"The Easy Yoke, the Light Burden"
"Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
Few more challenging truths present themselves on the pages of Scripture than the Lord's teaching that "rest unto your souls" depends on taking His yoke of meek and lowly submission to authority. Our Savior exemplified such humility in His earthly life by respecting both His Father and the human authority structures delegated by God.
"I come to do Thy will, o God" (Hebrews 10:7).
"He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them (Joseph and Mary)" (Luke 2:51).
We understand the rightness of submission to a God whose "way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31). But to people, whose ways are not only imperfect, but sometimes completely wrong and misguided? History is replete with the sad narratives of leaders who guided entire cultures into ruin. Moreover, our personal experience confirms that the notion of "human leadership" is often an oxymoron. Certainly exceptions exist, and it is always a wonderful blessing when an authority figure wisely and skillfully executes leadership. The norm, however, seems to involve human misuse of authority as "the blind lead the blind" and "both fall into the ditch" (Matthew 15:14). Still, our perfect Authority calls us to respect human authorities, to the degree that our submission to God can be directly measured by our submission to His delegated leaders. He also declares that the peace of our hearts is at stake. "Rest unto your souls…"
Several Scriptural insights serve to help us regarding this challenging way of God in our lives.
1. God Himself exists in a triune Being of equality, as exercised in a structure of authority. As those originally created "in His image", we can expect that our lives will be structured accordingly (Genesis 1:26-27).
2. The writer of Hebrews declares the Lord Jesus to be the most joyful Being in existence, based upon His love for the righteousness that directly involves respect for authority (Hebrews 1:8-9).
3. Our Lord serves as the model for our own lives, both in terms of inward attitude and outward behavior. He also dwells within us to enable our response to authority. "Walk even as He walked… God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (I John 2:6; Galatians 4:6).
4. If the peace and joy of Christ Himself lies in the humility of His submission to the Father, we can expect - just as He declared - that the peace and joy of our own souls depends on our Christ-enabled submission. "These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15:11).
5. This involves both the direct and delegated authority of God. "Submit yourselves therefore to God… Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves" (James 4:7; Hebrews 13:17).
6. While the practical outworking of such responsibility requires much wisdom and will raise many questions regarding our behavior, the inner attitude of our hearts involves a simple truth: we respect the office and position of human authority in our lives as God's delegated rule. Our submission to Him will therefore be directly measured by our submission to human leadership. "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake" (I Peter 2:13).
7. We can trust God to take care of us when we determine to trust Him regarding both His direct and delegated rule. Again, many practical questions arise in the light of this consideration. We will be required to seek the Truth of Scripture and the leadership of the Holy Spirit as we walk out our calling of submission. No questions arise, however, regarding the assurance that our Heavenly Father will keep our hearts in peace as we take upon ourselves the easy yoke and the light burden. The peace is guaranteed as the position of humility is accepted and embraced. The most joyful Person in the universe assures us of such truth and grace, by both the example of His life and the promise of His Word…
"The meek shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace."
Weekly Memory Verse
By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.