Yoke Yourself to Jesus Every Day

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. 

Matt. 11:29

A while back, Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in southern California, put out a podcast on which he advised his listeners to yoke themselves to Jesus. 

The point of the podcast was simple—to explain what it means to yoke ourselves (it’s not what you think) and to encourage us to do so on a daily basis.

In a nutshell, to yoke ourselves to Jesus means to attach ourselves to him to lighten our load through this life. 

Just as James tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2), we can be assured that we will have challenges and struggles in this life.

So, what better way to get through life than by partnering with Jesus?

These words have the power to bring comfort, healing, and peace to even the most troubled soul, of which I am often one.

The reason is because of what a yoke does. Rather than strapping us with more burden— what many people believe—a yoke is designed to lighten the load. Back in biblical times, a farmer would yoke two oxen together to make it easier for each ox to pull the load behind them. 

The yoke evenly distributed the burden of the load between the two oxen, making their work easier and even allowing them to get more work done. The yoke was actually a welcome relief for the animals, and they were able to accomplish more than each one could on its own.

This is how we should look at the command found in Matthew 11:29. The yoke is not meant to put more burden on us, but rather to lighten the load we’re already carrying. 

Jesus is telling us to partner with him, leaning on him daily for renewed strength to make it through the challenges of our often hectic and demanding days. 

No one on this earth is without some sort of burden. However, by allowing Jesus to share our burdens, these burdens will seem lighter and easier to handle.

After all, we’re also told in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

God loves us and wants the best for each of his children. 

It took me a long time to really understand and accept this truth for myself, but I think I’m finally able to do that, at least to some degree. I still have room to grow in this area, but it’s such a welcome relief knowing that God loves me and wants to make my journey through life easier by yoking me with Jesus.

And He wants to do the same for you, friend.

Your Mistakes

I just recently reread a tweet by Tullian Tchividjian that I saved last year. He said:

“While we can never go back to a past that we have lost or ruined, we can always go to God—a God who promises to love and use people who fail because there aren’t any other kinds of people.”

I believe his words ring absolutely true. We have all made mistakes in life. We all have regrets about decisions we’ve made or didn’t make, things we’ve done or said to other people, relationships that we’ve had a hand in ruining, plans and projects we’ve abandoned, things we meant to do but never did, or things we knew at the time we shouldn’t be doing but did anyway.

There’s no one reading this who doesn’t have mistakes they wish they could change. I do—we all do. When it’s all said and done, we’re all in the same boat and would like to take a mulligan on some part of our lives.

But there are two important things to remember about the mistakes of the past:

  1. We can’t change them.
  2. God can use them for His own divine purposes.

We first have to get past our regret. Embrace your regret, but don’t linger on it. It will do you no good except drag you down into a quagmire of self-hate and loathing. Trust me—I’ve done that and it’s not a place you want to be. Realize that like all human beings, you have made mistakes. Then move on.

Next, we need to trust God to do His work. Ask Him to use your mistakes to:

  1. Make you a better person.
  2. Help someone else.

Be unselfish with yourself. Look for ways that you can be a blessing in others’ lives. Maybe these opportunities will come as a direct result of your past mistakes—you see others making the same errors you did and you can help them make better choices.

Or maybe you have simply gained knowledge and experience that allow you to show more compassion and care—you’re able to connect with others in ways you might not have been able to previously.

Be aware of those around you. Take your eyes off yourself and look for others who need help navigating the storms of life (I’m talking to myself here mostly). See how you can lighten someone’s burden.

You’ll not only help those around you, you’ll also end up feeling better about yourself. Who wouldn’t feel better knowing that they’ve been a blessing to others?

Plus, looking outward rather than inward helps defeat feelings of depression and anxiety. It creates a win-win situation for yourself (Again, I’m talking to myself but letting the rest of you in on my inner thoughts).

Trust God—He can use your mistakes to make a better you.