We were born independent of God and we are by nature independent of God. This independence is not only with those who are unbelievers, but also in us who are trying to serve God and trying to do what is right and good and necessary. But Jesus calls us to be yoked to Him, meaning not to work on our own. When we are yoked to Him, then we have to keep pace with Him and walk in tandem with Him. There are tremendous needs in the world and we need to work with the Lord for His truth and life to undo and reverse what the devil has done, but only the Spirit can establish God’s Kingdom. Unless God directs, all our cleverness and ideas are flesh. The ways of the world cannot do the work of the Spirit in people. We are to learn from Jesus moment to moment dependence on God doing only what His Father did. No striving. Working with Him but resting in Him at the same time.
In the previous clip I said there are 5 points we can note from what Jesus said in Matt.11:28-30. I’ve mentioned 3 points already. Before I get on to the 4th point, I think should mention that as I am talking about being yoked to Jesus, I am already touching on the 3rd part of this series which is about working with God for His kingdom to advance. I haven’t actually started on the 3rd part yet, because when we really get into the subject of working with God for His kingdom to advance, I will get into specifics, like what is poverty and how are we to work with God for His Kingdom to come to the poor, or how are we to love people, or what does it mean to be a witness for the Lord and to be agents of Kingdom transformation in the world today, especially in our workplaces. Right now as I am talking about being yoked to Jesus, and working from a position of rest, I am only touching on general principles about working with God.
OK, now the fourth point that we must note from what Jesus said. Jesus calls us to be yoked to Him, meaning not to work on our own. This should already be obvious but let me say it anyway because we are so prone to running ahead of Him and doing what we are sure is God’s will, isn’t it? We were born independent of God and we are by nature independent of God. This independence is not only with those who are unbelievers who live their lives in disregard of God, but this independence is also in us. In us who are trying to serve God and trying to do what is right and good and necessary.
I don’t know about you, but as you have heard me mention before, I am a horse sort of person and for many years I was running on my own steam trying very hard to save the world as it were. It has taken many years of breaking but I think after lot of painful breaking .. I think I am finally learning to be yoked to Him. So what does it mean to be yoked to Jesus? Well, when we are yoked to Him, then we have to keep pace with Him. Not pulling ahead of Him or lagging behind. When He takes one step, we take one step together with Him. When He takes two steps, we take two steps in tandem with Him. When He stops, we stop. Easy. No striving. No stress and anxiety. No hurry, nor any unnecessary delay. Whatever He decides is fine. When we are yoked to Him and work with Him, He said we will find rest for our souls. Why? Because when He is in control, and He is leading, we can rest in the assurance that He knows best. So we just let Him lead. We just follow.
BTW, when I say “easy”, that does not mean easy work. The work can be hard. Very hard. The world has been operating on more than 5000 years of lies and deception. The devil has wrecked havoc on this world. Millions and millions and billions of people are in deception. People have wrong and distorted ideas about God and about life. Many are not even sure if there is a God or who He is and what He’s like. So many have wrong ideas what they are living for or why they even exist. So many lives are in ruin physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. So much brokenness and division between people, even between ethnic groups and between the rich and the poor. The devil has been very successful at dividing people.
But 1 Jn.3:8 tells us that Jesus came to destroy what the devil has done. There’s so much that needs to be undone. So much death and destruction. So much poverty, human trafficking, crime, injustice, corruption, political abuse, broken families, addictions, materialism, and false religions. Jesus said the devil has come to steal, kill and destroy, but He came to give abundant life. So there is so much we are to work with Him for His truth and His life to come to reverse the death and destruction. Even just distortions of the truth and wrong ideas of spirituality among Christians and churches alone, is a massive thing to deal with.
The needs are tremendous. So it is not easy work. We are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, so it will require a lot of our physical, mental, and emotional energy. But if we are yoked to Jesus, though the work may be hard, Jesus tells us that inside us we would be at rest. When we depend on Him to lead and direct us, we don’t have to figure out on our own how to go about the work, or to work on our own strength. Indeed we can’t. Only He knows exactly what is needed for each problem and for each situation. And only He can direct us and tell us what to do and how to do it.
We need to be reminded of this from time to time – in Jn.3:6 Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” In Jn.6:63, Jesus said, “It is the spirit that gives life. The flesh profits nothing.” God’s Kingdom can only be established by His Spirit. All our ideas and cleverness are just flesh. From the time I was a young believer the Lord had impressed this deeply into my heart that His ways are not our ways, and the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. It is futile and indeed foolishness if we think that we need to follow the ways of the world to attract people to Jesus. So many leaders nowadays are thinking what we need is more attractive programs, more powerful music, better sound systems and the latest electronic gadgetry. If Jesus were here with us today, do you think that’s what He would do to try and attract and win people to Him? That which is born of the flesh is flesh.
Step back for a moment and think about this. What does it take for someone to be born again? Jesus said he or she needs to be born of the Spirit. Now everything we see around us is created, right? Even angels who are invisible to us are created. There is only one thing or only One being in the universe who is uncreated – that’s God Himself and His eternal Spirit. What does it take for someone to have a spiritual birth? That which is uncreated and eternal has to come into a finite being and do something inside the person so that he will have an uncreated eternal nature within him.
Jesus said, “The wind blows where it will. You can hear its sound but you do not know where it comes from and where it goes to. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Who can have any control or any handle over the wind, or make it go this way or that way? In other words, spiritual birth is not something that finite flesh and finite ideas can bring out. As Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world”. God’s Kingdom does not come about through the ways of this world.
This is not only in spiritual birth but for anything and everything in the Kingdom. So whether we are talking to someone about Jesus, or we are counselling someone, or we are dealing with some practical issues, God alone knows exactly what the problem is, and what exactly is in the heart and mind of each person. Everything about his past, all his prejudices and bias, and what exactly will open his eyes to bring about a change of heart. Only He can show us how we are to go about doing anything that will have eternal value and eternal results. Right? Think about it.
Fifth point, note that Jesus also said “Learn from Me”, so we are to learn from Jesus how He Himself functioned. In Jn.5:19 Jesus said, ‘The Son can do nothing of His own except what He sees His Father doing. For what the Father does, the Son does also.” This reinforces what I mentioned earlier. Jesus walked step by step with His Father, doing only what His Father did. He also said that what He speaks is not His own but they were given Him by His Father. Not just what to say but how to say it. Amazing. That’s in Jn.12:49-50. Then He told us in Jn.20:21, “As the Father has sent Me, I send you”. So we are to walk with Him in the same way. Moment to moment dependence upon God.
When Jesus said “Learn from Me”, I believe it is not just learning from the examples of what we can read in the gospel records of how He functioned. I believe it is also really learning from Him in each situation we are in. Right now I mean. Moment by moment. Listening to His voice, sensing His heart. If we do that, although everything may be wrong and even in chaos around us, we are connected to Him. Yoked to Him. Keeping pace with Him. No striving. Resting in His love.
Lord we come to You. Help us Lord to keep coming to You. To come to You so much that it becomes natural .. that we will find we cannot live for even a moment without You. We want to be so yoked to You all the time and to rest in Your love. Teach us Lord. Forgive us that we are so slow at learning this. Teach us and do it in us Lord. Amen.
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.