Recently I heard an excellent devotional prepared by a friend on the subject of yokes. As I meditated on her words, I began to realize that it is very easy to take on a heavy yoke without realizing it.
After all, Jesus did say, ” These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation [trouble]; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NKJV) Challenges and troubles do not magically vanish from our lives merely because we are Christians; on the contrary, we can expect trials and tribulations from time to time. Of course, we believe that Jesus has overcome the world, and with it all the attendant troubles, but sometimes we do not feel very victorious!
The key to overcoming those challenges is how I manage them. Often, I am overcome by the weight of the problems I confront; in seeking to resolve them righteously, I tend to bear the burden without remembering that the main part of the load is something Jesus promises to bear. Peter encouraged us to give all our worries and cares to God Jesus, for He cares about us (1 Peter 5:7, NLT).
Although Jesus told us to expect tribulation in this life, He also tells us His yoke is easy:
Is Jesus contradicting Himself? He promises we will face trials, urges us to cast our cares on Him, then tells us His burden is light. How can that be?
If we remember that Jesus bore the weight of all the sins of the world on the Cross, we can understand that rolling the weight of our troubles onto Him is equivalent to placing those situations on the Cross. As a result of His resurrection, the weight of our sins, challenges, trials, problems, and pain is no longer heavy or burdensome, not even to the Lord of Heaven and Earth, as He already bore that weight for us.
Seemingly identical objects manufactured from different materials can have very different weights. For example, an enamel-coated aluminum pan would be far easier to pick up than an enamel-coated cast iron pan of the same size. We might not even notice the difference until we attempted to pick them up!
I have discovered that this same principle is operative for me in regard to my burden-bearing tendencies: often I begin to respond to the call of the Holy Spirit to pray for someone, resolve a complex spiritual problem, give advice, or intercede for a very dark issue, only to find myself pinned under the weight of the problem I thought I was responding to in a righteous manner. When I find myself paralyzed with the heaviness of the troubles of this life, it is because I have unwittingly picked up the wrong yoke! It LOOKED like Jesus’ yoke, but it was not at all light or easy.
Father, show me where I have shouldered burdens you already paid for at the Cross; help me to lay down counterfeit yokes (which are always too burdensome for me!) and pick up YOUR yoke. Your yoke is easy, and Your burden is light. Thank You for hitching me to Your yoke with You, Jesus. You are able to pull me through any trouble we face!