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Guided by Grace
by Aliene Thompson
Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light. His boundaries keep you in his loving plan for your life (Psalm 16:6). His yoke is like a beautiful boundary around your heart, time, finances, and every area of your life.
“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 NIV)
In biblical times, animals, usually oxen, were yoked together to complete a task such as plowing a field. Each yoke was specifically designed and uniquely handmade for a particular pair of animals. More importantly, there was always a lead ox that was stronger and smarter. That lead ox would be yoked to a weaker one. The yoke was designed so the stronger ox would carry the weight, and the weaker one would simply follow along to complete the task.
The truth Jesus taught with this picture is as true for us today as it was to the people back then. He is speaking this to us right now: Come, take my yoke. Follow me and let me carry the weight. You will find the rest your weary soul has been looking for. My yoke is specifically designed just for you, and when you lay down what you think will give you life, I can bring you an abundant life. The rest I provide is not a rest from problems or a rest that the world gives—it is something far greater. You will never be alone. With my strength, I will lead you to accomplish your God-given purpose.
While Jesus offers you his yoke, you must choose to come to him and wrap it around your life to live in his freedom and find rest for your soul. As you walk by his side, you will have limitless strength to do all God has called you to do. Pause. Take time to listen and discover his unique yoke for you lest you become distracted carrying yokes that are not yours to bear.
Sometimes people will try to throw another yoke on you. Simply say “no”. You can be confident in Jesus’ yoke for you, even though it may be different from the yoke he has for other women. And that is okay.
Sometimes your old nature may feel unnecessary guilt that prods you to shoulder a responsibility that is not yours. The choices others make about their yoke are their own. If you carry their load, they may never learn to find the yoke Jesus has for them.
Sometimes you may shoulder the weight of shame from what others did to you. There will always be others who are jealous or mean-spirited, and they may have hurt you—but that was their choice. Forgive them so you do not have to carry the weight of their choices anymore.
Sometimes when you move too quickly instead of pausing in prayer to discern God’s will, you might pick up a yoke that is not yours. When you become God’s child, you have the freedom to stop operating out of the “shoulds” and can begin to move to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Operating in grace never flows from guilt but from the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit.
A good work may not be your God work. Liberty is released when you listen to and are led by the Holy Spirit.
“For in him we live and move and exist.” Acts 17:28
So remember, brave heart, as you plow the fields together with Jesus, take time to pull into his presence and pray to discern his yoke for you—for it fits you like a glove.