When we are not getting our security, self-worth and significance from God, then we will strive on our own to get it. But it will be very exhausting and frustrating. Jesus calls us instead to go to Him and be yoked to Him. When we are yoked to Him, though we would be working on the outside, we will be at rest inside. This is the faith that we are called to return to – resting in complete trust and abandonment upon God. We are to be yoked to Him, not anyone or anything else. When we are yoked to Him and resting in His love, we don’t have to strive to be loved and accepted or to be somebody to have an identity, and we will not be fearful of the future. Neither will we need to strive to bear fruit. We just need to remain in Jesus and we will bear fruit. We would function only according to what He designed us to be.
In Kingdom 40 and 41, I talked about God having designed us such that only He can meet our need for security, self-worth and significance. When we don’t realize this, we will strive on our own to feel secure and loved and accepted and to have our sense of identity and self-worth. So we set goals that we think will fulfill these needs in us, but when we feel our goals are blocked, or we feel uncertain about achieving our goals, or we feel incapable of achieving them, then we become angry, or anxious or ashamed. All very exhausting and frustrating. If we think about it, we will realize that all problems in human relationships, in fact all problems in the world, arise actually out of these unfulfilled needs inside of us.
If we are not to strive on our own, how then are we to function? This is what I want to focus on in this segment. In Matt.11:28-30 Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
What is this yoke and what is this rest? A yoke is a wooden harness that farmers put on two horses or oxen to pull the plough for tilling the soil on their farm. So when Jesus talks about being yoked to Him, there is work to be done. But how can there be work and rest at the same time? Sounds like a contradiction in terms, isn’t it?
I’ll come to the yoke later, but first, what is this rest that Jesus talks about? This rest I believe, is the rest that we will experience when our faith is in God, not in people, or things, or systems, or ourselves. You remember in Kingdom 22, I talked about the word “believe” in Jn.3:16? In the original Greek “believe” is “pisteuo”. Pisteuo is a verb which means to surrender, to yield, to abandon oneself in complete trust, and to rest upon. The noun of pisteuo is pistis, and in English it is translated as “faith”, which actually means the same thing. It’s just that it’s a noun instead of being a verb. So what does it mean to have faith in God? It is to be surrendered, and yielded and resting .. resting in complete trust and abandonment upon God.
This is the rest I believe Jesus is calling us to. When our rest or our faith is in God, not in people or systems, or things, or ourselves, then we will find in Him the security and love and sense of self-worth we need. This is what God originally intended us for – a life of total dependence upon Him. Constantly drawing life from Him. The picture Jesus gave us is the Vine and branches in Jn.15. We don’t have to strive to bear fruit. We just need to remain in Jesus and as His life and His Spirit lives in us, we will bear fruit.
What happens if I really know God’s love and I rest in His love? 3 things :
First, if I really know God’s love and I rest in His love, then I don’t have to do anything, or be anything, to earn His love, or anyone else’s love. It will no longer be important how others see me; whether they love me or accept me; and it doesn’t matter whether others misunderstand me or reject me. I know I am loved, and accepted and valued by God.
Second, when I know God loves me and I rest in His love, then I don’t have to try to be somebody to feel a sense of worth. God values me for who He created me to be, not in how well I can perform, right?
Third, when I know God loves me and I rest in His love, then I need not fear anything. I will not be fearful of my future. Nor will I need to strive to make things work in my favor. When God is my security, I know He will provide for all my needs and the needs of my family.
Actually I have more than 23 years of stories of how God has provided. Many years ago a dear sister who is like a spiritual mother to me said this to me. She said, “Eng Hoe, you know the miracle of finances you have been experiencing so many years is I think even more amazing than people being healed of cancer, because the problem of money, of how it grips us, is common to everyone. So you need to share your stories so that people can be set free of this fear.” Perhaps I might share my stories another time, but then again I might not because you know talking about money can so easily be misunderstood as prosperity teaching, ya?
The main thing I want to say is this. Knowing the Father’s love is everything. If we are to be in His Kingdom, I believe this is the first and most fundamental thing God wants us to know deep in our hearts.
And another thing, when we rest in His love, we will also get from Him our sense of worth and identity. Before Jesus started doing any preaching or teaching or healing, His Father said, “This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased”. That’s the same way I believe we are to be in relation to Him. Resting in His love. Not a sense of duty like what the Jews had where they thought they had to do things to please God. Remember what Jesus said in Jn.15, “I no longer call you my servants. I call you My friends.”
But there’s one thing I must clarify. Rest does not mean no work. There is work to be done. Lots of work. While each of us need to rest in His love, it must be remembered that we were created to be fruitful and to multiply. In today’s contemporary language, I believe that means we were created to be productive. Although it is not how productive we can be that should give us a sense of significance or worth, nevertheless God is going to call us to account for the gifts and purpose and potential He created us for.
Acts 13:36 talks about David having served God’s purpose in his generation. So if we love God, we would also want to serve God’s purpose for us before our life is over, right? But we don’t have to figure out on our own what that is or try and achieve anything on our own. This is where we come back to the yoke that Jesus talked about.
There are five things I think we can note from what Jesus said. First, Jesus said, “Come to Me”. That means no formula. No technique. Not going to some prophet and asking him to lay hands on us. Or going to some meeting to catch the anointing there .. as some people put it. We have to go to Him.
Second, Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you”. He calls us to be yoked to Him. Not to be yoked to anyone or anything else. Over the years I have come across cases of people in burnout serving some very ambitious and hard driving leaders. That’s not only in the world but also in church and Christian ministry. Leaders lay unnecessary burdens on their people and put them on a guilt trip to reach out to more people, to save more souls, or to give more money to the church. Some actually shamelessly say it – they tell their people they need to work harder at improving the image of their church. They are putting their people under a yoke of slavery and playing god in the lives of their people. What they are doing is they are actually commanding worship from their people. The word “worship” comes from the word “worth”. To worship is to deeply value and give our worth to something. So what these leaders are doing is they are usurping God in the lives and in the hearts of their people. Let’s remember this – we are to be yoked to Jesus, not to anyone or anything else.
Third, when we are yoked to Him, He promises us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. That tells us that what He calls us to and lays on us is just what He made us for. Not something that is beyond us. Not what people or the world expects of us. Not things that are actually for others to be responsible for. So using the metaphor that Paul used in 1 Corinthians 12, the eye or the ear must function according to what they were made to be. It would not do for the eye or ear to try to do the work of the hand. And the hand must of course not try to do the work of the eye or the ear.
If we are really yoked to Him, He will reveal to us what He has designed us to be, and what part He has for each of us in His plans and purposes. We don’t have to try and figure it out on our own as to what we are to do, or where we are going to end up.
My time is up. I’ll continue with points 4, 5 and 6 in Kingdom 43.
These are transcripts of audio messages so they are better heard than read. If you would like to listen to them, the audio clips can be found here : https://goo.gl/KN4JYL . It’s a folder on googledrive, so you’ll need to sign in with your google account username and password (or sign up for a google account) to be able to access it.