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The Easy Yoke - A Devotional
"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.” Matt. 11:28-30
Come as you are
These are such comforting words, aren’t they? Jesus is talking about those who are burdened. But from what? Life’s sorrows, pains, unbearable circumstances? He does give us rest when we seek Him in those times, but Jesus is talking about legalistic religious people and sinners striving to obey every commandment so they can earn His favor. I would say that is a heavy burden, indeed!
How many of us, before we turned to Christ, believed good works and perfection were necessary before God would accept us? What needless striving! Jesus does not expect people to be perfect before coming to Him. He died in our place and declared us righteous when we surrendered our lives to Him. He wants man to come to Him as is, sinful, flawed, and imperfect, hungry for the love and acceptance of the Savior. It is then that He can begin the work of transforming us from the inside out. Each day as we grow, we become more like Him.
To the burdened, burned-out servant
Jesus tells us in these verses to take His yoke upon us and learn from Him. A yoke is a device worn by oxen that couples them to work together. It keeps the lead ox from bearing the entire burden. Christ is asking people to come to Him, and accept yoke. As we take up His yoke we‘re not bearing the entire burden ourselves. He is there to bear the burden with us. In verse 30 He says, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Although the opening verse could be meant for the religious and unrepentant, I believe that His words also apply to the burdened, burned-out servant of God as much. Hudson Taylor writes:
"To every toiling, heavy-laden sinner, Jesus says, 'Come to me and rest'.
But there are many toiling, heavy-laden believers, too. For them this same invitation is meant. Note well the words of Jesus, if you are heavy-laden with your service, and do not mistake it. It is not, 'Go, labor on,' as perhaps you imagine. On the contrary, it is stop, turn back, 'Come to me and rest.' Never, never did Christ send a heavy laden one to work; never, never did He send a hungry one, a weary one, a sick or sorrowing one, away on any service. For such the Bible only says, 'Come, come, come.'"
Have you taken His yoke upon you?
Grace through faith = rest.
Paul told the Galatian's who had turned back to the law, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Gal. 5:1. Did you catch the kind of yoke he mentioned? Bondage! That's what Jesus meant by burdened. Notice Paul tells them “Christ has made us free...” He also uses the word "liberty.'" He's saying the same thing Jesus was saying only using different words. Jesus' yoke is easy, giving freedom from the burden and bondage of do-it-yourself salvation, which doesn't work.
It all boils down to grace and faith. Working for God's favor is law - burden and bondage - not grace. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God" Ephesians 2:8
If you are someone seeking God's favor and acceptance, accept the gift of God's grace by placing your faith and your soul in Jesus. If you are a weary, burdened, servant of the Lord, take up His yoke and find rest.
© 2014 Lori Colbo