Partnering with Christ

Matthew 11: 28 – 30

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

I opined last week that this passage is ultimately about partnership, partnering with the Divine that is. This is the message I believe Jesus wants us to hear in this age.

There are two ways we generally attack our problems or take on tasks. The first is that we try to do it in our own might. Truthfully, most of us pray about the project, but then we go forward in our might asking Father to anoint our path. When we fail, we often turn back to prayer, which is a good thing. Here, though, we have two ways to turn and based on how powerless we feel we choose our next course. We may opt for the second way of problem solving at this point. That is where we pray and “give the problem to God.”

Wouldn’t we all say that giving any problem to God is a good thing? Sure, we would. Here is the thing though. Sometimes we throw the problem on the floor at God’s feet and walk away. We have figuratively thrown our hands in the air in desperation. Sometimes we begin here. Other times we choose this methodology after attempting to succeed in our strength.

There is a third option. It is partnership. I understand it can be very difficult to achieve the proper balance of roles. Who does what? What do we do? Is our entire job prayer? Is there more? What I observe is that many times people begin in their own strength. Even if they do also offer prayers, they really are relying on the work of their hands. Most of us have been trained to be somewhat self-reliant if not entirely so. Even our pastors teach us, rightfully, that we are to lay our hand to something and then God will bless it. So, I want you to hear that you aren’t wrong, just that there is more.

Other people spend more time crying out to God for the help they know they need. The mistake we can so easily make here is that we take our hands off the plow completely. No longer are we giving God the opportunity to bless the work of our hands. We ask him to do the work and bless the work. I hear so often the hopeless prayers of people. They have given up and their only thought is that if they will pray strongly enough, maybe God will intervene. They give it to God and disengage themselves completely.

The whole truth is that God wants to partner with you. There are so many ways He can do so, but the first step is in us recognizing the importance of partnership. Once we enter into partnership, we no longer need to ask God to anoint our path. He will show us His path which is way better anyway. Of course, our prayer changes significantly because in this collaborative space, we can ask Father or Jesus to show us the way rather than begging them to bail us out of an impossible situation.

There is so much more to say on this topic, however, I want you to see this concept from Jesus’ perspective. First, he recognizes that doing things our way and in our own strength has exhausted us physically, mentally and even spiritually. Therefore, the first step he offers is, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.” That’s recovery, healing and restoration. Rest and restore. The second part is, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” Wow, I hope that jumped out at you. I don’t think the church has yet to grasp the awesome invitation to working with him that is on offer here. Rest, get yourself restored and then come work with me. Take my yoke. He isn’t taking on your yoke. He is asking you to join him. Be paired with him. What? Do I hear, “Be partnered with me?”

Exactly! That is exactly what Jesus is saying to us. Come join me. He is calling us to join his team and learn his ways. He will be the senior partner who shows us how to move forward with that impossible situation, difficult challenge or even show us how to recover from absolute failure. You see, his yoke is his school of methods. He invites us to work jointly with him so he can show us the ways that will give us the success we desire. Enroll in his school and your demanding situation becomes a class project. Sometimes, it is as simple as changing our prayer.

I remember the story of a woman who was praying every health scripture she knew over her very sick son. She spent night after night praying over him. She knew all the scriptures, so it was a task she was well educated for. Finally, though, in desperation she cried out to God. The child was getting worse instead of better. When she relinquished her control and inquired of God, He told her she was praying the wrong prayer. He guided her to a prayer on death. You see, she had been praying but she was praying the scriptures she thought would impact the situation. When she stopped and asked God, He led her to an entirely different group of scriptures. The child then recovered. It wasn’t that she wasn’t praying to God. It was that she wasn’t truly partnering with Him. You can see how this could be confusing. She thought she was working with Him but she wasn’t. She didn’t ask Him what she should do. She just did what she knew to do. It may be subtle but there is a huge difference.

Other times, Jesus will show us an entirely new strategy for doing the work. Maybe you fish off the left side of the boat and he will tell you to drop your net on the right-hand side (John 21: 6).

It may take some time pondering these differences to understand what is being suggested today. Of course, you can take this straight to Yahweh and ask Him. Rather than filing away this Word of the Day, ask Jesus to explain it. Do you know he will speak with you? You can have an entire conversation with him. Don’t know how? Ask me. I can coach you.

Casting Lessons

Psalm 55: 22

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

This is from yesterday’s psalm. The good news in this verse is too good to pass up. Undoubtedly it puts you in remembrance of 1 Peter 5: 7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” (NIV). I love finding these Old Testament passages which are the mirror reflection of New Testament verses which we hold so dear. It is easy to get lulled into the idea that the God of the Old Testament is very different from the New Testament God. We end up cherishing the New Testament as our Bible and all too often neglecting the Old Testament which is great error.

God always cared for us as His own. He always wanted us to give Him our cares and worries. His intent was always to carry our burdens and give us His peace. Remember this psalm was written by David. Here is how it reads in the Passion Translation, “So here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Leave all your cares and anxieties at the feet of the Lord, and measureless grace will strengthen you.” David learned how to give all his care, anxiety and worries to the Lord in exchange for the Lord’s measureless grace. Can you even contain that idea? It’s amazing really. I like that we receive this wisdom from David because he tested the Lord’s ability to save, rescue, and protect. Was anyone as persecuted as David. Even in the throne room he had spears hurled at him, but the Lord always delivered him. David had plenty of worries and lots of anxiety so if he was able to exchange that load and in return receive boundless grace which strengthens, then we ought to be able to do the same thing. We have worries and anxieties but at least we do not have actual spears being thrown at us. So, I feel like if God’s grace was sufficient for David, it should be enough for me too.

Jesus told us to take his yoke upon us because it is light. He will carry our burden, freeing us from anxiety and worry. In fact, it’s wrong of us to worry and fret and may I tell you the entire truth? It is sin. Jesus has himself said not to worry. The Holy Spirit through Peter told us to cast all our care upon the Lord so if we are not doing so, we are sinning. We need to think through these passages and understand this truth. Sometimes we think it is holy to worry or irresponsible not to worry. Both are wrong thoughts. Both are self-righteous exaltations of ourselves as our own Gods. We were never meant to carry the troubles on our shoulders. We have received a direct order from the King, “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you.” To fail to cast your burden onto Him is to exalt yourself as your own God. This is serious business. Sometimes you just need to ask, “Who is my God? Is it me or Yahweh?” Our behaviors might portray a different answer than the one we wish to live by. Why are you worried? What has you upset? Do as the Passion Translation says for 1 Peter 5: 7, “Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.” That’s the right way to live, the way God intended, the way He has commanded.


Matthew 11: 28 – 30 

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

You’ve heard the song and now read the book. Come unto me for I give you rest. Are you tired, weary? Jesus gives restoration and healing. He is not arrogant, demanding or boastful. He is gentle and nurturing. He will not lay on you a burden. He will not charge a high cost for his rest and reassurance. The price is already been paid.

Do you know anyone who is worn out? Who has spent their energy striving only to fall on their faces or find that the prize was not worth the effort? Send them this word of encouragement. I just cannot think of a better word of encouragement. Jesus, himself, offers that which so many people are desperate for. Send this to someone today and spread this great news. We don’t have to strive any more. Jesus already paid the cost for our rest. We have only to go to him and receive that which he is warehousing for us. What do you want? What do you need? Jesus has it in abundance for you today.

Rest Area

Mark 6: 31

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.

Jesus and his disciples were absolutely flooded with work; so much so, in fact, that they did not even have time to eat. Have you ever been that busy? If so, look at the teaching Jesus gave the disciples. Take time out. Do not keep up this pace. Jesus took them away from their work to a quiet, lonely place so that they could have rest. The work they were doing was important. It was the work of the Lord. They were ministering to the needs of the people and people were getting saved. Yet even though they were doing Jesus’ own work, working in his own ministry he took them away from it. It was important to Jesus that he teach them balance. This lesson was so important to Jesus that he took his disciples away from the needy and hungry children of Israel. Can you really grasp how significant that was? Jesus’ ministry was only to last three years and yet he took his disciples away from work.

And why did this story find its way into the Bible? Of course it is so that we will not make the same mistake that the disciples were making. Jesus wants us to learn to balance our lives. He takes no joy in a work-a-holic. Our society applauds busyness and over work but in Jesus’ book those are the signs of someone who is out of balance and headed for a crash. Jesus said his yoke is easy and his burden light (Matthew 11: 30) so if we are struggling under a heavy burden then we know we have stepped out of Jesus’ yoke and picked up a burden of our own. Jesus would “often slip away to the wilderness and prayLuke 5: 16. He taught his disciples to slip away so that they could rest and pray. If he did that and he taught his disciples to do the same, then why do you think that he wants something different for you? Luke says that Jesus would “often” slip away. That means that he didn’t just wait for his annual vacation. He lived a life of balance and he wants us to do the same. I once heard Kenneth E. Hagin preach a wonderful message about living a fasted life. Some people live life full steam in one direction and then full steam in another direction. Hagin was teaching balance. Work when it is time to work but rest when it is time to rest. Take time to pray and take time to live. Don’t overload in any direction but rather keep yourself in peace and balance. If Jesus was not only willing but dedicated to leaving his work in order to get rest and prayer time, then don’t you think it is wise for us to do the same thing? I know this can be a difficult lesson to learn but listen to the Spirit of God. He is trying to tell you something. It is in your best interest and for God’s glory.

Praise in Place of Fear

Isaiah 9: 2 – 4

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. Thou shalt multiply the nation, thou shalt increase their gladness; they will be glad in Thy presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide spoil. For Thou shalt break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor as at the battle of Midian.

Many people look upon the last days as days of darkness and they are afraid. Well, in truth, there will be great darkness and even now that is the case but the light prevails. I have read the end of the book as have you. We know how the story ends. Although there is great darkness in the world the light is even greater. Where darkness touches the earth, the light shall increase and shall disperse the dark for there cannot be darkness in the light. Do not fear days of darkness. Jesus is the light and He reigns!

Think of Paul walking on the Damascus road. Now there was a fellow who walked in darkness but behold, a great light came upon him and he was saved. There will be glory and praise in the lands of darkness because when the light comes there is no greater joy experienced by mankind. 

These people are under a yoke of deception and oppression but Jesus came to set all people free. There is liberty in Jesus and he is going to break the yoke off of their shoulders. Even today, people are getting set free all over the world even in dark countries.

We have a part in this great prophecy. First, we must not fear the dark. We should glory in the light rather than fear the dark. It is all about where our eyes are trained. If we are in fear rather than faith it simply means that we are looking at the wrong thing. Take your eyes off of the darkness and put them on the Son of light. Then your gladness will increase as the noonday sun. Secondly, pray for all peoples in all lands. There is great deception at work but the Son is the light and the truth. Where he is there can be no darkness and he breaks off the chains of lies. Third, there is great cause for celebration and praise. Glory in the Father of light. Shout His name and sing His praises for He is good and He has caused truth and light to be revealed in this earth. Glory to the Father!

Matthew 11: 29 – 30

Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.

Here is a bit of familiar scripture but I want you to play a visualization game with me today. Picture two oxen yoked together and pulling a heavy wagon. You can see in your mind’s eye each of them pulling equally against the yoke. Now picture, if you will, Jesus standing with a yoke over his shoulders and no one standing in the other half of the yoke. You can hear him saying, “Come, be yoked with me. I will make your burden light.” Well, of course your burden is light when you are yoked with Jesus. He does all of the pulling and we just walk along beside him. That is how it is meant to be.

Jesus calls us to take our heavy burdens and throw them in the wagon. Then he takes up the yoke and begins to pull the cart. If you observe him, though, you will see that the wagon isn’t even heavy to him. He can pull it with ease. If you take that burden onto your shoulders, though, you find it much too heavy to bear. Jesus is telling us that he wants to be our partner in all things. He wants us to be yoked together so that he can help us carry the load. Take note that you are not sitting in the wagon while Jesus does all of the work. We walk side by side with our Lord. We have our little part to do but he does all of the hard part.

Don’t miss that he says that he is gentle and humble. Why does he say that in the midst of this talk of yokes? He tells us to learn from him. He will teach us. He will lead us into all truth. He will direct our paths always steering us in the right courses and if we begin to go astray he will correct our path. He is the lead ox, if you will allow me that analogy, and we follow where he leads. At all times while he is teaching us, leading us and even correcting he is always gentle and humble. Isn’t that good news?

I really like this imagery because we learn that all we have to do is walk. Jesus’ yoke is light, not really even noticeable as it sits on us. You begin to realize that you can do all things through this tandem pairing. You are never alone. He is with you every single step making sure that you never have a misstep. You come to Jesus with all your baggage, all your concerns and woes, and with all of your responsibilities, goals and dreams. He relieves you of all that weight taking it on to his shoulders and you are free.

Take ahold of this image today. Understand that you never have to walk alone. If you are tired and weary, take all of those burdens to the Lord and slip into the harness with him. You will receive rest and grace.