By Tom Shanklin
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30, KJV.
Do you have rest? Do you have peace? Is His yoke easy and His burden light? Or are you struggling to keep your head above water spiritually?
God did not call you to lead a tormented, restless life. You can have peace through our Lord Jesus Christ. He sent His Son so you could have peace! In Jesus, there is peace with God, peace of mind, and peace about the future.
But sometimes, the problem is disobedience. We have many people today who live their lives pleasing themselves and following the inclinations of the flesh and then wonder why they have no peace. There is something incongruent about saying that Jesus is your Lord and at the same time living with your boyfriend or girlfriend. The same goes for making shady business deals, cursing and swearing, or living with a heart full of bitterness. You may not be able to live a sinless life, but God does require you to be pointed in the right direction.
Jesus says He will give you rest when you:
- Come unto me.
- Take my yoke upon you.
- Learn of me.
First he says, “Come unto me.” There is no peace apart from Jesus. There are many substitutes—peace in a bottle, peace in a pill, peace in a relationship, peace in material things, but only Jesus gives real peace.
We can only come by way of the cross. It is there that our sins are forgiven, we are made right, and we are changed. Ever since Adam sinned in the garden, people have been separated from their Creator. Like Adam, we have hid ourselves from the presence of God. But when Jesus died, was buried and rose from the dead, he made the way for us to enter the garden of God’s presence, to fellowship with Him, and find rest. Through the blood of Jesus we enter into the very presence of God and receive all that He has, including rest.
Then he says, “Take my yoke upon you.” The picture is of two oxen being yoked together for service—you and Jesus yoked together for victory. There is a divine connection and a release of power that comes when you choose to unite your life to His in sweet surrender. You cannot find rest apart from the yoke.
Sometimes the reason we have no peace is because we are not really in the yoke.
Sometimes the reason we have no peace is because we are not really in the yoke. We have not surrendered our will to the Lord and we are not doing the things that He wants us to do.
I have found in my own life, there are times when I have a restless or uncomfortable feeling inside. I sometimes call it a “burr in the saddle.” I’m saved, I’m a child of God, but something is not just right. I have found if I will just get honest with the Lord and surrender to Him, my peace will be restored.
When you have that restlessness, it’s time to have a talk with the Lord. Let Him reveal the source of the problem and the things that need changing in your life. Then you can confess your sin and make a choice to go the other way.
If you have unforgiveness in your heart, let it go. If you are involved in pornography, quit it! If you are cheating in business, make it right! If you are treating your spouse harshly, repent and turn from your wicked ways. If you are worrying, cast your care on the Lord. If you are operating in your own strength, roll your works on the Lord. If you are involved in an addictive behavior, surrender it to God and call upon the the name of the Lord for deliverance. Submit to God. Then you can resist the devil and he will flee.
The Father does not reveal sin in your life in order to condemn you. He shines a light on things which are keeping you from receiving His best, so they can be removed from your life and you can be free.
When you repent, trust God to do just what he said—to forgive you and cleanse you of all unrighteousness. Don’t fall in the trap of living in condemnation. Admit it, quit it, and forget it! Believe in the power of the blood of Jesus. Trust God, not only for forgiveness, but also for the power to change. Many are heavy laden with sin, because they are trying to overcome it in their own strength. Get in the yoke and stay there and you will find rest and victory.
Finally, Jesus says “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly.” Learning of Jesus is a lifetime process. As we are walking with Him in the yoke we begin to learn His ways. This is not only learning facts about Jesus, but learning of His secrets by experience as we follow His will in the crucible of life. It involves a close personal relationship with the Lord in which you daily allow His heart to beat in your chest.
When you are in the yoke, you are trusting in Him. You are in the rest of faith.
Jesus says, “Learn of me. Learn to walk in my gentleness. Learn to walk in my humility.” This is something which we can only learn in our daily experience as we allow Jesus to live His life through us. As we die daily to selfish desires and impulses and allow the Holy Spirit to shape and mold our character, we fulfill our destiny to be conformed to the image of the Son of God. The Good News is that we don’t need to do this in our own strength. Remember, we are in the yoke with Jesus. You supply the will. He supplies the power!
When you are in the yoke, you are trusting in Him. You are in the rest of faith. When you believe God, you just know, “Everything is going to be alright!” You are confident and secure in His love. You have that sense that nothing is impossible with God and that the problems that are in your life are no match for His mighty power.
However, if you are not in the yoke, but living to please yourself, it seems no matter how hard you try, you just can’t believe. You have no peace, because you are on your own and operating in your own strength. You may have religion, but you don’t have the power of Jesus Christ working in your life. You are out of fellowship and away from His promise. Humble yourself and recognize that you need to be in the yoke with Jesus to succeed. Then things will once again begin to work in your life.
As we live in the yoke, we can have the peace that passes all understanding and enjoy all the fruits of a life wholly consecrated to Him.