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“Come to Me” and “learn from Me,” Jesus told His disciples. But there is a condition: “Take My yoke upon you.”(1) You cannot learn of Him unless you take His yoke. What does His yoke represent? When I was growing up in my village, there were paddy fields everywhere. To plow these fields, farmers used a set of buffaloes with a yoke placed over their necks. The rear of the animals had several burn marks on them, like stripes. I remember as a youngster asking a man, “Why do all of these animals have burn marks?” He said, “It is the sign that they are broken and submissive.”
When Jesus said, “Take My yoke,” it means He had a yoke. He was broken and submissive. Now He invites us to come under that yoke of submission next to Him, choosing to give up what “I want,” even in good and right matters, for His will.
Once we are willing to do that, we begin to manifest the nature of Jesus. A.W. Tozer says it this way, “If we cooperate with Him in loving obedience, God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face.”(2) In the measure by which we open our life to Christ and bend our necks to the yoke, dying daily to our self-centeredness, independence, pride and reasoning, and instead depend on God, in the same measure we will manifest His nature in our lives.
1 Matthew 11:28–29.
2 A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, Inc., 1982), p. 64.