Accepting Jesus' easy yoke
There are times in our lives where we feel like we’re a hamster frantically running on a wheel, moving way too fast and spinning out of control. Our North American culture tends to pride itself in the rat’s race or the hustle, this relentless mentality of enduring, pushing through and even working until you drop. While it’s certainly not unbiblical to be a hard worker, God never intended for us to become burnt out workaholics on the verge of mental or physical collapse. On the contrary, Jesus’ invitation for us today is to lighten our load and to do so by learning how to enter into His rest.
"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."
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus is speaking to a group of Jewish listeners who were all too familiar with being overburdened. Not only were they oppressed by the Roman Empire but also by religious legalism imposed by the scribes and Pharisees, who taught that favour from God could only be achieved through good works. Jesus boldly proclaimed that He is the Lord of the Sabbath, who gives rest from the impossible task of earning our salvation. It's in Jesus that we find true rest for the soul, an eternal freedom from legalistic burden and guilt.
For the saved believer, entering into Jesus' rest is not a one-time occurrence completed at the point of conversion but a daily choice to come to Him. When we start to judge ourselves by the standards and expectations that others place on us or even the unrealistic ones that we place on ourselves, we can easily feel miserable, anxious and overwhelmed. But Jesus is not a hard taskmaster—His ways are good, His system is perfect and His intention is not to make things burdensome or difficult for us. Now that doesn't mean that the Christian life will always be easy but what Jesus is saying is that by coming to Him and accepting His easy yoke, we can cease striving in our own strength and learn to trust in Him. When we do, He will lighten our load and equip us with the power and strength we need to live the life that He has called us to.
Are you feeling stressed, overworked and exhausted today? Accept Jesus’ open invitation to come and find rest in Him. When we get into His presence, He will teach us His ways and lead us to a place of grace, peace and joy that refreshes our souls and helps us to operate out of overflow instead of failing human effort. Take time to seek Him about whether your works are aligned with His works. Oftentimes, when we are struggling and feeling like we are in way over our head, we are operating in the works of the flesh rather than the works that God is leading us to do. Jesus wants to lighten the load you have been carrying by yourself and give you true rest for your soul today.