I have been unbelievably blessed by Dan and Sherry Camp, a couple who has followed Jesus for decades and have now followed Him from Peachtree City, GA to Beijing, China! I've stayed several weekends with them during my time here, and they have been my true family here as my big brother and big sister in Christ (and kind of a practical mom and dad in China!). As much as I am so grateful for their warm house, their comfortable guest bed, their french toast and grilled cheese sandwiches, their chocolate birthday cake, their bottomless coffee, and their constant optimism, what I am most grateful for is their love for Jesus. They are wise and loving, truly filled with Christ as He lives through them. Dan is a great writer, and this was a very thought-provoking article he shared with me. Let it sink in!
In Jesus' Yoke Without Jesus
by Dan Camp
I wanted to do more for God. I wanted to serve better and more. I was already doing a lot, but something was missing. I thought the something that was missing was more good works.
I had not yet fully accepted the truth about Grace - that Jesus' work and righteousness (His GIFT to me), had already made me totally pleasing to my Heavenly Father. I had believed a bunch of half-truths that I was just "positionally" okay; but that if I worked more, it would become more real to me. It was already real in me and for me, but I was still in the dark...sort of.
I was praying and my spiritual antenna started picking up a heavenly broadcast. [Our spiritual senses are turned ON when we are born-again. Yet another thing we don't know yet, but we gradually learn to rely on our spiritual senses in our Grace-walk with Jesus.]
Jesus lovingly looked over at me and smiled. We were inside His Yoke together. He spoke first:
I'm going to step out of My Yoke for a break, you know, a breather. I'll be over there under that shade tree for a few minutes. Carry on if you like.
Pride rose up in me with much excitement. This was my chance to impress my Lord. He had been in His Yoke with me since my earliest memories of being In Him. This was a first, and I really wanted to do well! I had accepted His Saving Grace already, but I didn't yet know His Daily Grace, His operating Grace...not really. If I had known it, I would have followed Him to the shade tree. I would have stayed right with Him. But, no, I stayed in His Yoke. I thought to myself, "I'm going to break every record set before me. I'm going to give Peter and Paul and John and even James a run for their money! Just watch this, Lord Jesus!"
Well, I began to try and to struggle and to strive with all my might to move Jesus' Yoke. I huffed and I puffed. I worked up a big sweat. I pushed and pulled from every angle. My muscles began to burn.
I could not move the Yoke.
I could not move the Yoke.
I could not move His Yoke.
I was about to collapse when I noticed the Lord out of the corner of my eye. He was chuckling to Himself, not really looking at me. But shortly, He got up and started walking back over to me. He got back into His Yoke with me without any comment. And off we went.
Jesus' Yoke was suddenly easy and light. The burden I had felt was immediately gone.
My mental gears were spinning rapidly, and I was doing the math of this Life lesson. Then I heard Him clear His voice, and I waited for what He would say next.
You thought you were contributing a lot, didn't you?
It was very difficult, even embarrassing to reply:
Yes, Sir, and I was badly mistaken, wasn't I?
I continued to digest what had just happened. He didn't seem the least bit upset with me, or disappointed, or grieved that I had failed. There seemed to be an air of relief about Him.
Then I was overwhelmed by a huge question - maybe the biggest and most revealing one I had ever faced:
If I was not really helping Him with His work, why in the world did He bother at all to have me there in His Yoke with Him?!
He answered before I could even utter the words. He took the initiative. He didn't let me grovel. He wanted me to know the truth about His Grace.
You want to know why you're in My Yoke with me. You want to understand fully. You are taking this lesson to heart and head. You're going to cease striving, except between your ears. You have realized that the only real "work" must be deciding to abide (John 15:4-5), striving to stay in Father's Rest (Hebrews 4:9-11), and letting Me work through you (Galatians 2:20) - not you, but Me for you, in you, and through you.
So, why didn't I just take you Home as soon as you were born-again? Someone told you it was because I needed your help, right? Sorry about that. That's not actually or biblically correct. You know, now. You learned the hard way back there, by yourself in My Yoke.
So, why are you here with Me? Have you figured it out already? Have you wrapped your brain around the true answer?
I want you here with Me in My Yoke...because I enjoy your company.
Most of us well-meaning Christians love others, but sometimes we don't "like" others. We rest pretty easy in the Lord's command to love - because He didn't say we had to like everyone.
I use this illustration of our human relationships to make an important point about the Yoke story. When we grasp the glorious Truth that Jesus really likes us, in addition to loving us, everything changes. We have caught Grace, and now, we can infect others. In fact, we can really like others, too, because He is able to do it through us.
But liking and loving are results, not the cause. Grace is the cause. The Law and all the commandments are not causes. We have to get the cart out of the way of the horse. The cart doesn't carry the horse, the cart follows behind.
When we embrace Grace, effects begin to flow. We have a river of Life in us! The river overflows. Fruit begins to happen! The Life of the Vine is in us, and we relax with God and let Jesus live His Resurrection Life through us. And when we do, all kinds of results begin to happen because we are in Christ and He is in us... and He really enjoys our company!
One of our favorite recent expressions is "being swept along," which we have experienced literally in the last few months. You would not believe where I am sitting right now, as I write this! I want you to really take this story to heart. When you relax in His Yoke and begin to enjoy His enjoyment of you, His delight in you, His true love of you, you will be swept along by His transforming Life within you, and you will love it! You will love Him like you did the first day that He saved you!