For His Yoke is Easy

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

“Come to me, all 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.”

Laboring and Heavy Laden

There are many ways in which we can labor and be heavy laden. One of them can be an obvious reference to physical labor. We work hard physically and we get tired, sometimes to the point of physical exhaustion, and so our bodies need physical rest. And sometimes when we work hard physically our muscles get tight and it is hard for our bodies to rest until our muscles have time to relax. Or our muscles may have aches and pains and so we can’t rest due to the pain. And the older we get, the worse it gets.

Another way we can labor and be heavy laden is emotionally. This could be via lack of trust in the Lord and via worrying, or it may be we are weeping over the sins of the world and over those who are lost in their sins and over the rebellious and the unrepentant who are stubborn and hardheaded and who think they can go on in their habitual sin without true repentance and absent walks of obedience to the Lord. For it should grieve us that so many people professing faith in Christ don’t have true biblical faith in him.

And yet another way we can labor and be heavy laden is via Christian ministry and persecution and opposition. When Satan fights against us, and he uses other humans to oppose us and to come against us, it can be wearing on us. Especially if we have consistent opposition from the same enemies who keep coming against us in many of the same ways, and this goes on for years and years without relief, it can wear us down to the point of exhaustion and even to tears. Paul expressed this:

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)

Trials and Tribulations

Something else which can cause us to have to labor and which may bring us to the point of being heavy laden are trials and tribulations which come into our lives to test our faith and to mature us in our walks of faith and to teach us perseverance and to rely on God and not on ourselves. We learn, if we are willing, to trust the Lord with all the circumstances of our lives, even the difficult ones which come into our lives, even the recurring ones that seem to never end and to never go away. I think those are the hardest.

Right now my husband and I are experiencing some trying times, although minor by comparison to what many people are suffering throughout the world. For the past month we have had our water cut off to our apartment 4 times (once a week for 4 weeks), but the 4th week was due to a flooding of our apartment from a burst pipe in the attic above the apartment above us. So the apartment above us was flooded and then the water came down and flooded us and then flooded the apartment below us.

Now the apartment management has hired a contract company to come in and tear out the sheet rock that is wet and they will replace it with new sheet rock and then they will have to paint, so this is a 3-day process, and in this process our apartment is in total disarray and our lives are being disturbed and we are not able to function as we normally would, and so we are also not getting adequate rest, and we are exhausted from all the labor we are having to do in this process, as well.

Receive His Yoke, Learn from Him

And then there are people who labor and are heavy laden because they are not in relationship with Jesus Christ, although some will profess that they are, but they are still the ones driving their own lives and charting their own course and choosing what they want to do regardless of what God has planned for their lives. And some of them claim to be trying to be free from addiction to sin, but they are trying in their own strength and that is not working because their hearts are not really committed to change.

So, the solution in all of these situations is to come to the Lord, to take his yoke upon us, to learn from him, and he will give us rest. Now this is no guarantee of physical rest or of rest from persecution and trials and tribulations, etc., for the Scriptures teach us that we will have hardships and trials and persecutions to try our faith and to teach us perseverance and to bring us to maturity in our walks of faith in Christ. And trials oftentimes involve extra physical labor and lack of rest.

But if we take his yoke upon us and we learn from him, he will give us rest for our souls and he will give us peace of mind and heart. So what is his yoke we are to take upon us? It is a partnership (a cooperation, a joining together) with Jesus Christ and with his gospel, but it involves him carrying the weight of it and us resting in him. But it means we are yoked together with him and now we are living under his direction and control. He is now Lord and Master and we now work for him and not for ourselves.

20221228_153835But there is peace in this relationship because God has it all under control. He has it all worked out way in advance. We can be totally at peace within even if everything around us looks like our apartment looks right now, which looks like a war zone. And I am a person who does not naturally do well in clutter or closed in spaces, and I like things neat and tidy, but neat and tidy is not what we have right now. But I am at peace. I am really okay with it. I am tired, but I am resting in the Lord and in his strength.

So, what’s the bottom line here? It is that whatever we are going through, if we are true followers of Christ, we can trust him to work it all out for our good. We just have to take his yoke upon us and learn from him and then follow his lead. We must die daily with him to sin and live daily to him and to his righteousness and trust him in every situation he brings into our lives. And if you have not done that, I pray you will give your life to Christ today and that you will surrender all to him and come under his yoke.

[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 9:23-26; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Acts 1:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]

Hide Me, Rock of Ages

Brantley C. George, 1946

Oh Thou blessed rock of ages
Trusting now dear Lord in Thee
Keep me till my journey’s ended
Till Thy blessed face I see

Keep me when the storm clouds gather;
‘Til the sun comes shining through;
Keep me ‘til my work is over;
‘Til I bid this world adieu.

Hide me oh blessed rock of ages
‘Til Thy blessed face I see
When the storm around me rages
Rock of ages hide Thou me

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