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Sometimes just making it through the day can be a real challenge. There are a million and one distractions ready to derail us from accomplishing our goals. By the time we fight our way through traffic and make it home, we’re already exhausted. However, life with Christ doesn’t have to be so difficult. Listen to what Jesus said: “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
Over the years, people have looked at this verse as an illustration of Jesus taking the weight of our burdens from us and making our life easier. But maybe there’s another way to think about it…
In biblical times, two oxen were yoked together to increase their power. Typically a young ox was paired with a more experienced animal. While the work was still hard, together, they shared the burden. As they worked, each gave and received strength from their partner. Over time, the younger, weaker ox grew stronger and matured.
I think we can see our relationship with Christ in the same way. He offers us his yoke, calling us to partner with him. We start off weak, stumbling and wanting to pull in the wrong direction – but as we journey with our Lord, he strengthens us, picks us back up and puts us back on the right path. It’s not always easy, and there are many times when we fail him – but we know this: our Lord has promised never to forsake us. He is working for, and with us. That’s how we are sanctified with him – by joining in this journey, allowing him, by the Spirit, to perfect in us what our Father longs for us to be.
I hope this way of looking at that passage encourages you as we all continue our walk with the Triune God. We know that we can trust him to help us grow in strength and spiritual maturity as we are sanctified by and through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.