Matthew 11:29 says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” I like how both the MSG and TPT translations read also. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (MSG). “Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me” (TPT). Verse 30 says, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Let’s do a little word study on these two verses:
“Yoke” means, “to join or to couple.”
“Learn” means, “to learn by use or practice, to be in the habit of, accustomed to.”
“Burden” means, “load, obligation, invoice”
“Light” means, “light in weight, quick, agile.”
What Jesus Christ is telling us is that joining Him is a whole lot less obligatory than we think. Religion puts a heavy yoke of bondage on us, but relationship (knowing the Father’s heart) allows us to see God for who He really is through His Son, Jesus. And when we’re joined to Him, He takes away the load or an invoice-filled life where we always feel like we must do so many things to earn the righteousness of God.
There is nothing we can do to earn His righteousness. We must receive His gift and allow the Holy Spirit to lead our lives daily. There’s nothing good in us unless God is in us. Only God is good.
All of us have had trust issues because someone took advantage of our vulnerability. We know what disappointment feels like after finding out that what we shared got back to us somehow. And of course, this causes us to live a guarded life.
The only thing I feel led to share with you in this blog is that you can be guarded with people, but it is unhealthy to be guarded with God. He did not hurt you; man did. He can be trusted. Man cannot always be trusted.
Do not treat God like the person who harmed you. He is worthy to be trusted with your innermost thoughts and feelings. After all, He knows about them anyway. He just wants a deep relationship with you and wants you to feel safe to release it to Him.
Man being guarded is nothing new to God. He experienced this in Genesis when Adam ad Eve hid themselves behind the trees in the Garden after they sinned. God asked Adam, “where are you?” Even though God was not referring to a geographical location, it’s not that He didn’t know where He was in His heart. He could feel the separation.
So I challenge you this week to decide to view God differently. He is not who abused you, took advantage of you, or betrayed you. He is for you. He sent Christ to be the bridge for you to get to Him. He wants to talk with you everyday and give you a fulfilling life that is not based on things. He wants you. Let Him love you. Receive His love today.
Have you ever beat yourself up for a long period of time because you made a simple mistake? What about meditating so much on the mistake that you resolve that you are now a bad or incapable person? Friend, this is a prison of perfection.
See, perfection defined by this world is dotting every I and crossing every t. It puts way too much pressure on us to look perfect, sound perfect and be perfect. In and of ourselves without Christ, there is no way we can be perfect. We do not have it within our power to be perfect. Only God is perfect and good always. And with Christ, the umpire of our souls, and the Holy Spirit leading us, this is how we become perfect but in a different sense.
The Word tells us in Matthew 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (KJV). In the TPT version, it says, “Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, you are to be perfect like him.” The Word, “perfect” in this verse actually means, “complete, full grown, mature.” God’s definition of perfection is not works-driven, putting all the responsibility on us, and then after having found out that we cannot be perfect in ourselves, we condemn ourselves.
Perfection in the Lord’s eyes is based on His love. 1 John 4:18 says in the TPT version, “Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection.”
So going back to Matthew 5:48, when we substitute the word, “perfect” for “Complete and mature,” it now reads, “Be ye therefore Complete and mature, even as your Father which is in heaven is complete and mature” (KJV). “Since you are children of a Complete and Mature Father in heaven, you are to be complete and mature like him.” Keep in mind, in context, the verses prior to this one is dealing with loving our enemies and praying for people who despitefully use us.
So after having looked at the Scriptures, a lot of us have tried to live perfectly by not making mistakes when God is concerned about us receiving his love and loving others as he has loved us. Think about it. When you beat yourself up, how can you give yourself any mercy? How is that loving yourself? And you can’t give love to someone else when you have not received yourself.
Have you received his love today? Selah.
We often say, “be thankful, even for the little things,” but I’ve discovered that the little things are actually big things. The Word tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus” (GNT). In the King James version, it states that it is God’s will for us to be thankful. Gratefulness keep us mindful of what He is already done for us while, at the same time, keeps our heart out of feeling entitled.
So in my prayer time, I was thinking about “the little things” and what they point to, and my heart was filled with joy! God has done more than enough! Think about it! The feeling of a full belly means that you were fed, that God gave you the means to buy your meal or the ability to prepare it. The smell of sheets coming out of the dryer says that you have a bed to put the sheets on to sleep comfortably every night, that you are covered with shelter in all seasons. The pressures that come with being a spouse, a parent or a leader of any kind says that you have been trusted to lead someone, to serve someone, to be an example, that you are looked up to in some way. Your keys mean that you have access to something. Having loads of work to do means you have a job.
We can go on and on if we focus on what the Lord has already done for us. I believe that if we deliberately decide to be grateful every day it will lift our hearts and help us to think soberly. It’s hard to make decisions that glorify God when we feel entitled and frustrated. So consider that the little things you have are actually big things.