But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
~ Galatians 5:18, Acts 15:28, 1 John 5:3, 2 Corinthians 1:5, Philippians 3:10
The Easy Yoke, by James Smith. 1860.
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 11:29-30
The “yoke” symbolises subjection and obedience. The yoke of Jesus includes the subjection of the understanding to His teaching. We must receive the kingdom of God as little children. All that He says — we must believe; and all that He commands — we must do. The yoke of Jesus includes the subjection of the conscience to His authority. He must be sole Lord of conscience. As cleansed by His blood, enlightened by His truth, and sanctified by His Spirit — the conscience must bow to Him, be zealous for Him, and maintain His honour. The yoke of Jesus includes the subjection of the will to His pleasure. We must prefer His will to our own, and make His pleasure ours. The yoke of Jesus includes the subjection of the heart to His love. His love must inflame, regulate, and elevate the heart. He must become the object of its highest, warmest love. Love to Him must rule our thoughts, words, and actions. The yoke of Jesus includes the subjection of our abilities to His service. For Him, the duties of life must be performed. To Him, every power must be dedicated. His glory must be the end in all things sought.
Unless, therefore, we submit: the understanding to His teaching, the conscience to His authority, the will to His pleasure, the heart to His love, and the abilities to His service — we do not take His yoke upon us.
The yoke of Christ may be represented by the subjection of: the child to its parents, the servant to his master, and the scholar to his tutor. In each case, the authority within its proper sphere is absolute. Authority on the one side, and subjection on the other — are the ideas suggested by these relations.
The yoke of Christ includes: allegiance to Him as our King, reliance on Him as our Saviour, confidence in Him as our Guide, imitation of Him as our Example, and attachment to Him as our best Friend.
The yoke of Christ is easy. Compare it with: the yoke of Satan, which we wore in our natural state; the yoke of Moses, as worn by the Jews of old; the yoke of superstition, as worn by pagans and papists now.
It is easy, because connected with it: for every trial — there is assistance; for every temptation — there is support; for every difficulty — there is help; for every sorrow — there is solace; for every trouble — there is tranquility; for every loss — there is unspeakable gain; and for every service — there is a rich and eternal reward.
Take my yoke upon you . . . for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.