Burden & Comfort
A Choice of Yoke – Lesson 4 of the “Overcome” Recovery Bible Study
Why do you strive? What are you working for? What do you invest yourself in? These are questions many of us think about, but never really answer. Longevity and legacy are words that even fewer of us think about. Unfortunately, more questions exist regarding this topic than answers, depending on where you look.
If you could go back and choose any field to work in, what would it be? If it is anything different than what you are doing now, then I must ask why? For many of us, it may be a simple answer and for others it may be a complex one. Regardless, we are tied up in labor for most of our lives. When we came into this world we were given a yoke, one that the world would spend much of our lives adding to. We are burdened with schedule and over commitment, obstacles, continual struggle, temptation to sin, achievement and past sin.
And regrettably, we typically identify with the source of our burden and the struggle more than asking the question why do we struggle against this burden? Is your burden right now something you are interested in or invested in? These questions may not make very much sense presently, but I am confident by the end of this post the answers will reveal themselves.
You may be thinking, I’m pretty content right now, no huge burdens. Let me ask you a few more diagnostic questions then if this is you, do you find yourself spending sleepless nights thinking about the same thing? Do you feel exhausted most of the time? Do you have a lack of joy even doing things you used to enjoy? Does it feel like your Christian walk has become a hobby?
I asked a question earlier that had the word interest in it. The reason for this is Nikola Tesla said “the major difference between a genius and others is their imagination and level of interest.” By all accounts, Tesla was considered a gifted man, many years before his time.
However, if you weren’t gifted, then Malcolm Gladwell has stated that if you want to become what is considered world class in any field you choose, you must spend 10,000 intentional, deliberate hours practicing that discipline. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have been gifted, such as Tesla. I’m far too old and far too lazy to want to learn something new, at least that is what the human side of me says.
So, the major question is, are you putting effort into what counts and are you at all interested in it? Why did you choose the yoke you have on now? Do not miss this, although we are born with a yoke, we have a choice.
Choices of yoke
For some of us, this may come as news. Vulgar, repulsive news. We have an actual choice in life as to what yoke we put on every single day. One yoke has the sole intention of getting you lost and tearing you down. The other yoke is there to build you up and guide you. When you take one yoke off, the other one goes on. We will have a yoke regardless.
Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.Matt 11:28-30
To best understand what Jesus is saying, it would do us good to first understand some of the terms and their implication to our topic. A yoke is something that is hitched up to pull a load. A yoke is a human invention to pull more, faster, further. It is not the invention of the animal wearing it. The world’s yoke is demanding and unforgiving, while the yoke of Jesus is forgiving and full of grace. One yoke tells you the grave is calling, and the hours are few. The other says there is an afterlife and I love you.
A good way to know what yoke you have on is look at what you are serving. Where are your hours going to and for what? This will ultimately determine the burdens you carry and whether they are tearing you down or building you up. For me, it was hitting rock bottom and knowing there was nowhere else to go. I reached the end of myself and all I could do. You realize you can no longer live life this way. This is a place that helps you understand what your yoke is.
The word burdened. Heavy laden means to be overloaded with burden. It can describe a heavy heart, beaten down, calloused, jaded or collapsing. Burden many times comes in the form of unconfessed or unrepentant sin.
Next, the word weary. Weary is a fancy way of saying fatigued or tired. Weary is the feeling that comes from being burdened. And yes, it is highly possible that you can become weary even while doing good things. However, God’s word is fully aware of this:
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.Galatians 6:9
And finally, the word rest. Rest conjures us pictures of refreshing; mental, physical, or spiritual. Sometimes you just need a nap, or a burger. But for this context, it implies spiritual rest. Make no mistake, we are not either/or creatures. We are both/and creatures. Physical and spiritual.
I have recently begun to ask God to please revive me through the burdens and almost seemingly endless sources of additional burden. Not to save me from it, but to use it to revive me. I’m not sure if it is working or not, but it has shifted my perspective from burden to purpose. And that is the major take away concept… shift from the burdens that are tearing you down to gospel purposes for building up. And in that shift, burden becomes purpose once you apply a gospel perspective to it.
“Overcome” Recovery Bible Study
Application – Exchanging Yokes
Shifting gears, let’s explore this concept of giving up a yoke to put another one on. Over the years, I have realized that it is impossible to sustain a total lifestyle change unless God is involved. So, with that in mind, I propose the following exercise. Find one thing in your life, that you know you need to give up ownership of the yoke to Jesus. This will be something that is not producing fruit, helping others and is currently tearing you down. Exchange that time and effort spent with time in God’s word. You will make an active choice to focus on substantial purpose.
The disease of the self is the disease of sin. When we treat a disease wrongly, it has the ability to evolve and mutate, building resistance. We burden the disease just enough to make it stronger and take a deeper root within us. The way we get from burdened to comfort is the same way we should treat a disease. Correctly. We must prioritize our time with God. To make that the most important relationship you have. By doing so, we can recharge by intentionally slowing down and focusing on what is important. Take the following verses and dwell on them during whatever time you find where you are not distracted and able to focus on God and your life.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.Jeremiah 29:13
Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.Colossians 3:2
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.Colossians 3:23
The “Overcome” Recovery Bible Study is part of the discipleship program at First Contact Ministries in Hendersonville, NC.
Did you miss the other lessons in this series? Click see the entire Overcome Recovery Bible Study.
We always look forward to meeting new people at our Tuesday night support group meetings at 6:30 pm, located at Mud Creek Church in Hendersonville, NC. Our classes are designed to teach biblical principles for addiction recovery through discipleship. Our goal is to show the love of Jesus by supporting those who need it most.
For more information or to purchase “The Resistance” by Josh Staton to use as a Christian leadership book, or curriculum for an addiction recovery class, please visit: The Resistance: Becoming A Servant Leader Through the Beatitudes Christian Leadership Book