“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”Jesus (Matt 11:28-30 CEB)
Probably the most difficult part of receiving the easy yoke of Jesus is removing whatever yoke we’re currently wearing that is making us struggle hard under its weight. Jesus is speaking of replacing our heavy loads with his light burden, our hard yokes with his easy yoke.
Jesus speaks these famous words right after reproaching the cities that refused to repent, even after he had performed works of power in them. People who were weighed down under heavy loads that blinded them to the reality of what was taking place before their eyes. People struggling with yokes that were crushing them, but who refused to lay their hard yokes aside for the easy yoke of Jesus.
You can’t add Jesus’s easy yoke to your hard yoke. That’s now how yokes work. You can only wear one at a time. I wonder what yokes we carry that make us struggle hard under their heavy loads? What heavy loads do we need to set aside so we can repent and learn from Jesus? What yokes do we need to remove before we can receive the easy yoke of Jesus?
- The yoke of taking responsibility for other people’s feelings?
- The yoke of needing to be the smartest or funniest or most good-looking person in the room?
- The yoke of not being a bother to others?
- The yoke of needing to feel useful or helpful?
- The yoke of needing to be praised?
- The yoke of needing to never be noticed?
- The yoke of being in charge of keeping myself safe?
- The yoke of not being able to say “No” to my desires?
These are the heavy loads that are crushing us. Let’s set them aside and put on the easy yoke of Jesus and learn from him how to really live.