Releasing the Reins

“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.” Matthew 11:28-30

These verses in Matthew 11 are ones I come back to over and over again (and I know I’ve written about several times), but what is so powerful is that each time I read this passage in a different season of life, Jesus shows me something else to learn from it.

So often, we love to think we are in charge, that we direct our own steps and have the strength to make our every desire happen. This is what our culture tells us: you can manifest your own reality; you can be and do whatever you want to be and do; take control of your own life!

And while it might seem like these ideas work for a while, I find (at least in my experience) when I try to hold the reins of my own life and “make things happen” I become burnt out, exhausted, frazzled, anxious, depressed -the list goes on. As followers of Jesus, Christ asks us to do the opposite of what the world tells us is right. He tells us His way is better than our way; His strength is infinitely greater than our own. Instead of working in our own strength, Jesus asks us to come to Him and let Him do the heavy lifting.

Author Andrew Murray says in his book Abiding in Christ that “[…] entire surrender to Jesus is the secret of perfect rest.” And that’s what Jesus promises in Matthew 11. If we will give up the rat race of becoming better in our own strength, if we will stop running and submit to Jesus, coming under His yoke (direction), we will find rest. The yoke of the world is tiring and the burden is heavy. Jesus’s yoke is easy and His burden light.

As we turn the reins of our life over to Jesus, we begin the slow and steady practice of walking daily with Him, abiding in His love, His strength, His joy. We find our souls are lighter, our hearts and minds are freer, and even in the hard circumstances we find ourselves in, we can have joy because Jesus is carrying the burden for us.

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