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Take up Christ’s yoke
 


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Matthew 11:28-29  Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden is light. (Douay-Rheims Bible)


In Scripture, we often focus on God's blessing while ignoring His underlying conditions for the promise.

The above passage in Matthew is one of my favorite texts because Christ offers peace to troubled souls. However, when security does not readily come, people sometimes wonder if God has failed. Unfortunately, personal conflict can arise from not obeying the provisions of the covenant in question.

Intrinsic to Jesus' previous assurance of “refreshing and rest,” He also admonished the acceptance of spiritual servitude, “Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me,” rather than ineffectively laboring alone to bear the burden of our own failed mistakes.

But do we willingly submit to His authority or decide to privately “slug it out,” hoping that God will fix a ruined life after we've messed things up? We cannot have it both ways. We cannot brazenly tell God, “I'll do this job all by myself,” and then expect Him to bless us with “refreshing and rest” since those were not the terms of Jesus' promise, “Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me.”

A friend and former coworker once said, “People often experience constant turmoil because they do not completely commit their lives to God.” Without total dedication, we cannot be the “living sacrifice” that God requires in Romans 12:1.

Either we willingly place our lives on God's spiritual altar or we do not. Partial commitment is no commitment at all!

Consider God's stern rebuke for the end-time Laodicean Church: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16) The problem was not a matter of faith, but rather the Church's halfhearted works (deeds) that did not fully comply with the divine covenant (which made God sick enough to vomit).

Likewise, we see the same confused hesitance in Israel when the people did not commit. “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt (stumble) ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” (1 Kings 18:21)

Without fully accepting Christ's yoke of servitude, God will not honor His promise of “refreshing and rest” for a person who refuses to commit.  Undoubtedly, peace, harmony, and contentment only come when we have obeyed God's will.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.” (Proverbs 3:5-8)

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