Embracing the Yoke of Jesus 

In college I was surrounded by an environment of legalism. Slowly over the years, that type of thinking seeped into my heart. By the time I reached my mid-20s, I thought I knew it all and was the “perfect” Christian.

Have you ever felt like you had your life together until you realized one day, “Hey, I really don’t know what I’m doing?!” Yep, I can relate.

Pastor Jason’s example this past Sunday of the large clunky desktop computer representing the bondage of legalism cut straight to my heart. I remembered how back in those college days, I tried harder than I ever had to be a Christian. But all that trying led me…nowhere.

I was lugging around a clunky desktop with all the parts, and I was actually proud of it. Even worse, I looked down on people with lighter laptops. Like I somehow knew all the secrets to living this amazing Christian life. But in the end, I was just trying, striving, and feeling utterly exhausted every step of the way.

I actually thought I was more spiritual than others because I carried more weight than them. How messed up is that?

Maybe you didn’t fall into the trap of legalism as deeply as I did, but most likely, there are parts of your life you are secretly “proud” of:

“Well, I do read my Bible more than that one guy…”

“I am always involved in the church’s ministries…”

“I would never be late…”

“I’ve always been a cheerful giver…”

Each of us hold our own little badges of honor secretly in our hearts, and God (in His mercy) loves to expose them. Not because He enjoys embarrassing us, but because He cares enough to remove our own standards and replace them with His grace. Only in His grace can we experience that true freedom. Only in His grace can we rest and say, “I don’t have to try so hard anymore…” 

That’s where the real work begins. That’s where we throw off any chains that hinder us, and we begin to live in the freedom Christ so freely gives. It’s in this freedom that we begin to serve and love and express our faith in unbelievable ways. It’s there that we find the “…power that works within us.” (Ephesians 3:20).

Jesus’ beautiful promise to take on His easy yoke is an invitation. It’s a moment of humility where we hold up our white flag and say, “God, I can’t do this on my own, but I really want to do this with you.” 

Something beautiful has happened since those college days. I now look back and see that I am somehow doing more work for the Lord but with less pressure and guilt. I’ve felt the weight lifted; His peace has ceased my striving.

I am grateful for a God who exchanges my big desktop for a light laptop, aren’t you? He is a God who doesn’t expect me to carry my burdens or the burdens of everyone around me.

As we walk a little lighter into our week, let’s remember His compassion to invite us into such undeserved freedom. It really is beautiful.

 

Erika Pizzo

Erika is the author of the blog yourtemplecare.com where she encourages women to care for their mind, body, and spirit as they grow closer to Jesus. She also hosts the podcast “Temple Care” where she provides weekly messages of encouragement. Erika lives with her husband, daughter, son, and their fluffy poodle in sunny Southern California. Her two favorite things are a visit to the beach with a chai latte in hand.

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