RE-FOCUS ON YOUR “YOKE-FELLOW”!
I haven’t contributed anything new to this website for quite a while. This is because – all along – I have been determined never to write “for the sake of writing”, but only to put something online if it has been laid powerfully on my heart.
Over the past week however, the sense of “really having something to say to my fellow out-of-traditional-church Christians”, has returned to me. Five words, spoken by Jesus, have gripped my spirit: “Take my yoke upon you”. (Matthew 11:29.) Those words caught my attention when I first became a Christian, and have done so at various stages of life ever since. Last week I was writing something about my early days as a Believer, and that reminded me of the important part those five words had often played in my past. Suddenly I realised that I needed to hear them again!
It is clear that Jesus wants to be much more than just an “influence” in the lives of Christian people. He is not content when our actions and our attitudes are really directed by ourselves, even if we take what He says into account. Rather, He wants to be our moment-by-moment partner – in a “two-some” with each one of us. In Jesus’ day, a yoke joined together two animals in an inseparable union so that a Master’s purposes would be worked out: the ploughing of a field, the grinding of a mill-stone, the pulling of a cart or a chariot, and so on. For the purposes of our Heavenly Father, we need to be “yoked to Jesus” – with Him as senior partner.
This particular saying of Jesus played a major part in my leaving the Institutional Church. It gradually dawned on me that I was yoked to a Church Programme. That is what dictated my hour-by-hour activities. In theory, of course, Jesus was the driving force – but not in practice. I was relieved to get out of that!
Recently, however, I have found myself wondering if, even nowadays, Jesus is always the driving force behind everything I do. I have total freedom to let Him play an uninterrupted part in what happens (especially since I am also “retired” from normal working life). Sometimes, though, I catch myself being monopolised by a Backlog List that I keep – a list of “Things to Do, and People to See”. On the other hand, sometimes I have been tempted to let what I enjoy, or what I find interesting, be the deciding factors in what actually happens, rather than the leading and prompting of my Divine Partner. There are, no doubt, various other powerful influences that can divert people like us from constantly working in tandem with the Lord. Each of us should give consideration to what might be true in our own situation. (What is worst of all, of course, is just to “drift along” in our new-found freedom. I don’t think that’s true of me, or of anyone I know, but I believe it is a danger that lurks in our chosen way of life.)
I now see that our liberty, as out-of-the-system Believers, not only gives many more opportunities to do Christ’s bidding, but also gives many more temptations to let other motivations direct our lives. I put it to you that we “outsiders” need to keep re-focussing on our God-appointed “Yoke-Fellow”. We need to keep checking that, situation by situation, we are in a “two-some” – with our Divine Partner making the suggestions, and calling the shots. This is, I firmly believe, an essential core for life “outside the camp”.