“Come unto 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, NAS).”
Definition of Yoke: a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull.
Definition of Easy:
- not hard or difficult; requiring no great labor or effort
- free from pain, discomfort, worry, or care
- providing or conducive to ease or comfort; comfortable
- fond of or given to ease; easygoing: an easy disposition.
- not harsh or strict; lenient: an easy master.
- not burdensome or oppressive: easy terms on a loan.
- not difficult to influence or overcome; compliant
In this life we are taught to fight and fight harder, to pray and pray harder, work and work harder. Life becomes exhausting drudgery in our feeble attempt to control, manipulate and fix everything we don’t like or that which is simply going haywire. The harder we try, the worse things often become because we needlessly wear out. We are enslaved by the heaviness of life.
If only we knew all that is required of those who are in Christ is to rest. Rest is the place of peace amid any storm, faith in the face of the impossible, quietude during chaos, joy in the midst of the unbearable, and to bask in the love of Christ when all other love has failed.
After all, how is working harder going to get God to usher into your life what He’s already finished? What is praying harder going to do to move Him? Why do we think more of us is required when less is actually the key? Praying once in confident faith God has already moved on your behalf is far more powerful than praying relentlessly expecting little to nothing to happen. Honestly, I don’t understand how one can productively “pray harder” as I hear so many folks say they do in crisis. I haven’t read anywhere in the Bible of that being a tool of God’s most faithful.
Praying without ceasing is not the same as praying harder which usually includes begging and pleading. We need to understand we are sons of God, heirs of His Kingdom, not paupers who beg for God’s leftovers and table scraps. He has ushered rest through Christ Jesus, not a call to more grueling laborious prayer and labor.
Christ never instructed us to work in the sense that we are to strive continuously to get from God that which we want and/or need. We are called to be at ease through unwavering faith in the Creator who is the lover of our souls. Stress, striving, and working with futility to please Him or get what we need are not the ways of God. Yes, we know that for those who “don’t work, don’t eat” but that’s the physical. Faith pleases God. Rest and peace are spiritual; they include knowing without doubting that God has already resolved whatever issue is at hand.
Yeshua need not “get to work” on your behalf as so many pray. All His work was completed before the foundation of the Earth, including Christ’s death and resurrection and our death and resurrection. There is nothing unresolved where God is concerned. We see this defined in Hebrews 4:3 which states with clarity, “For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, ‘As I swore in my anger, “They will never enter my rest!”’ And yet God’s works were accomplished from the foundation of the world.”
It is simply our position in Christ to rest during our prayers and fasting expecting the greatness and the fullness of God’s love to surface. The idea of “praying harder” is not something to which God has called His people. Rather, we are incited to pray in faith because His yoke is easy and the burden of following Him is light. Addressing life’s issues should be from the stance of, “Christ, You have completed this situation. Father, reveal to me how to pray so as to usher Your completed work. It’s already resolved, in Jesus’ name.” We pray from victory, not for it.
The depiction of “yoke” is that of enslavement for the oxen binding two together so as to accomplish their task; both work together exerting equal strength. Contrarily, God’s “yoke” is that of freedom. We become bound together with Christ so that our work is no longer required. Being so tethered, we allow Him to take us where He desires; He is the carrier and we are the passenger unlike the two oxen where both must work. Attached to Christ, yes we are enslaved to Him, but what He offers in such slavery grants freedom. It is His finished work alone that enacts our liberty and ease while bound. He has an easy yoke and a light burden.
It is the nature of the natural, fleshly man stemming from Adam that makes our yoke hard and our burdens heavy. Colossians 2:13 reads, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.” The flesh, aka the nature of sinful Adam, is death though having the appearance of life. Once in Christ, attempting to operate in the nature in which we are originally born is likened unto carrying around a dead man’s body trying to make it function as though alive. Though we move our hands and feet, we’re trying with futility to puppeteer a very heavy, clunky, awkward corpse. When, on the other hand, we relent to the eternal life of the Savior, burdens are lifted and yokes are made easy.
Chapter 1, When All My Strength has Failed
by Alexys V. Wolf