When Paul refers to his experiences serving Christ, he sometimes uses words like toil and hardship.
Jesus said for His disciples to take up their crosses. (Luke 9:23)
Any follower of Christ can tell you that the Christian life is far from a ticket to earthly prosperity and comfort and happiness. In fact, the reverse often seems to be the case.
But in the middle of all of this, Jesus tells us that “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
How can Jesus make this promise in the midst of the hardship that often accompanies Christianity?
Christ’s Yoke Includes Christ’s Power
A yoke was a wooden collar that was placed on oxen so that they could pull plows and carts. The idea of a yoke was a popular metaphor for a responsibility to uphold or a law to obey.
To take on Christ’s yoke was to accept the path and burdens of the Christian life. And it’s easy for us to focus on those burdens and not see the true force of what’s happening.
Thank God, the burdens are not the only things that we take on with Christ’s yoke. We can say that His yoke is easy – because with the yoke comes His power.
If we were out there striving by ourselves, the Christian life would be immeasurably difficult. But when we follow Him, we can join with Paul in saying that we struggle “with all His energy that He powerfully works within me.” (Colossians 1:29)
1. Christ’s Power Includes Perspective on Eternity
We live in a physical world. A world with advertising and taxes and bad backs – and it’s really easy for us to forget that this thing we call life on Earth is actually just a small blip on the timeline of eternity.
But Christ helps us see things as they really are. The Holy Spirit within us reminds us that our earthly comforts are meaningless in the scheme of eternity. The hard work and sleepless nights that Paul endured didn’t matter to him, because he saw their temporary nature.
2. Christ’s Power Includes Perspective on His Law
When Christ begins to change our hearts, we realize that his standard is ultimately a good and beautiful thing. We can see that his commands are given to us not to cramp our style but to keep us from harm. They become delightful in our eyes.
3. Christ’s Yoke Includes Perspective on the Father
Shortly before Jesus tells us that His yoke is easy, He talks about how He is the one that reveals the Father to His disciples. The easy yoke is directly related to this.
Christ gives us the power to obey, because He shows us how God is infinitely wonderful and worthy of obedience. He shifts our desire away from earthly comfort and towards God.
The Easy Yoke of Toil
No one said it was going to be a cakewalk. It’s going to be tough. Sleepless nights. Hard work.
But I pray that I would remember the whole of what I have taken on as a Christian. Not just the toil and sweat, but the power of Christ and the privilege of a relationship with Him.
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