Day 7: Exchanging Burdens
Sunday, February 13, 2022
As we come to the end of our first week of prayer and fasting, let’s reflect on the work God has been doing in us to cultivate a right heart. We pursue him by spending time alone in prayer (Matthew 6:6). Our goal is to be with Jesus, to seek to become like him in each part of our lives and live as he would if he were in our shoes. We can’t do that unless we prioritize time with him in prayer. Times of prayer and fasting give God even more access to work in us and transform us to be more like him.
This is our third day of carefully exploring Jesus’ invitation to a life of rest found in Matthew 11. He offers to exchange our burdens, and our way of living, for something new. In its place, he gives us his yoke. Let’s examine what that means.
Matthew 11:28-30; Psalm 55:22
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’”
“Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”
Jesus’ yoke is a new way to live. So, what does that mean? First, it’s necessary to understand what a yoke is. It was a farming instrument, a tool for productivity. It went around the neck of two oxen so they could walk side by side to plow fields and carry heavier loads. In short, a yoke is for work, not rest.
Jesus meant his yoke is a “new way to carry life,” according to author John Mark Comer. When we take Jesus’ yoke, it means doing life at his pace and in his way. Imagine how much better that would be than trying to go through the challenges of life on our own. Pastor Comer writes:
“That’s why Jesus doesn’t offer us an escape. He offers us something far better: ‘equipment.’ He offers his apprentices a whole new way to bear the weight of our humanity: with ease. At his side. Like two oxen in a field, tied shoulder to shoulder. With Jesus doing all the heavy lifting. At his pace. Slow, unhurried, present to the moment, full of love and joy and peace. An easy life isn’t an option; an easy yoke is.”
We will never live a life without burdens. The question is how we go about it. And the secret to the life Jesus offers is that we do it with Him. We aren’t alone, and it’s not all up to us. He lifts our heaviest burdens when we choose to follow Him and do life His way. That is why we pursue closeness with Jesus through time alone in prayer. It is where we learn to follow His pace by better aligning our inner world of the heart and soul with God.
Starting next week, we will explore practices to help us live that kind of life. We will begin by exploring silence and solitude, which are a few of the specific habits Jesus adopted in his own life. Then we can better follow his example in both his pace and prayer life
Ask Jesus to show you how to live with his yoke, doing life his way. Meditate on the words of Psalm 55:22. Keep asking God to align your heart and soul with His.
Prayer: “Jesus, I want to accept your yoke. I want to go through life at your side. Help me to see as you see and live as you live. Help me to learn your rhythms of pace and prayer. Even if I slip, thank you that you help me get back up. From my innermost being to my behaviors, habits, words, relationships, and time, my whole life is yours. Lead me and live through me. Amen.”
By Dave Mann
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