Maybe the word ‘yoke’ is not an active word in your vocabulary. A seamstress refers to the yoke of a shirt. Pilots refer to the yoke as the control wheel. Gaming geeks who are into joysticks and controls, probably talk about their yoke for their flight simulator game. Aging farmers nostalgically recall the yokes they once used on their animals.

The yoke of a shirt is the fabric that spans two shoulders. The yoke for a flight simulator pilot is the control wheel that brings both hands together to perform one task – flying. The barnyard yoke is one that brings two animals together to perform work for the farmer.

Backpackers are familiar with shoulder yokes that help to distribute the weight being carried on the back.

Have you ever thought about Christ’s yoke? After speaking to those who were yoked to religion, the law and its rituals, and feeling the horrible burden and bondage of it all, He turned to the people and said:

Come to Me, all 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.” Matthew 11:28-30

Have you ever pictured yourself yoked with Christ to perform the will of God? Compared to the religious yokes people put themselves in, Jesus said His yoke was easy or, in other words, good, effective and serviceable in serving God.  Jeremy Taylor explained it this way: “Christ’s yoke is like feathers to a bird; not loads – but ‘helps’ to motion.”

So many people are carrying heavy weights – the weight of sin or the weight of an empty profession or the weight of rituals and religious observances in the hope of meriting God’s favor. There is no rest in these pursuits – nothing but empty and broken promises.

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Christ already bore our sin’s heavy burden. Now He invites us to enter into a yoke with Himself – and because He is infinitely greater and more powerful than we are, our yoke or union with Christ will be relatively light for us. If we are willing to submit to His yoke, we will go where He takes us, and we will do what He wants us to do. Are you ready for that?

The Bible strongly warns against unequal yokes for a believer – either in marriage or in business or in some other way. God is opposed to a believer entering into a ‘yoke’ or a ‘partnership’ with a non-Christian. It is a sin. (2Corinthians 6:14)

When we experience discomfort or chafing, it’s because we are yoked – yes! – but we are failing to fully submit. When our will comes into play, we experience irritation and irregularity in the path of service. But, when we fully submit, there’s a beautiful synchronicity in our movements and a liberty to please God that no unbeliever could ever experience.

The times of greatest joy in our lives are when we are enjoying the yoke of Christ. We are yoked with Christ and fully submitting to His will, happily allowing Him to take the lead. Submission is the key.

How’s the yoke today? Easy, good, effective and serviceable in serving God?

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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