Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Wear My Protective Yoke

July 2, 2010

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

A yoke goes across two animals connecting them to a plow or wagon. Yokes are made specifically to fit the body frame of a particular animal. A friend of mine watched two oxen end their work day and observed the yoke being removed from their shoulders. She noticed that the skin of one of the oxen had been injured by the rubbing of the yoke which caused bleeding and skin abrasions. Upon asking about the injury, the owner shared that the injured ox was recently purchased as a replacement for his earlier ox that had died. The new ox’s injury was caused by wearing a yoke designed for another ox.

What a picture of the danger of carrying loads not designed for us and being yoked to a wrong master. Christ alone knows us intimately: our background, skills, talents and the baggage we carry from past hurtful experiences. He has adequate and complete knowledge to lead, direct, and work with us through life’s journey. He created us to carry His load under His gentle guidance and safe leadership, not the loads of others. Be cautious of the burden of performing for and pleasing others. Avoid carrying the load of others that He has placed upon their shoulders.

True freedom is found in surrendering to Christ’s lordship and in being protectively and securely yoked to Him.

Prayer

Father, help me to surrender to your lordship alone. Help me recognize when I am wrongly yoked to performance and carrying burdens not intended for me. Let me live in the freedom of obedience to you.

What’s Your Motivation?

June 18, 2010

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God…Colossians 1:1

Paul’s Damascus experience, while traumatic and terrifying, became a defining moment that ignited an inextinguishable fire in Paul. Entering into a relationship with Jesus, Paul embraced the love of Christ that fanned into flame a desire to do God’s will. The love of Christ empowered his service for the rest of his life.

While few people hear their life assignment directly from God as Paul did (Acts 26), all Christians have the same purpose: to do the will of God.  God’s will is not a location, it’s a condition of the heart. A heart where love motivates service. Where the purpose of one’s service is to honor and glorify God. In modern day English that means spotlighting Christ through our lives and actions.

Paul’s apostleship was not motivated by selfish aspirations or ambition. He was consumed by the love of Christ which caused him to labor selflessly. Paul’s commitment and dedication can help us reflect on our motivations for work and service.

When I experience resentment, bitterness, agitation, anger, discontentment, self-striving and lack of peace, it’s time for me to examine whether my motivation is self-motivated or God motivated.

I’m not saying that serving from pure motives will prevent you from experiencing negative emotions, but emotions can be a clue of needed examination and reflection.

Let your emotional warning signs serve as a Damascus experience where you meet with Jesus. In His presence release your agenda and expectations in order to embrace His love, plans, and purposes for your life and service.

Realize that emotions may be warning sign for a needed heart change. Be open to exploring this possibility. Negative emotions may also identify the need to engage in difficult conversations with others. These learning conversations need to occur in an atmosphere where your feelings are openly shared without judging the actions of others or yourself. They need to focus on understanding yourself and others more deeply.

 Steps to Discovering What’s Motivating You

  • Start one-on-one with God. Pray asking God to reveal what’s in your heart. In other words, what is motivating your actions?
  • Invite God to do heart therapy, replacing selfish motivation for motivation influenced by His love.
  • If negative emotions remain, its possible conflict needs to be resolved with others. Ask God how to pursue these needed conversations with a humble and non-judgmental heart.
  • Even Paul had to initiate difficult conversations with others.