We have been exploring the three keys that are the antidote to stress contained in Matthew 11:28-30.
Come to Me, all you who labour 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.
You will recall that Key #1 was Come to Jesus.
Key #2: Take On Jesus’ Yoke
A yoke is a device (some would say a contraption) that straps oxen together so that they go at the same pace and they are able to work together in unison to make the work quicker and less burdensome than if it were being done by a single ox. Also, the yoke allows the farmer to control the pace and direction of the oxen. So, what are we to take away from Jesus’ instruction to “take My yoke upon you”? He is saying to us, “give up control”. Stop trying to be head cook and bottle washer for your own life. Trying to do things alone, in your own strength. The more you need to control things the more stressed you become. The yoke allows the load to be shared so that it can be lightened. Some of us have paired ourselves to people and to things that have added burden to our lives rather than lightening the load. If this is you, then it’s time to partner with Jesus. Partnership with Jesus Christ will lighten your burden since He alone knows the plans and purposes for your life (Jer. 29:11) and knows the beginning from the end (Rev. 22:13).
Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. (Psa. 55:22)
Being in partnership with Jesus Christ allows us to literally cast our burden Him because that yoke automatically causes the burden to be shared with one who is stronger than we are. It’s by no means a 50-50 sharing of the burden. He takes on the greater proportion of the weight because He knows just how much we can bear and He cares for us even more than we care for ourselves (1 Pet. 5:7). That’s why it is so important to be yoked to the right person. It is a moment by moment exercise. Allow Jesus to take control and give you guidance.
It is critical to recognize that when you are yoked to Jesus you have to go at His pace and in His direction. Therefore, we can conclude that when you are not yoked to Him you will be at continual risk of going too fast or sometimes too slow (which can also be stressful) and go in a path not in keeping with God’s plan for your life. Stop trying to keep up with others and with the world’s agenda. It will literally burn you out. Jesus is your pacesetter, not the world. Jesus is never in a hurry. He knows the right time and the right season for everything that is to happen in your life so there is never any last minute rush.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal. 5:25)
You cannot walk in the Spirit unless you are being led by the Spirit. There is no better way to do this than to allow ourselves to be completely submitted to the leading of Jesus Christ by His Spirit; to partner with Him and relinquish control of our own lives. Your agenda or God’s agenda? We need to observe further that Matthew 11:30 tells us that Jesus’ yoke is easy. The word ‘easy’ here is interpreted ‘perfectly fitted; customized according to God’s purpose for your life’. We need therefore to replace some of the yokes we have placed around our own necks with Jesus’ yoke. Many of us are stressed because we are trying to do things we were never shaped to do. Don’t do things just because others are doing them. Ask the Lord what He requires of you and do only that. God has equipped and enabled you for whatever mission He has ordained for you in this season. Pull back and spend time with Him so He can direct your paths (Prov. 3:6).
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:34, emphasis mine)
We need to stop trying to meet the expectations of others and focus only on what the Lord requires of us. He never gives us more than we can bear. So, if you feel overburdened you are operating outside of God’s will for your life. Either you are doing something wrong or doing something right but in the wrong way.
GIVE UP CONTROL!!
Join me next week as we explore the 3rd and final key.