christ tells us that everything has been delivered to Him by the Father, and that no one knows the Son but the Father, and no one intimately knows the Father but the Son. But He can unveil the Father to anyone He chooses. (New Passion Translation)
We’ve gone from hearing an invitation to be not just yoked to Jesus, but coming into a knowledge of the Father as Jesus knows Him. This requires a conscious act of our will to submit ourselves to Him 100%. This involves giving up the right to ourselves. It does not happen overnight, but the more you give to Him, the better you hear Him and start to share in the beat of His heart. The Lord’s way of looking at things we see going on in the world right now will start to be your vision. You will feel a strengthening in how you can stand in the midst of adversity. You can speak and think His precepts even when those around you seem diametrically opposed to what you now know to be bathed in truth. But it’s a journey.
When an ox is first placed in a yoke, he is usually teamed with a mature ox that has been doing this work for awhile. He learns and feels more comfortable than starting off into this new walk alone. It’s scriptural. Even Paul was initially teamed with Barnabas. (see Acts 9 and 13). Often, sharp sticks called goads are used to keep the oxen in line. The Lord also told Paul that it was hard to kick against the goads. It can hurt. It gets your attention. You cannot walk contrary to the way of one yoked to God and be in harmony with Him. We so often want to walk after what we believe He is calling us to when everything seems good, or when we think we are under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and we momentarily are of single mind and vision. But then we realize that there is something required of us. We actually have to follow what the Lord says and show His character. Even when things are not going like we want.
You cannot be yoked with unbelievers and at the same time yoked to Him. But even this goes farther. You cannot be yoked to Him and continue with old mindsets. Or hateful ways. Or how can you speak things that would turn away an unbeliever or one who has turned from God, and actually believe you are still yoked to Christ? Where is your heart for the unsaved, the downtrodden, the poor, the desolate , and the broken hearted? How can you speak a gospel that is contrary to His words of hope to those who have lost hope? If these things are not in your heart, then you are yoked to another. It may be people you follow, even religious leaders or political leaders, or your own self interests. But it’s not Christ. To be yoked with Him and expect to make a difference without doing your best to imitate Him is like punching the wind and believing you’ll change the weather.
Right now I’m still seeing people I know to profess Christ, continuing to spout hateful and divisive things. I am troubled because I see so much harm come from those called to show His love and mercy. Minds have become closed to His teachings. It’s visible all the time and everywhere. What has caused so many to be enticed by false promises, lies, and wrong teaching and leading? It’s as if so many called to lead have been deceived. No person who advocates a teaching contrary to the gospel of Christ is to be followed. Prayed for and lifted up, yes. But then a line of spiritual demarcation must be drawn. The Lord has never changed His mind regarding sin. Nor has Christ told you to go out and just get people to believe in Him. He said go make disciples. We seem to forget that part. One who accepts Christ must come to a place of being a disciple into His true heart or they will be out of step with Christ. Amos 3:3 says, “How can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” How can you expect a harvest if you sow in the wrong spirit? Paul warned in 2 Corinthians 6 about being wrongly yoked. If you continue to spout hateful words and create division and discord, not peace, then you are the same as one yoked to an unbeliever or one who works to undermine the grace of God.
Oswald Chambers said, “If we understand what God is after, we shall be saved from being mean and cynical.” And there’s the rub. Understanding. Seeking Him. Being watchful when those awful feelings rise up in the midst of us, and realizing that it comes from a place in us not surrendered to Him. But as it is written in Hebrews 11, “He rewards those who diligently seek Him.” I pray He reveals the hidden depths of wisdom and knowledge to you. That you never falter in seeking him and His precepts. That no matter how bad things may seem in this world or how much you disagree with, He is your source. Rest in Him. He will lead you to a broad place where you will find rest. You will know that with Him you can rise up in the worst of times knowing that He is good and He is a shield to those who trust in him. And as it says in Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” That was your past. Walk in freedom. Blessings