There’s a statement and truth Jesus made that actually answers so many of my questions about life and what it means to follow Jesus. It provides an answer to my many worries. It’s an antidote to my pride. It’s a check on my temptation to be religious. It arrests my tendency to compare myself with others. It sets my limits on my need to be in charge. It gives freedom and so much more. It’s a statement Jesus made in Matthew 11:28-30 – 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
What a picture! Like two animals yoked together, Jesus invites us to take his yoke and join him side by side. Together, any challenge or hardship goes so much easier. Being yoked to Jesus is a check on my pride because I can’t run ahead of him. Being yoked to Jesus means I also can’t lag behind as he helps pull the weight of whatever I’m carrying. He leads me to the right place at the right pace.
I don’t have to worry if I’m good enough. That is a worry that we all face. Regularly we all ask: Am I a good enough spouse, parent, friend, employee, student, boss, athlete, man or woman or whatever. When we are yoked to Jesus we don’t have to focus on whether we are good enough or not because Jesus is enough. We just have to trust him and walk in step with him. Wow, that takes the complication out of what it means to follow Jesus! Being yoked to Jesus is more than enough.
But the key is that I have to take off whatever yoke I’ve been attached to and let it go. It could be the yoke of performance. It could be the yoke of appearance. It could be the yoke of fear. Whatever name you give your yoke, at the core it’s a trust and dependence on ourselves. Our yoke that burdens us is in some way a yoke about self. That’s also called pride that results in self-reliance. It will wear us out and tear us down by its weight that we feel we have to carry by ourselves. But we don’t just stop at taking off the yoke of pride, we take on the yoke of Jesus. It’s easy. It’s light. It gives us rest.
I spoke with a woman this week who left a powerful group that put a religious yoke on her. It was a yoke that said she had to be perfect. It told her she had to work harder, do more, give more and be better to be okay and acceptable to God and to that religious community. It presented God as anyone but gentle and understanding. And it wore her out.
One day, she discovered that Jesus is enough. That awareness is so simple. It is so profound. Jesus is enough. Get linked to him. Walk with him. He’s gentle. He won’t push us faster or harder than we can bear. He’s humble. He’ll use all his resources to help us on our spiritual journey. The result is that we’ll find rest for our souls.
So ask this question – Am I finding rest for my soul? Religion is a heavy, tiring burden. Jesus is gentle and he helps ease the burden and weight of trying to be enough on our own. Take the invitation of Jesus – take his yoke upon yourself and see how the journey leads to a rested soul.
Every week the opportunity is given to Pastors to prepare sermons. For Pantano, this process begins many months in advance. As Pastor Glen has shared before, sermon topics and basic outlines are typically planned a full year out. As the week approaches for a specific message, the writing process gets more focused. Months of praying about a message, researching, and planning always create more information than anyone could communicate effectively in thirty minutes. As a result, each week, we do not have the time to say every single thing we wanted to express in our time frame. As I prepared my message on “Can we trust the Bible?” a similar process happened. I’m excited to be able to continue the conversation from my message to this blog post!
Trusting the Bible goes beyond just knowing the history behind our scriptures is accurate and reliable. While I believe it is essential to understand the accuracy of God’s word, we live in the heart implications of relating to the Bible. When the Bible speaks on _______, how does that affect me? What does it do to my actions, past/future decisions, and so forth? These questions are tough, and they don’t always have an easy answer. As a result, serious questions can affect our trust in the Bible and our desire to apply it to our lives.
How do we handle questions like:
These are great questions, and I would encourage you to lean into them and their implications. Some might be tempted to say, “I’ll just trust God and leave that to someone else.” While that approach removes the temporary discomfort of hard questions and situations, it leaves the underlying issue and ultimately creates trust issues. For us to have the best relationship with God, our trust of him and his words need to be the healthiest possible. Below are some suggestions for you to dig into these questions and strengthen your confidence. One final note: I believe that growth is mostly painful, but it is incredible. Even though your questions might cause discomfort and create even more questions, know that you are not alone. God’s promise to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) is still true.
I want to encourage you to dig into the tough parts of our faith in Jesus. It’s ok to ask questions, but we’ll never know if the Bible is accurate, relevant, or trustworthy until we engage it for ourselves. I believe that God is excited to journey with you as you ask questions, seek the truth, and knock on the door to greater faith.
On the journey with you,
Pastor Nick Farr