28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 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. | Matthew 11:28-29
Jesus is and always will the be source of everything we need.
He’s the bread of life (John 6:35).
He’s the fountain of living water (Jeremiah 2:13).
And He’s the one who gives rest to the weary.
I never realized, until recently, just how hard I’ve been trying and how easy it is for me to fall into the trap of striving.
I care deeply about what the Lord thinks and my heart’s desire is to please Him.
I so desperately want what only He can give me — His attitude, His humility, a pure heart (where every motive is undefiled), and the ability to love Him more deeply.
Without realizing it, I would often beat myself up for what hadn’t been formed in me yet. I’d be disappointed over what I didn’t have the ability to change. I’d be left weary and heavy-laden.
In short, I’d examine myself — something Paul wouldn’t even do himself (1 Corinthians 4:3).
The problem with self-examination is this: You wind up taking your own test and assigning your own grade.
Such habits are the breeding ground for condemnation and self-performance — trying harder and harder until you get it right.
It’s very freeing to see with the eyes of my heart that I cannot give to myself what I desire… only He can do that. My job is to delight in Him… enjoy Him!
But you can’t enjoy Him if you’re constantly focused on what’s wrong!
If all I did when I was with my wife, Nicole, is think about where I was blowing it as a husband, I’d never enjoy her!
It’s also very freeing to understand that the very things I want, He wants to give!
Whenever we try really hard or when we seek to bring about within ourselves what only He can do, we wind up being unequally yoked with Him.
Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart…”
All self-effort ceases when I choose humility.
One of the greatest things Jesus modeled was a surrendered life to His Father.
I’ve often said that the Christian life is not lived out of our own strength. It’s lived out of our
Jesus lived out of His Father’s strength.
His will was completely abandoned.
He was fully dependent.
There’s beauty and freedom in surrender.
The Christian life can be summed up in this way: “I can’t, but I have faith that He can.”
The gentle and the humble in heart are those that go low — they understand that they need God to do what only He can do.
Jesus wants His yoke to be upon us, NOT ours.
A yoke is a wooden beam normally used between a pair of oxen or other animals to enable them to pull together on a load when working in pairs. It’s important to note that these animals would typically be of equal strength. If one were stronger than the other, the weaker would be pulled in the direction of the stronger. This would make activities like plowing in a straight line quite difficult.
To take Jesus’ yoke upon me and to be equally yoked with Him means this: I am yoked together with His grace (His empowerment) and He’s yoked together with my ‘Yes.’
It’s His strength and my willingness.
We are only ever equally yoked when His grace marries our humility.
Whenever I’m trying to do in my own strength what only His grace can do, I’m pulling the yoke and whatever we are harnessed to in my direction.
Doing what only He can do means that I’m not surrendered and Jesus and I aren’t plowing evenly or straight. We aren’t co-laboring.
In order for the weary and heavy-laden to experience His rest, we must learn from His example.
He will give you the desire of your heart (Psalm 37:4) and you will find rest for your soul.
- Brian Connolly, Faith Like Birds Ministries