yoke: (n) something that couples or binds together; a bond or tie. (v) to join, couple, link, or unite.
burden: (n) that which is carried; load.
With what are you yoked today?
Are you yoked with worry? Material possessions? Envy? The approval of others? Money? Perfectionism? Your children's whims? Doubt? Fear? Comfort?
We are all yoked, united, with something. The something that we are yoked with defines us. When animals are yoked together, they have no choice but to go the same way. They need to join in common purpose to complete a task or nothing gets done. The yoke guides, confines. The yoke creates constant companions of two beings or entities.
We often choose to be bound with and defined by that which is not of God.
Jesus offers an alternative. Jesus offers himself. He never says, "Come to me and I will unyoke you. I will give you freedom from responsiblity, burden, hardship." Instead he says, "Take my yoke upon you".
Freedom, yes, but not freedom as the world sees it. Freedom from captivity to sin transforms into a partnership with Jesus. What does this look like?
Being yoked with Jesus means being yoked with:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." John 21:15
The Lord brought me forth [wisdom] as the first of His works, before His deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began. Proverbs 8:22-23
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Matthew 16:24
[The Lord] has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted. Isaiah 61:1
Jesus doesn't say, "I will unyoke you and remove your burden." Jesus says, "Take my burden instead." We will still have something to carry, a load which is our own and yet shared with all of the body of Christ.
What is your burden? Your God-given burden? Do you treasure it? Use it to learn from, grow in, and gain strength? Or do you complain about it, try to give it to someone else, tell God you don't want it.
If it is truly yours, from God, then you are to honor it. Carry it, bear it with dignity and humility as you remain yoked with Christ. Jesus is infinitely stronger than us but even those of us that are yoked with Him are constantly trying to pull our own way.
Be yoked. Choose to be bound with Jesus and nothing else. Make the daily decision to strap yourself in and be led. The accountability is strong and the rewards are great.