“I am in prison because I belong to the Lord. God chose you to be his people, so I urge you now to live the life to which God called you. Always be humble, gentle, and patient, accepting each other in love.”
We have a dual allegiance, one to Jesus and also to each other. We belong to Him and each other. To forget either part is not to be fully faithful. We are a family with God as our head and we watch out for each other.
The famous minister R.C. Sprole told his friends of his life changing experience. He had discovered God. His belief in Jesus changed his life! He was waiting for the groups to congratulate him but instead they thought that he had gone mad! He thought that because of his new life, his friends would follow. He was trying to be a faithful friend by enthusiastically showing them a new way to live following Jesus.
In real life, you have to pay attention to the sequence and order of things. In sports, it’s training camp first and then the season. In music, it’s practice first and then the recital. In academics, it’s study first and then take the exam. We have to know our position in Jesus before we can put anything into practice. God is intentional in teaching us His word first so that we can use it to guide our lives. Paul wants us to know that being a Christian is not merely a way of believing but a way of living.
What does it mean to live in Jesus, to be attached in life and faith? In Jesus day, farmers used a yoke to link two oxen to each other. The yoke was then attached to another object such as a plow. Linked by the yoke, the two oxen could then work together to pull the burden. Farmers used to train young oxen to plow by partnering them with stronger, more mature oxen. The job of the young ox was simply to follow along in the same direction and keep pace with the older ox who acted as a teacher. The older oxen pulled most of the weight and understood the commands of the plow driver. As long as the young ox followed along, everything was fine. If the young ox decided to speed up or lag behind, the work became much more difficult. Only by keeping up with the older ox and learning from him could the younger ox complete the day’s work in the best way possible.
When we are yoked to Jesus, he carries most of the weight. Jesus applies this image to our life with Him. In Matthew, Jesus says, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my Yoke is easy and my burden is light.” So what are we getting if we are yoked to Jesus? It is the ability to find our way by living a Christian life. In John 14:6, Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Jesus is the way of hope. When illness, disappointment, and failure come, Jesus is the way through these difficulties. Jesus is also the way through an uncertain future. Jesus give us hope for the future. Experience confirms the need for strong daily faith.
Jesus is the way to heaven. If you were going to a location that you had never been to before, you would seek out a guide. You wouldn’t chose a guide who had never visited your desired location but would seek one who knew the way. Jesus left this world for the splendors of being with the Father. He can show you the way. You just need to have faith and follow Him!