bits from bob....
The Secret of the Easy Yoke
by Robert J. Young
©, 2002, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:29-30)
G. K. Chesterton said, "Christianity has not so much been tried and found wanting, as it has been found difficult and left untried." Yet John wrote, "His commands are not burdensome" (1 John 5:13 NIV). In the religious world of our culture, being a Christian is either so easy as to be totally undemanding, or so difficult that the "cost of discipleship" is constantly stressed and stressing. Which shall it be? Kierkegaard suggests there is also a cost of non-discipleship: "It costs a man just as much or even more to go to hell than to come to heaven."
Here is the truth of the matter. Because we do not have, or better, do not use, the strength God desires and provides in walking the Christian walk, Jesus' commandments are extremely burdensome and difficult. So difficult is Christianity that some Christians give up, or at least cannot believe Jesus was serious when he called men to follow him, counting the cost and paying the price. Many cannot find any congruence between Jesus' ideal and the reality of experience.
Numerous false views result.
- (1) A false view of humankind. The affirmation of humanity as the pinnacle of God's creative genius, made in His image and likeness, blessed and empowered by Him to live in relationship with God is overshadowed by "to err is human," "I'm only human," or "the flesh is weak." Is our nature so torqued or warped that we can never escape sin's clutches? Is 1 Cor. 10:13 only empty promise?
- (2) A false view of sin. That sin is indeed a powerful force can never be denied, but the view that mankind can never escape sin's power, even through Christ, is a false view. (Romans 7-8 deserves a careful restudy in this regard!) Is walking after the Spirit only an ideal, never to be realized in human experience? Are the hopes of Gal. 5:16-26 only empty expectation? Can I never walk after the Spirit in this life? Can I never be filled with the Spirit to produce his fruit in this life?
- (3) A false view of grace. If justification for human weakness is not based on inaccurate views of mankind or of sin, it may be explained by an unbiblical view of salvation. Doesn't the Bible affirm that we are "saved by grace"? If we are saved by grace and not by anything we do, obedience to Christ becomes unnecessary. Grace is not opposed to effort, grace is opposed to earning. This inability to balance the demands of discipleship with the overpowering dynamic of sin has led astray a large portion of Christendom, beginning with humanly devised systems of earning salvation or penance through payments, and reformed to deny any effort from man except to believe (a false view of faith). Neither approach gives grace its proper biblical place.
- (4) A false view of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises an easy yoke and light burden. Where most contemporary versions of Christianity drive us more than call us, Jesus offers rest. That offer is made for this life. We have only to grasp the secret of the easy yoke. Oswald Chambers said, "The Sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is getting his way with us." We must enter a certain kind of overall life, in associations and rigorous training both in mind and body. Being saved is not earned; keeping saved is not earned. We must cultivate the Spirit of love, power, and discipline. Quench not the Spirit.
The secret of the easy yoke is to live for him every hour of every day. Christianity is not only for Sunday. Such a training schedule is inadequate for the rigors of life--to meet sin head on, expending every human effort while depending upon God's gracious power for being and keeping saved is an "always activity." Daily training is required.
Spiritual Training--the Secret of the Easy Yoke!
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Last updated January 7, 2002.