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Learning the Yoke of Rest

Matthew 11:29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Jesus is such a good, kind shepherd. Oh, how we all long to know Him and find His perfect rest for our souls!  It’s what we are made for. To be perfectly partnered with Him in every way. What a glorious invitation!!

We could easily work “for” Jesus.  But, He invites us to labor WITH Him!  A “yoke” in farming was to bind two animals together to increase their ability to produce — two can do more than one. How much more can we produce when our little strength is partnered with the unlimited power of Jesus?!? And, what are we to “do”?

“Learn from Me.”

The easy yoke is simply this: to get to know Jesus, to know His heart, to know His mind, and to know His ways. And yes, to willingly submit to all of His ways, trusting that they are right and good.  He has shown us this perfect way, as He daily, willingly, faithfully submitted Himself to the Father — all the while “learning from him”… Remember how Jesus said, “I only do what I see my Father doing” and “I only say what I hear the Father saying”. While Jesus was completely God, he was also completely man — complete with His own will! He could have done what HE wanted to do, which would have been good! But, He JOYFULLY submitted to the Father at every turn, modeling perfectly how to life out this abundant life!  Abundant life is found in the letting go of our will to embrace His good, pleasing and perfect will. This is where we find happy holiness and joyful righteousness! As we lose our lives, we gain true life!

What dignity, honor and responsibility, that Jesus has submitted Himself to co-partner with us! He will not do our part, nor will He force us to comply, but neither will He do His part without our partnership and agreement! He is King, yet this is where our role as “kings and priests comes in” — our active involvement is actually His preferred way to bring His Kingdom and do all that is in His heart! Authority on the Earth has been given to mankind. We are made to rule, in relationship with the Creator.

So, daily, we must make choices to submit ourselves to this Divine partnership, to find that rest for our souls AND to be truly effective and fruitful. It would seem like a no-brainer that we would come and find this True Life, but so often we find ourselves weary and heavy laden, as we attempt to go it alone, or shirk the blessing of being yoked to Jesus — usually because we want to do things our way, believing the lie that to submit to God (or anyone) in love is somehow oppressive. It’s not oppressive, it’s truly liberating!!  You CAN’T do anything right on your own (John 15:5). In it, you are freed to be fully alive, to truly thrive – partnered with the supernatural grace of the Anointed One!

Practically then, each day I say a prayer to submit my (triune) being to the Lord.

1. I offer up my physical body. “Lord, I give you all the parts of my body. I surrender them to you. They are to be Your instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13). May everything I do with all of my body parts bring You glory today.”

2. I offer up my soul (my will and emotions). ,”Lord thank you for my mind, my will, my emotions. Thank You for making me in Your image, to freely chose and to freely feel. I give you mind; I want to think Your thoughts. I give you my emotions; I want to feel what You feel.  I submit my desires and my will – I want to desire what You do and I choose to do what You want.”

3. I submit my spirit. This may at first seem strange, if you know that by our redemption, we have already been made “one spirit” with Him (I Corinthians 6:17). If we’ve been united, what need is there for submission? Isn’t perfect flow automatic? Perhaps. But, remember marriage. Though the two have become one, there are still two persons (a mystery, I know! See Ephesians 5:31-32).  And just as in marriage, we are told to joyfully submit to one another in reverence to God. It’s not so much about who is “greater” or “better”, it’s a choice to serve the other, because we love them (yes, there is a marriage lesson in here). Remember Jesus? He was perfect in every way, and yet because of the great love He shared with the Father, it was His joy to submit to Him in every way during His time on Earth. So, even though your spirit is made completely holy and you are already united with Him, you have the dignity to choose to surrender to His Spirit and serve Him. But, get this (mind-blower!), the Holy Spirit submits to and serves YOU as well!!! It’s no accident that He is called “the Helper”. He does not “lord over” us, He comes to serve us and to lift us and strengthen us. He will even submit to our decision to say “no” to Him.

So, it’s good to pray every day (maybe several times a day), “Holy Spirit, I say “yes” to You today. I submit my spirit to you. It’s my joy to serve Your purposes, to see You become greater and to agree with You. May my spirit’s reply to You be “yes” at all times.”

To say “yes” to Jesus is actually an easier way than to choose our own way. In fact, it is the way of the light burden, because we are yoked to unlimited strength and power. Bend down and learn of Jesus today!

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About Jessie

Lover of God. Husband. Dad. Director of the Furnace at Michigan State University.

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