As I sit here, I continue to give God praise. He has been my rock, my refuge, my shelter in the storm (Ps. 18:2). He has been my strong tower -- the one to whom I run into -- when fear and enemies rush to overtake me (Prov. 18:10).
The Lord God is good. He is worthy to be praised, and I give Him this testimony today.
In re-reading my long list of testimony, I am struck by the magnitude of what the Lord has done for me. I consider the fruit of the Spirit of Galations 5:22-23 NIV:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."
With consideration that this is all of the Lord, and it is not of me, I am faced with the realization that I have two choices to make each and every day: one, to follow the Lord; and two, to go my own way. Every day, in every way, these are the choices I must make. I can do things the Lord's way, and follow after Him; or, I can choose my own understanding and limitations, and go my own way, do my own thing.
I have tried doing things my way, and frankly, I was not very successful at them. In fact, I would say that my way was pretty pathetic -- yelling, screaming, crying, demanding, sinning -- yes, fleshly and flawed. But, His way is perfect, and is filled with His blessed peace. So while I may not fully understand where I am going, or how I am to do something, I have confidence to know that it will be done His way.
I am far more comfortable going His way, and doing things the way He asks me to do them. It is easier, though at times the path is rocky and difficult. The "going" part is what is easy, and this is why our Lord said this to us:
"For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." Matt. 11:30 NLT
The burden we carry is heavy, and our yoke, the yoke of fleshly, flawed humanity is difficult to bear. But when we put off that yoke and lay down that burden; and then, pick up His yoke and burden, we feel relief. The Lord's yoke is easy because we are not the one pulling the cart -- we help Him to pull that cart. We are not the one's to carry the load; we help Him carry the load. The idea is of a Master Ox yoked along side of a junior Ox. The greater animal pulls the cart and the load, keeping to the path. He is seasoned, He knows where He is to go, and He knows how much strength is needed to get the job done. The junior Ox is undisciplined, and would prefer to graze by the side of the road all day. He cannot pull the cart on his own, he is unable to do it. He cannot lead because he is not trained to the yoke yet. Therefore, he must be trained to the side of the Master, so that together they get the job done. In doing so, the Master corrects the junior Ox, making sure he keeps his footing, takes even steps, and moves at a steady pace. The junior Ox learns how to move with the yoke, how to pull his share of the cart, and how to stay on the path. It is quite simple -- and it is a perfect illustration for us to see that this is how the Lord trains us for His work and ministry.
We are undisciplined creatures. We need a Master to show us how to do things, and we need to follow and listen and obey. We learn by listening first, and then doing the work by imitating the Master.
I am yoked to my Master, and I carry the burden He gives to me. I do not seek my own burden to carry. I do not seek to go my own way. I do not attempt to yoke myself to another, because I can only have one yoke on at a time. I would have to take off the Master's yoke to put on another. I choose to remain yoked to my Lord, and to listen to His instruction. In doing so, I will pull the cart, carry the burden, and do it with His help. I will be able to walk on at a steady pace, and not grow weary or tired (Is. 40:31).
Now I am ready to cast off all other yokes. All other yokes lead to bondage and slavery. Only the Lord's yoke brings freedom, brings peace, and brings rest. I have cast them off, and I have laid my burden's at His glorious feet. I am ready Lord, I am ready to choose your way -- always. In Jesus' Name, I pray...Amen. So be it. Thy will be done. Selah!