29 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.
30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Jesus used the picture of yoked oxen plowing a field. Some say in Bible days a farmer would yoke a young ox together with an older, well-trained ox so that it could learn to plow a straight furrow in the field. Christ wants us to be yoked with Him so that we can learn from Him how to walk with God.
1. The wrong yoke
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
This yoke of slavery is the yoke of self-effort. This is a heavy yoke because we try to do it all in our own strength.
There are three yokes which we need to be careful about.
a. The yoke of the law.
Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?
b. The yoke of the world.
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
c. The yoke of the flesh.
My sins have been bound into a yoke ; by his hands they were woven together. They have come upon my neck and the Lord has sapped my strength. He has handed me over to those I cannot withstand.
2. Breaking the Old Yoke
Jesus refuses to be yoked with our old self.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15
14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
That means if He wants us to be yoked with Him, He must first destroy the old yoke. And that is exactly what Jesus did at the Cross.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--
5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.
6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
3. Yoked to Jesus
God wants us to be yoked with Christ. This means that Jesus carries the heaviest load. This is why His "yoke is easy" and His "burden is light." His strength, righteousness and life are transferred to us. His footsteps become our footsteps. This is how the Christian life has been designed to work.
4. A daily yoke
The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
In taking His yoke upon us Jesus told us to learn from Him. This is how we learn from Jesus...
Give us each day our daily bread.
b. Spend time in God's word.
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
c. Experience God's grace
2 Corinthians 4:16
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
d. Fellowship together
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
e. Work with God.
Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."
f. Take up our cross and follow Him.
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
When we start off the day with Jesus, we continue through the day yoked to Him. When distractions come, the gentle yoke of Jesus pulls us back on track. As Jesus walks the straight line in His Father's will, so we also walk the straight line God has set for us.
Let us make a decision to be yoked with him, because in the yoke of Jesus we discover true victory, true freedom and true life.
1 Peter 2:21
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.