Charles Stanley - Yoked With Jesus
When I go to the mailbox at my house where I live and I pull the front door down, it just gushes out with stuff. And your mailbox is probably the same. You ask me what it is, I don't know what most of it is. Finally, I conclude, this is just another bunch of junk because there's not much in there worth reading. Sometimes things, I think, "Well, where did this come from"? And so, there's no real good message. Every once in a while, the message may be good, but not often so. Then I think about something else I open. There's no junk mail in this. Everything in here is true. The promises far outweigh what I'm asked to give.
There's nothing like opening the Word of God and listening to the voice of God, what He has to say to us. Sometimes on holidays, there's no mail, no holiday for the Word of God. It's always open, always available, always ready to answer some particular need or some particular petition that we have. So, I wonder how often you pick up the Word of God, open it to read it just for yourself? Or do you put off to maybe tonight or maybe tomorrow or, "I won't get into that today," or whatever it might be? But every time you open the Word of God, He has something to say. Junk mail is stuff that you look at and toss in the trashcan.
Is there anything in this Book you'd take out and throw in the trashcan? Nothing. Then why not read it every single day? If you believe this is God's Word, that it came from God, that it's absolutely accurate because it is God's Word, that it applies to you, that He has a message in here for you, why not read it every single day? So, I want you to turn to Matthew chapter eleven, and I want us to look beginning in verse twenty-eight, just three verses here, but an awesome invitation from our Lord that we should respond to. Listen to what He says, "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light".
Now, there are no disappointments in the promises of our Lord. He offers us the privilege of getting under a yoke with Him. And what He says is, "Take My yoke upon you". And He didn't say take a yoke, but "My yoke". He knows there are lots of yokes. People are under the yoke of alcohol, under the yoke of sex, under the yoke of all kinds of burdens, of debt, and you name it. "Take My yoke upon you, learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and You will find rest unto your souls".
So, let me ask you a question. When you think about your life today, is there anything that you feel in the morning when you get up, during the day, on your job or whatever you're doing? Like a yoke, something that's a little heavy on you. Maybe it's a debt. Maybe it's a relationship that's not right, but some kind of yoke that you feel in your life. Well, according to the Scripture, He says, "Come to me, and I will give you rest". Swap your yoke for Mine. "Take My yoke upon you," and then He says, listen, "and learn from Me". Learn from Me, "I'm gentle, I'm humble in heart, and with My yoke, you'll find rest for your soul".
What an awesome promise, for anybody can get under a yoke today. People are under the yoke of debt, wrong relationships, all kind of things. Here is an invitation from the Lord Jesus Christ to remove the yoke and to give us a different kind of yoke. So, He says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden". So, I want to ask you a question to think about this. Which one of these words describes the yoke that you're feeling? Maybe it's not rubbing you too bad today, but maybe it is. Something that you wake up with, something that you get up with in the morning, something that you sleep with, something that bothers you during the day.
Listen, He said all who are tired, who are weary, who are discouraged, who are burdened, hopeless, who feel helpless, feel like giving up, just the awesome, daily pressures of life, who feel exhausted, weighted down with a heavy load they cannot escape. Many people are described by those words. People are bearing burdens. So, He says, "Take My yoke upon you". That is, "I'm going to give you a different kind of yoke," and He's the yoke-maker. God has made a yoke for all of us. So, I want to be sure you understand that. And so, I have a picture I want to put up here. Here's what a yoke is.
Now, a yoke is this heavy bar they put over the neck of two animals because that gave them twice as much energy; that is, two animals can pull better than one. But what I want you to notice is this, a yoke puts two things together. A yoke puts two animals together. Listen to what Jesus said, "My yoke upon you, for my yoke is easy". It's gentle. That is, think about this, now think clearly, you see that? I want you to notice that there's room for two, the animal and the other animal. Jesus says, put My yoke upon you, who's in the other yoke? It's you on the one side, Jesus on the other.
Now, the reason He put it that a way is because everybody in those days knew what a yoke was. They knew that two oxen could pull more than one and pull longer than one. And that the load was shifted a little between the two. Jesus said, "Put My yoke upon you," and here's what He's saying, "Yoke yourself up with Me. Get your relationship with Me right. When you receive Me as your Savior, yield to Me as your Lord, I bear the greater part of the burden that you are feeling. I know that you're feeling it, I'm with you in this". He promises us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I'll give you rest".
That is, most people in this day and time are troubled about something. They wake up troubled. They walk with it all day. They go to bed with it at night, trouble of some sort. Restless, dissatisfied with things about their life or their relationships, whatever it might be. Jesus's yoke is the kind that sets us free, "Take My yoke upon you, for My yoke is easy". It's gentle. It makes a difference. So, let's think about what that's all about. Because most people are unhappy about something in life. They'd like to get rid of something or have something. They'd like to change something in their life.
Jesus knew all about that because He lived in a society that was full of fear and enslavement and punishment and death and suffering, sickness, and all the rest. And He calls the people to Him, He says, "Take My yoke upon you". He's not saying, "You just want to be free from everything? No. "I have a yoke. What I want you to do is to get under My yoke with Me and let Me help pull you through your life. Let Me help bear the burdens and the heartaches and the troubles and the trials. God doesn't want you going to bed every night troubled about something, waking up troubled, turning over, and tossing all night long troubled. He wants us to be free. And He's made it possible for us to be free.
And when He says, "Come to me," it's coming to freedom. "I will give you rest". He knows how troubled people are, and how confused and frustrated and hopeless they feel. "I will give you rest". If I'm at rest, I'm not troubled. If I'm at rest, I'm not worried. If I'm at rest, I have a peace. And He says, "Come to me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you". Watch this carefully, you and I were made to live with the yoke of Christ. Jesus says He is our life. He is our very life. He's the one who takes the load. He's the one who shows the way. He's the one who takes the burden. He's the one who changes things for us, not temporarily, but permanently.
"Take My yoke upon you, learn of Me. Learn the truth about Me," Jesus says, and here's what you'll learn: meek and lowly in heart, and you'll find absolute rest to your souls. So, all kinds of people who are surrounding Him all the time. Never did He walk anywhere, hardly, by Himself because people were in need. They were crying out, like Bartimaeus, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy upon me". So somebody says, "Well now, I don't think Jesus really felt the kind of stuff we feel, and I don't think that's who He was".
But listen to this, Jesus met this woman at the well, you remember, "So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph, and Jacob's well was there". Watch this, "So Jesus, being wearied," tired, rather exhausted, "from His journey was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour". Did Jesus get tired? Yes, He did. Not spiritually, but Jesus got tired. He had relationships. We know about Mary and Martha and Lazarus. We know about others and His disciples. But He had lots of enemies, lots of enemies. He never had to bear any of them alone. Here's what He's saying to us: neither do you.
You don't have to bear it alone. "My yoke is easy, My burden is light. Life is going to change. Life is going to change when it's no longer alone, me, myself and I. But no, watch this, once you get under the yoke with Jesus, which we'll explain in a moment, once you get under that yoke, you always have the One yoked with you who takes the weight, and all the stuff that you have to bear in life. It's like when He's there, you just tell Him about it. He knows about it. Watch this, He says, "My yoke is easy".
I love that. I want to say, "Well, Lord, now there've been some times in my life when I thought it really wasn't all that easy". But you know what? He doesn't mean it will all go away necessarily, but He'll make it easy. He desires to walk with us. Watch this, that physical yoke kept oxen together to bear the load. This spiritual yoke has no weight, and it has rest. It has peace. Something happens when you are able in your mind and heart to surrender your life to Jesus Christ. Because you see, those two oxen had to work together.
This may have been the stronger one, but here's a weak one, but together they could do it, whatever the job was. He says, "Take My yoke upon you, learn of Me. learn about Me. Learn how I operate. Learn the things you've heard about Me. Learn how I work in people's lives. Learn from me". He says, "Take My yoke. Get under the truth with Me and watch what I do. It will change your life. And if I could nail it all in one word: trust. Trust, trust, trust. You trust this burden to Him, and that burden and this habit and this issue and this problem, this heartache. He says, "My yoke is easy. My burden is light".
Watch this, He can handle anything and everything. And this promise is a solemn promise. You'll find rest to your souls. That means you eliminate the uncertainty, the fear, the anxiety, the despair where most people are living. Doesn't mean that there won't be any issues in your life, but the difference is this: whatever one oxen felt, the other one was there to bear the load. Watch this, remember this, are you listening? Say amen. As a child of God, when you are surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ and you're walking in fellowship with Him, you, watch this, you cannot, not may not, you cannot face any situation alone. Here's the promise, "I'll never leave you nor forsake you". This is what God says. I will never leave you nor forsake you.
And I think in the most beautiful way, he said a yoke. A yoke puts those two ox together and they are bound together. They operate together. Think about this, if you woke up every morning thinking, "Thank You, Jesus. You and I, You and I, Jesus this, You and I, Jesus that, you and I, you and I, you and I, Jesus. You said if I yoke myself with You, which is an act of faith, I'm surrendering my life to You. I choose to follow You. I am yoked with You". And the reason I put the picture up there is I wanted you to see that and remember what a yoke is.
Watch this, you wake up every morning, it's you and Jesus. You go to bed every night, it's you and Jesus. It's all about a relationship. It's not a wooden piece you hang on your shoulders, but in the spiritual world, it is a relationship. And watch this, when you have Him, what do you need He'll not provide? He promises to provide every need. He promises to answer our prayers. He promises to bear our burdens. He promises to forgive our sins. When you think about living with Jesus, being in a yoke with Him, what more do you need? Whatever comes along in life, you can face it. Why?
Watch this, because you're not facing it alone. You're facing it with Him. Omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, all-knowing, all-loving God, who went to the cross for us. He is the One with whom we are yoked to. You don't have to live facing life, but the way you face it. It's a matter of trusting Him. Listen, "My yoke is easy. My burden is light". When you and I try to live our lives apart from Jesus Christ, in submission to His will, we will be in trouble. Look around you. Look at your friends. Look at people everywhere. They have all kind of issues in life that are unnecessary. He said, "My yoke is easy. My burden is light. Take My yoke upon you".
You surrender your life to Him. It's an act of your will. It's a decision that you make. "Lord, I'm not doing very well the way I'm doing". When you're under the yoke of Him, that is, you have surrendered your life to Him, to walk with Him, to obey Him, you have the load-bearer. You have the rest-fixer. You have the One who will enable you to take, in other words, He limits every heartache we have and every burden, He does.
And when I meet people who have gone through trials like I've never heard before, a smile on their face, sense of joy and peace and confidence. And then I meet people who have far less problems, but who have no relationship to Jesus, they're miserable, they're miserable. They're angry. They're angry at themselves. They're angry at their circumstances, angry at their boss, angry at their friends, oftentimes. Angry for the situation they're living in. They're angry about everything. And about everything they do, the anger pops up some way and somehow. What a difference.
And Jesus says, "My peace I give unto you, not as the world," which is all frustrated, "not as the world gives, My peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled". Hallelujah. "Let not your heart be troubled". So, when He talks in terms of easy and light, in other words, the weight of burden, when you are living yoked to the Lord Jesus Christ and trusting Him, He can take the weight of anything and lift it, listen, I have yoked my life to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have surrendered myself to Him, to allow Him to govern and guide and guard my life. Everything changes. Because the world in which you and I live is full of heartache, misery, troubles, trials, you name it.
Think about this, Jesus said, "My yoke is easy and light. Get under the yoke with Me". And we think that we can handle life without it? You say, "Well, how do I do that"? Here's how you do it. First of all, you acknowledge that you need Him. You don't think you need Jesus, you're in real trouble. You're like an ox in the ditch, up to his neck in mud, if you don't have Jesus. "My yoke is easy". "Lord, I surrender my life to You and Your way. I'm going to walk with You. I'm going to follow You. I'm going to trust You to guide me. And Lord, because we're linked up by faith, I'm going to trust You for everything all the time".
It's a yoke that He makes for every person who's wise enough to surrender their life to the Lord. You don't have to live the way you're living. "My yoke is easy," listen, He says, "My burden is light". So, it's a choice we make. You're going to face life doing it your way, your timing, and thinking somehow, you're going to make it. No. Listen to this, this is God's personal invitation to everybody. "Come unto Me all you that are heavy-laden, burdened down, whatever the cause, I'll give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, learn about Me, how I operate, I'll give you rest to your soul. I'll make the hard easier. When you face heartaches and burdens, you've got Me. And I'll carry the load. You may be experiencing it, but I'm going to carry the load. It may be there troubling you at times, I'm carrying the load. We're going to make it. You don't have to fear about that".
If you have never trusted Jesus as your Savior, do you know what He's saying? You've decided to live your life thinking that you're going to make it, that you and I find real peace and joy and happiness and security and confidence without God. No, you're not. Why do you think this world is in such a mess? People acting the way they're acting. Can't control themselves. "Take My yoke upon you, for I'm meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest".
So, would you say that you're yoked up with Jesus? You say, "Well no, but how do I do that"? Here's how you do it. You ask the Lord to forgive you of your sin. You want to join up with Him. You want Him to be the yoke-master. You want to join up yoked with Jesus. You are choosing His way of life, walking at His speed, in His direction, according to His will. You yield your life to Him by faith, surrendering to Him and picturing yourself under the yoke, and watch what He does in your life.
It's a decision you make. It's a commitment you make. It's a surrender you make, yoked. Yoked to the Lord Jesus Christ, it will change your life. "My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives". Look what they do. "My peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled". Join with Jesus under the yoke. Amen?
Father, we love You and praise You and thank You for picturing for us so simply what all of us need, of the full surrender of our life to You, and then watch You work. What an awesome difference when You're in control, when we're surrendered to You, when we're yielded to You. You change what needs to be changed. You fill up what's empty. You meet every single need. When we face great turmoil in life, we have this awesome sense of indescribable confidence and boldness and assurance. We have made a decision to yoke up with the Lord Jesus Christ, for many the first time. Would You demonstrate Your awesome, indescribable power and love and gracious kindness to every person who has made that decision, is my prayer in Jesus's name, amen?