EXPLORING HOPE TODAY
Devotional thoughts from director, Dr Peggy Banks
“Take my yoke …”
“The art of rest is about learning how to rest with Jesus, not from Jesus.” – Adam Mabry in The Art of Rest
Can we have too much of God? What a question to ponder in our hearts today. Would it be so bad to be so close—even attached—to Jesus that our every movement was in step with the direction and heart of God?
The dictionary definition for the word yoke is “a bar or frame of wood by which two oxen are joined at the heads or necks for working together.” So, what does it mean for Jesus to say, “Take my yoke”? I think it’s a picture, an image of hope, for what it means to be joined, so close to Jesus, that we are not working alone but together with him in ministry and in life.
For many years as a young girl, I was searching for truth. I looked for a place and people who were safe. I was afraid to be myself and speak up for what I believed was right. This led me to be more of a follower in fear than a leader in truth.
I was yoked to many things, and I allowed those things to control my thoughts, choices and future. I was yoked to my past pain and mistakes. I was yoked to the opinions of others. I was yoked to drugs and relationships. In those things I found my identity, safety, security and direction for life.
For many years, being yoked to the wrong people led me down destructive paths. I made choices that were not healthy for my physical, emotional or spiritual life. It was my work, health, business, reputation and boyfriends that were the idols I lived for every day.
One morning, I was up very early getting ready to go have breakfast with one of the men I was still emotionally and physically yoked to. It was a destructive relationship, and as I was leaving to meet him before work, I heard God speak to my heart. “Are you willing to meet me this early before work for a spiritual breakfast?” he asked me.
When we attach our lives to Jesus, and rest in the guidance and wisdom of his Word and plan, we live in freedom and truth (John 8:31–32). The relationship yoke that Jesus offers us isn’t heavy, because he does all the leading and guiding. Moreover, he promises to accompany us to the place he has prepared for us (Job 42:2). Ever since that day when I heard God speak to my heart, I try to make my first appointment of the day one that is yoked to Jesus, learning from his Word, resting in his power and committed to following his lead.
What is it that you are yoked to today? Is it something that is driving your life in a direction far from Jesus?
Decide whom you will serve and take the yoke of Christ upon you. Open your heart and allow it to be yoked to Christ alone. Imagine you and your Lord working and resting together.
God is there for you, so take a step of faith and get free from the yoke that binds you to this world and keeps you from him. Take his yoke, learn from him and find his rest (Matt. 11:28–30; Rom. 10:9).