This post is part of a series on the character of Jesus and how we are called to live because of who he is. Read the intro, part one, and part three by clicking on the links.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
How is it that freedom can be found in setting aside all the desires we once gave in to? We used to think freedom meant doing whatever we pleased and yet it left us feeling empty. We were promised that ones true self could be discovered through self-actualization, searching within, understanding ones full potential, and on and on. And yet we still needed to keep searching to find meaning, to find freedom from negativity. We had to try so hard.
When Christ came to the world striving for perfection meant following the Law. Where we are told to look inward they were told to look outward. Right living and offering up sacrifices could purchase the freedom from sin. It was a never-ending cycle. And yet it did end, in the fulfillment of all the prophecies. The Son of God became the ultimate sacrifice and freedom from the Laws that defined the people of God.
Freedom is found when we look to Christ, not to ourselves, not to the laws we allow to enslave us. You see all of us are slaves to something. You may be a slave to the approval of others, only allowing what others think to drive your actions. You may be a slave to addiction and the grip it holds over every facet of a person’s body, mind and soul. You may be a slave to achievement, assured that happiness and fulfillment come with status, recognition and power over others. More than likely you do not even realize what is holding you in bondage, what you have allowed to become your master.
But there is only one thing that, in slavery, brings freedom. Christ alone. A skeptic and critic see a man who requires so much. To turn away from everything around us, leaving it all behind to follow him, it seems a bit extreme. But then you begin to follow him and life drastically changes. It suddenly becomes perfectly clear that everything you once strove for was preventing you from living the life you were created for. You begin to see that by simply loving God and loving others as Jesus taught brings a life that is full to the brim.
Jesus is freedom. When we take up his yoke we allow him to guide us. Just as an ox, when pulling a yoke, will plow a field and prepare it for planting, guided by his master’s skilled hands. It is this restraint that actually allows us to live free, joy-filled, peace-delivering, hope-offering lives. Lives that are helping prepare the fields to receive the hope-filled news of Jesus Christ.