WHO ARE YOU YOKED TO?

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WHO ARE YOU YOKED TO?

Ever since we were children, we have been all too familiar with the system of reward. Complete a task and receive benefit in return. Do good, get good. This is a safe system which ensures that the provision of benefits remains sustainable. Society likes it, businesses like it, and we all make a living out of it. Do your job and get paid. But in the economy of our Father, things don’t work like that. He’s got things turned the other way around.

“Therefore, since these [great] promises are ours, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates and defiles body and spirit, and bring [our] consecration to completeness in the [reverential] fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1 [AMPC]

Paul tells us that because we have already received great promises, in response, we should cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates us. So here, we see that in our Father’s economy, the reward is given before the task has been completed.

But he then goes on further to tell us that this process of cleansing and consecration requires nothing more than for us to be in reverent awe of our Father. So it seems, Paul would have us believe that if we, who have put our faith in Jesus, would want to lead perfect lives, all we need to do is to, in today’s lingo, respect our Father for the God that He is, for the loving Father that He is, and He will see to the rest.

But I know what you are thinking. Seriously? That’s all? Well beloved, let’s see.

This verse begins with the word ‘therefore’. So the promises and terms of the promises should have just been mentioned. So what was mentioned just before this?

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
Therefore
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Now, many Christians have their own interpretations of this passage. Some feel that this is instruction against marriage with unbelieving spouses. Yet others feel that it speaks against associating with those who do not believe. But let us put our personal biases aside and take the word literally, and let Jesus show us our Father’s true intent.

A yoke joins two beasts of burden. It harnesses both their pulling power and channels them into one machine. Now, when the two beasts are yoked, the actions of one will affect the other. If one decides to turn left, the other can’t very well turn right. If one decides to go faster, the other will be unceremoniously dragged along. When two are yoked, they become involuntary imitators of each other.

So it is clear from this picture that what our Father doesn’t want, is for us to be imitators of those in the world. For Jesus said,

“If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you.” John 15:19 [AMPC]

Let’s face it, beloved, we are not of this world. We do things that this world does not understand. The actions that spawn from our faith in our Father are often irrational in the eyes of the world; and that is why we can never be yoked with those who do not believe. When that happens, life will be tough. We will never be moving in the same direction. And eventually, that partnership will fall apart. For as it is said,

“Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” Amos 3:3

So literally, what Paul is trying to say is, if we find ourselves in a relationship that pulls us to act in the ways of the world, we should step away and not be drawn in. It could be a romantic relationship. It could be a business partnership. Whatever it is, we should step away from every situation that would lead us into actions that goes against our Father’s wishes; in much the same way that you used to say ‘no’ to your friends when they asked you to go out and play when you know that your dad was waiting for you to have dinner at home.

But why should we?

“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16

“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18

But don’t merely take these verses as they are. We need to take a look at the context in which they were initially mentioned for us to fully appreciate what they truly mean for us.

‘For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you.
You shall eat the old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new.
I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you.
I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves;
I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.” Leviticus 26:9-13

When He led His people out of Egypt, He broke their bonds of slavery to the Egyptians and their yokes, the tools which made them move and act in the way that the Egyptians did, were literally taken from their backs. They were now free to do the right thing, free to do God’s will, free to walk upright. And not only that, they were now taken from that bondage and brought into a life where our Father’s favor was ever present, never ending; providing them with abundance in their lives.

Then generations later, after His people had turned and gone the worldly way again, they needed a wake-up call, so this time, the kingdom of Babylon was used as the alarm clock. Yet,

“Now therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence’: Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’” Jeremiah 32:36-41

Their pain would be short-lived and the yoke of slavery would once again be lifted from their shoulders so that they can dwell safely and be planted in their land.

So it is clear that our Father finds the ways of this world burdensome; an encumbrance which takes us away from the abundance of His provision. We sometimes think that the ways of the world; the way the world earns money, the way the world does business, the methods which the world employs; are attractive because of the results which they reap. But our Father thinks little of these ways and is telling us right now that whatever we think the world can do, He can do better; we ain’t seen nothing yet.

And if we are truthful to ourselves, haven’t we seen His provision manifest itself in our lives this very way? We want something that seems out of reach. But when the time came for us to have it, everything fell in place so that we got it without having to utilize the resources that we set aside for it? Or perhaps we faced a looming problem that seemed insurmountable from afar. But when the time came to deal with that problem, everything fell in place so that we crossed over without the slightest hint of effort?

Indeed, there is much faith in saying that we will cross that bridge when we get to it. For how is it that we can be so sure that there will even be a bridge over the ravine when we get to the ravine?

That’s right beloved, our Father’s love is the reason why we know that there will be a bridge for us to cross when we get to the ravine. Our Father’s love is the reason why the Chinese can say that the boat will straighten its course when it gets to the bridge. Our Father’s love is the reason why we can have the confidence that as long as we are moving with Him, along His paths and according to His plans, He will

“…do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”. Ephesians 3:20

“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

And we know that as long as it is our Father’s plans that are at work in our lives, we will be well taken care of

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 [NIV]

So how do we ensure that we are always moving together with Him?

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

That’s right, return to Jesus, take His yoke, partner ourselves with Him, move as He leads, walk at His pace, allow His yoke to make us natural imitators of Him; for His yoke is easy and light, and His desire is for us to rest in His love. Put into the words of Paul,

“Therefore, since these [great] promises are ours, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates and defiles body and spirit, and bring [our] consecration to completeness in the [reverential] fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1 [AMPC]
So let us rid ourselves of our worldly yokes and take up the yoke of Jesus. Let us not bind ourselves to the ways of this world for we are not of this world. Don’t continue down the road of ‘do good, get good’. Instead, let us move together with Jesus, let His yoke make us natural imitators of Him, for our Father has shown us that only favor and abundance shall follow us when we do.

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