Thursday, March 3, 2016

Seeking the Easy Yoke

From Paul W. Chappell's excellent book, The Burden Bearer:

How is it that we who personally know the One who invites us to cast our cares upon Him still stagger on bearing our own loads?

How is it that we who have chosen Christ's easy yoke persist in carrying our lopsided weights on our shoulders rather than hitching them to our shared yoke with Christ?

How is it that we who have dedicated ourselves to the service of the Burden Bearer so often find ourselves feeling heavy, burdened, weighted, and exhausted?...

Somewhere in the process of our busy schedules, we forgot the surrender-all-to-Jesus mindset and we developed a do-it-all-for Jesus philosophy. One problem. Jesus never created—nor expects—us to do it all. In fact, He will never equip us to do it all...

One of the truths the Lord used in my life to lift the load of stress from my shoulders is summed up in this statement: A sacrificial life will always be unfinished...

There is a fine line between diligence and drivenness. At least on the the surface. Underneath, there is a chasm. Driven Christians carry the stress of trying to do God's work for Him. Diligent Christians fully give themselves to the Lord and trust Him to do His work through them...

We release the burden of stress when we release the responsibilities for the outcome to the Lord...

When we worry, we fret that we are not enough, that our resources are inadequate, that the demands on us are overwhelming, that eventually, we will be unable to sustain the pressures and burdens we are carrying...

Too often we carry the burden that surpasses our strength rather than resting in the peace that surpasses our understanding...

Discipline is vital to the Christian life. But sometimes we must step back and ask the tough questions: Why am I willing to carry this load? And for whom am I bearing it? Is it for God's glory? Or for mine?

The loads we impose on ourselves to please our own egos or to impress our peers are never worth the pain they produce...

We know little of God's grace—in our dealings with others and in our relationship with God. And because we don't understand grace, we just keep trying harder.

We try harder to try to explain the unexplainable.

We try harder to make our lives work out.

We try harder to exceed the expectations of others.

And we push others to try harder too.

In fact, often we're trying so hard to carry our loads and prod others to carry theirs, that when the Burden Bearer, who already bore our load, calls, “Cast your cares on Me; I care for you,” we don't even hear Him. Or we don't believe Him...

Do you glory in the cross? Or in your strength to carry heavy loads?..

Perhaps the heaviest burden Christians carry is loneliness. When we are sure of sympathy and supported by encouragement, we can go further, longer, and faster. Alone, however, we become disheartened and desolate.

But a yoke signifies unity. To accept Christ's offer to take His yoke means that we will never carry our burdens alone again. The Burden Bearer whom we serve never leaves His own...

Included in Jesus' invitation to share His yoke is the call to learn from Him. Not only does He offer to teach us how to pull properly, but He recognizes that we don't have it all together before we start: He gives us room to grow...

He invites, “learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest for your souls.” Our way is exhausting, Jesus' way is refreshing. Our way is weakening; Jesus' way is strengthening...

In Bible times, there were two kinds of yokes used for animals. The first kind was designed to divide the load so that the two animals yoked together would equally share the weight. The second yoke was a training yoke, designed so a younger, less-experienced animal would learn the unity of a yoke while the trained animal actually pulled the weight of the burden.

It is this second yoke that Jesus offers us. He carries the load and burden; we learn to walk in unity with Him...

When we serve for others' acceptance, we find ourselves overloaded, resentful, and disillusioned. But when we pour our energy into serving the Lord, we find that He replenishes and reinvigorates us by His grace...

“Carrier, believe Me. I know the way. I am not counting your steps, but your surrender. Not how fast, but how faithful. Not your tasks, but your trust.”...

God's callings are always larger than human ability. In calling us to serve others and to help bear their burdens, God enlarges our hearts and stretches our capacities...

Yet, our tendency is to get so enamored with the calling itself that we enlarge the burden that comes with it. We heap pain upon ourselves by assuming added burdens God never intended for us to carry. God calls us to labor in a field larger than our resources so that He will get the glory. But we sabotage His glory (and discourage ourselves in the process) when we carry the burden rather than serving in the yoke.

It all boils down to where we look for help when we realize that we are in over our heads. Do we join our voices with the Lifters, echoing their anthem, “Try harder, try harder”? Or do we remember where our help is found?

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5)

“God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:5-7)

“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)


Linking up with Velvet Ashes this week on the theme of "Yoke."


  1. Jodie, this is a message we need to hear again and again. Thank you for sharing with the Velvet Ashes community!
    I especially appreciated reading this today: we forgot the surrender-all-to-Jesus mindset and we developed a do-it-all-for Jesus philosophy.

    1. Thank you, Patty. I think you would really like the whole book, The Burden Bearer. It is so rich and challenging. May God help us surrender all to Him today.

  2. And I liked this question: "What burdens are we needlessly carrying?"

    1. I agree Amy. We can take on more than He has given us, and it's important to evaluate why we're carrying what we are.

  3. "There's a fine line between diligence and drivenness" - oh, it's so true! And I really need to remember it right now...Thanks, Jodie!

    1. That's an important distinction for me too, Michele. I like the way he says its a fine line on the surface but underneath there's a big chasm. It splits us apart if we're trying to do it all in our own strength!

  4. I agree with Michele about the diligence versus drivenness! And ouch about the try-harder attitude and about being too enamored of the calling. These words are so great. I will have to come back and re-read them later!

    1. Thanks for sharing Elizabeth, and also for being so transparent in your post about the yoke of unforgiveness. I appreciate your willingness to be convicted and lean in to the hard things God is revealing within your heart, with a desire to grow and change. I love your line about your "story that from beginning to end brims with the goodness of God’s love."

  5. Hi Jodie, loved this post. And I used to be a 'lifter' trying harder and harder only to realize I cannot do this on my own. Thank you for this reminder of where my help comes from and to cast of my burdens.

  6. Thanks for commenting, Dorette. I've found that sometimes it takes coming to the end of ourselves and our strength before we learn how to really depend on Him.



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