28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Jesus Christ
Can there be sweeter words from the mouth of Jesus?
There have been times in the past few years specifically when I have been exhausted in ways that I didn’t even know I could be. Constantly pushing against things and working to get myself, my family or a ministry to that place where you feel ready, comfortable, prepared, productive or whatever…it gets tiring. Many of the most tiring battles have been internal. One of the biggest battles has been learning to discern between “the voices”. Now before you get concerned that I am going off the deep-end or maybe even more crazy than you already thought I was, let me explain.
Yes, it’s true. I hear voices. I’ll confess. And yes, some of them are audible. In fact, some of them might even be yours. Other voices may be just imagined in my head or actually my own voice and sometimes I even think I hear God’s voice, though not out loud. Now if you’re counting…that’s a lot of voices. Out of them all the most important has to be God’s or so I have to remind myself… almost every day. Why? Because almost all the time, I am conscious of all kinds of people and their expectations, wants or desires. Whether I am thinking about my agency ReachGlobal, my supporters and churches, or my family back home. Even here in Panama there are people or groups of people that have ideas about my life or desires they would like me to satisfy even though they might be implicit or never even stated. Sometimes it feels like virtually everyone around me has an expectation or desire for me including of course–myself.
Now if I begin to think for one second that it’s possible to start pleasing all these people or groups of people I start to play a game, a game I hate. The Game I am talking about is that rat race of craziness where I actually try to run around and satisfy the desires or expectations all those people or groups of people. Unfortunately I have tried to do this way too many times and I know from experience that it always leads me back to the same exhausted spot, wondering how to hear the voice of the one that really matters through all the noise – God.
Then I remember this verse and suddenly it has new meaning to me. I think I know how Jesus had such an easy yoke and such a light burden despite the true fact that he was/is the actual SAVIOR of the WORLD! Of course it’s not that people didn’t have desires or expectations of him. All over the Gospels we read about how people wanted him to leave, come, heal, speak, touch, be king, be dead, be gone, or whatever. I don’t think anybody has ever had more expectations on them than Jesus. YET he says his yoke is easy and burden is light…HOW can that be?
I think it’s surprisingly simple.
He knew that he had only one voice to listen to. He knew he had only one set of expectations to obey. He knew he had only one being in his life to please…His Heavenly Father. Everyone else just didn’t compare. So what does this mean?
This means, I have to learn to listen to one and only one voice in my life – really. There is truly, only one voice to listen to and obey…the voice of our Heavenly Father. Others may not like that. Some will literally hate that but that is the only way to live if you don’t want to be frazzled, exhausted or crazy at the end of your day, week or life. Moreover, I will add that if people really care about you, like they say they do, they will agree and support this too. They will agree that each of us is never in a better place than when we are fully obeying the voice of our Creator with an undivided heart. Furthermore, when we are listening to just His voice, I will bet that we will find ourselves being more of what we need to be for all of those other people anyway as a natural byproduct of lives living focused on God.
So, make it easy. Listen for God’s voice and do what He says and do it every day and let the other voices go. I need to keep this in check because the very idea is under attack all day long. His voice is competing constantly with all the other voices around me all the time. So my ears must be trained and attuned to that specific note of my heavenly Father’s voice. This comes only one way. We must get used to His voice. And in case you’re wondering, the most common way for Him to speak to us is through his written Word every time we read it. The more we read it, the more we know it. When we read God’s Word, we hear God’s voice. We note his tone. We familiarize ourselves with his uniquely, sweet sound. We learn about his passions. We understand his desires and expectations for us and then we get to live by them.
Easy & Light.