"Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light." (Matthew 11:29-30 TEV)
Expectations are a yoke. Some of you are carrying a yoke — a heavy burden — of the expectations that were put on you by your parents, your husband, your wife, your children, your boss, or your teacher.
But most of us carry a yoke of burden that we've put on ourselves because of unresolved guilt and unrealistic expectations. We're trying to prove that we matter.
We take on a heavy yoke that God never intended in order to prove that we're important, when God says we're already important: He created us to be with him and to fulfill a unique mission in life. That makes us important, not all the things we do (or don't do).
God's yoke is that we follow his purpose for our lives, and when we do that, things work out a whole lot better. When we go our own way in life, we hit one brick wall after another. In a sense, God says, "Put on my purpose, my plan for your life."
How heavy is God's yoke? Jesus says, "The yoke I will give you is light and easy." You say, "But my Christian life isn't easy. My Christian life is heavy; it's like a duty that I have to fulfill."
Then it may be you are out of God's will. You may be doing something that God never intended for you to do. I can't say it any plainer than this: It may be that some of the things you think God is asking you to do, he's not actually asking you to do. Your conscious and your perfectionism are asking you to do them.
Jesus did not come to give you a burden but a blessing.
Am I saying the Christian life has no problems? No, not at all! We all will have a lot of problems. The Christian life is full of difficulties. The point is this: To live in the center of God's will is a lighter load than to live out of God's will. To live in God's purpose and plan for your life is a lighter, more relaxing, more enjoyable load than for you to live your own life any old way you choose.
Talk About It
There may be some things in your life that you're doing that God never intended for you to do. You need to get quiet before God and ask, "What do I need to cut out of my life?"
Discuss this with a friend: To live in the center of God's will is a lighter load than to live out of God's will.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.