“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
The image of a yoke was not lost on the audience that Jesus was addressing. Contemporary readers may not relate to a yoke and how it works. A yoke binds two animals together, like a team of oxen. Young and inexperienced oxen are taught to pull together when yoked to a more experienced and seasoned ox. When the older ox leads, the younger ox often tries to go in a different direction. When they do so, they experience the pain of pulling against the yoke. The harder they fight the yoke, the worse it gets. When the younger ox seeks his own direction, the yoke becomes a burden, punishing the errant behavior. When both oxen are pulling in the same direction, the yoke makes their work much easier. Over time, the younger ox learns how to follow the lead of the wiser and more mature ox.
Given this insight, the wisdom of being yoked to Jesus is apparent. If you stray from Jesus, pulling and tugging against His lead, you will feel burden and pain. Walking in step with Jesus lightens your burdens. The pain of pulling against the yoke teaches you to let Jesus set the course. It teaches you to follow the One who is walking beside you. Can you see how fighting God’s lead causes you pain?
“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Acts 26:14
Jesus spoke these words to Paul on the road to Damascus. A goad is a tool used to drive oxen. Paul was pursuing his own agenda in persecuting Christians and he was only hurting himself. After his conversion experience, Paul followed Jesus. In doing so, he was far more peaceful and fruitful in his endeavors.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 1 Timothy 1:12
Are you pulling against the yoke of Jesus regarding your marriage? Or are you following His lead? The first way will lead to pain and frustration while the latter will be peaceful and easy. Jesus wants to yoke Himself to you, to lead you and carry your burdens. He wants to teach you the way of holiness and godly living. It is only when you pull against His lead that you will experience pain. Let Him be your guide. He loves you and wants to walk beside you through the trial of marital strife. Humbly submit to the lead of the Lord.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Humans learn through trial and error, often with painful consequences. Jesus is patient with this process of gaining wisdom and knowledge. Jesus never stops loving you and trying to lead you. He knows that you will become more docile to His leading as you experience the peace, joy and wonder of following Him. He is confident that you will learn to trust His lead.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Being yoked to Jesus is easy. He is walking beside you in the yoke. He carries all of your burdens. He invites you to enter into His rest. All He asks is that you follow his lead.
Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path… Psalm 27:11
God bless you, my Brother in faith.
Unless otherwise noted, scripture quoted are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.