Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light."
Matthew 11:28-30 NLT (1996)
Finding REST, yes! Oh yes!
Rest is my "word of the year," yet it is still a quest for me. You too? Actually, rest is both a gift and a quest while on this earth. Let me explain.
When we come to Christ by faith, He gives us rest, in fact He Himself IS our Rest -- rest from the penalty and power and one day, the presence of sin. As a result, we are totally acceptable to God, born into His family, beloved children of His who live by His indwelling life. I am IN Christ, and He is IN me. And this rest is a free gift ... given! Not earned!
Notice verse 28 of our passage:
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will GIVE you rest.
Literally it says, "To Me ... and I will REST you." Isn't that an amazing image?
But then Jesus goes on to imply there's another aspect of rest that we need to find while on this earth ... a process, a discovery. It is still a gift from our Source of Rest, but there is a process in experiencing it. Jesus says,
... you will find rest for your souls.
This is our everyday rest of soul as I we walk through our daily lives ... the inner rest of a heart at peace no matter the activities or circumstances of life. And that is what I want every day. How about you?
Jesus tells us what will enable us to discover and experience that rest day by day:
TAKE MY YOKE upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.
The "yoke" is an item that we are not familiar with in this day and age. But in Bible times, they were seen everywhere. What is a yoke? The picture above illustrates the yoke as an instrument joining two beasts of burden so they could pull loads together. The image of a yoke was also used as a metaphor for being under slavery or captivity (Leviticus 26:13).
And did you notice whose yoke we are to take on? That little word "MY" is so significant indeed. It's CHRIST's yoke, not our own. This has been timely for me as I have been struggling with blood pressure issues. Examining the possible "yokes" (that are not HIS) that I may have been wearing is my meditation these days. And one morning, as I was realizing some of the fleshly yokes I have worn, the Lord drew my attention to the final verse in our passage:
For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light. (verse 30)
Christ's yoke "fits perfectly" -- fits ME perfectly -- as I get in it with HIM. Oh the joy, the relief, the freedom of taking on HIS Yoke, not one that I think is mine or even that I may think is HIS! So I have been pacing myself, spending my thought and prayer life discerning the voice of my Lord when He says, Take MY yoke here ... not there. And it has been good!
In the course of this careful waiting on Him, the Lord drew my attention to a blog that I follow: Daughters of Promise by Christine Wyrtzen. A week or so ago, Christine did a series on "Yokes." It was very enlightening and helpful to me! So sharing it is part of why I am writing this blog. My prayer is that you may be helped also. Please don't miss this:
While my future is secure and I am already seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus, I must still contend with my flesh. I am not to be yoked ~
• To religion and live by others’ measuring stick.
• To slavery and live by the demands of controllers.
• To shame and live by the opinions of flawed people.
• To the flesh and live like I did before I believed.
• To deception and live by lies conceived at the gates of darkness.
Here is the link to her helpful pdf.