I just took a good look at my handbag and I think I need a new one. I don’t have a few bags, I just have one and I use it till I decide it’s paid its dues and then the search for another one. This time I don’t have in mind what I want so it will be a bit of a search. I will know when I see the right one. My handbag isn’t so much a fashion accessory as a utilitarian item. It must be big enough to carry my wallet, diary, kitchen sink… But not so big that I can’t comfortably carry it around. You get the idea; it must be just right, it must suit my lifestyle.
I wonder sometimes if people aren’t looking for that kind of religion too. Something that suits them just right. Something that doesn’t require any effort from them so that they can carry it around comfortably. The right size and shape and it must make them look good too. They don’t want to be confronted by it and they don’t want to be taken out of their comfort zone. They would like the Gospel to be according to their own wants and desires. They only want to acknowledge the pieces of the bible that suit their lifestyle.
But Jesus didn’t come to make life comfortable for us. He did say, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30. Note that He said we have to take His yoke on ourselves. He didn’t say that we wouldn’t have a yoke.
1 Peter 4:12-13, (Message Bible) Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.
The definition of a yoke is: a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plough or cart that they are to pull.
Note that the yoke is put on two animals and that they pull the cart or the plough together. A yoke is not meant for one animal by itself. We must take the yoke of Jesus, in other words we are in the yoke with Jesus by our side pulling with us. He doesn’t leave us all alone and give us all the hard pulling to do. No, He is with us every step of the way. So instead of trying to miss out of having hardships and accepting the yoke that He offers us, we have to welcome and embrace that yoke that He is offering us. If we do not, then we are going to be all by ourselves, handling our burdens by ourselves and trying to muddle through life in our own strength. That is not a good place to be.
Matthew 28:19-20, Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Hebrews 13:5, Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Romans 8:38-39, For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:15-17 in the Message Bible is just so beautiful, This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Let us embrace and welcome the yoke that Jesus gives us and let us wear it with perseverance and with gratitude for everything He has done and is doing for us.