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The Secret of the Easy Yoke

by Paul Meredith

PaulMeridethCome 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.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus offers much needed rest to weary sinners. He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This is certainly a comforting invitation. However, he then has the audacity to call for us to take his yoke upon us. What a seeming contradic­tion! Since when does a yoke mean rest? Sounds like work to me. Nevertheless, Jesus said, “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 this passage, Jesus is teaching something that takes us a long time to figure out. He’s telling us, while we delight in the relationship of grace we as believers experience in Christ, the relationship char­acterized by spiritual peace and the promise of eternal rest, there is another necessary component to Christianity. There must be obedience. God has not given us strict commands because he’s cruel, but to establish boundaries for our ultimate good. In our lives, we must strive to properly balance both duty and delight, obedience and relationship.

Here’s the secret of the easy yoke: Acquire a taste for obedience. The burden is light when we are in a spiritually mature state that understands the purposes of necessary obedience and delights in doing things God’s way. This comes only after a habit and lifestyle of submission to the Lord has been cultiv­ated. That’s the secret. We have learned through time and experience to appreciate and delight in God’s commands. We arrived at this sanctified state by consistently following his will. Hence, we obey not with a grudge but with gladness and joy (Deuteronomy 28:46).

 

               Paul Merideth is minister of the Watterson Trail Church of Christ, Louisville, KY (– Starting August 4th, he will be a professor of Bible at  Ohio Valley  University in Vienna, WV)

 

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10