“Everything and Yet, Nothing” (1 John 4:9 HCSB) by Carley Evans

God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

In the nitty-gritty of day-to-day living, people sometimes – perhaps many times – find God far away or even non-existent. God reveals His Love for people by sending His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ into the world so that people might see Him face to face and know His Love firsthand. (God blesses those who do not see Him face to face and nevertheless believe His Love is real.)

Q: What is the point? 

A: God reveals Himself so that people might live through Him.

Q: What does that mean?

A: Jesus tells us to throw off the burdens of life, pick up His yoke (which He reminds us is light and easy to bear) and follow Him.

Q: Where are we going?

A: Wherever He leads.

Q: What is the cost?

A: Everything; and yet nothing.

An Even Yoke (Philippians 2: 12, HCSB) by Carley Evans

Paul commands you to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” (Philippians 2: 12 – 13)

God works in you because His Holy Spirit dwells within you as within a temple. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because your body is God’s dwelling place, how can you unite yourself with those who hate God? You can’t. For what you love, that person despises.

Paul says not to be yoked with unbelievers for it is an uneven bonding. “Don’t you know,” says Paul, “that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you are bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6: 19 – 20)

Seek someone within the body of Christ to join with you, knowing that God is your primary focus, that He strengthens your relationship and literally makes it holy.

Yoked with a believer, you know that both of you have God at work within “to desire and to work out His good purpose” for your lives. You both must continue to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” lest you fall away from one another, fall into lust for another, and dishonorably into unfaithfulness and adultery.

But thanks be to God, you are not one to fall away. You are the Lord’s and His power is at work within you. Rely upon Him; He takes you to the prize — a holy relationship with another Christian.

“Jesus’ Easy Yoke” (Matthew 11: 28, ESV) by Carley Evans

Do you labor under a heavy weight? Are you burdened in your day to day existence? Jesus says, “Come to Me. I will give you rest.”

Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon ourselves. We are to learn from Him. Jesus claims to be “gentle and lowly in heart.” (Matthew 11: 29) He says that His “yoke is easy, and [His] burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 30)

What exactly makes Jesus’ yoke easy?

When I was little, I wanted my own way most of the time. I said ‘No’ a lot, especially to my parents. I can’t think of a single instance in which this made me happier than if I’d just said ‘Yes’ to my parents. Not one. I can’t think of a time when wanting and getting my own way helped me. My stubborn heart has harmed me more often than not.

Jesus says, “I Am gentle and lowly in heart.” Jesus, who is God, claims to be humble! He claims to set aside Himself for others. His yoke is light; His burden virtually non-existence because He puts others above Himself! He dies for the world! He sets aside His own glory for others!

Jesus calls us to enter His rest. We are to rest from our own work, and step inside His. Jesus has finished His work; and His yoke is easy to wear: light and not burdensome. His yoke calls us to set aside our own stubborn willfulness and give to others that which He gives to us — Himself.