~ Matters of the Heart ~
Oxen and Christ
Last month we ended with the scripture where Jesus was talking about being yoked to Him. I have a friend, Susan, which was explaining what it looks like to yoke two oxen together: they use one older, stronger ox and then they attach the other side of the yoke to one who is younger and not as strong.
The reason for this is:
- To train the younger ox and make it stronger.
- The stronger, wiser ox can help bear the burden that they are carrying.
That is what Jesus does for us. He said, “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.” Matthew 11:29
He is saying when we are yoked to Him we will learn from Him. His teaching brings a gentle and humble heart, where we find rest for our soul. Jesus is the strongman, who has all wisdom yet is gentle and humble in heart. There is no pride when He teaches us. His ways bring us into rest, and our soul finds healing.
Removing His Yoke
Ever feel as if you’re so weak and under the weight of stress and anxiety that the pressure is breaking you? When we feel this way, we have removed ourselves from the yoke that was connected to Christ, our strength, our teacher. Now we’re walking away from His gentleness, humility, and the rest we carry when our soul is attached to His. We begin to walk in shame, perfectionism, pride, and rejection: all those emotions our memories once carried.
We begin to indulge in the things that we think bring us peace and happiness. We go to unhealthy habits that make our body weak. It brings a quick fix to whatever we’re going through, but it never satisfies. Satan wants shame to fill us, then we forget all the benefits we were given: in celebration, excellence, faithfulness, and commitment.
When we’re feeling stressed or under pressure, what do we run to? Can you think of some examples: food, sugar, spending, alcohol, drugs, sex, changing locations or jobs??
All these things are habits that have been trapped within our memories. Instead of these habits, we can bring in new values that look to our future, based on creating possibilities and opportunities.
Putting on His Yoke
Can you allow God’s goodness to be imparted to you? Will you find comfort in Holy Spirit? When you bring your perspectives into your willpower you begin to create principles which cause you to operate out of negative memories. Perspective also causes you to give reasons to what you say or do because you believe they are acceptable and you begin to live in your excuses.
Perspective is when we look to ourselves for the answers, we take what we once believed, and we create principles. When you operate in discernment, you begin to operate out of values and you step into beliefs that bring you freedom. With freedom from what you thought you couldn’t do, you begin to take risks; healthy, godly risks, that lead to freedom and destiny. Holy Spirit brings discernment to us, it’s the resurrection power that empowers us to speak and live in the newness of His life.
- Principles bring perspectives that bring the law.
- Discernment brings values that bring freedom.
What is discernment? Discernment to me is the ability to receive God’s righteousness. His righteousness brings clarity to our thoughts, words, actions, and character. Romans 6:13 says, “Do not offer any part of yourselves to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought rom death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness.”
Did you know that the word “instruments” means “weapons?” So its saying when we operate in our righteousness it’s a weapon used for evil, but when we operate in God’s righteousness we have a weapon worthy of warfare.
We didn’t earn it, we were given it when we received Christ as our Savor. His righteousness now lives in us and we can now grow into our head Christ Jesus!
When we walk in discernment we acknowledge the worth of God’s word:
Proverbs 8:8-9 “All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. To the discerning all of them are right; they are upright to those who have found knowledge.”
What is value and willpower? It’s when you find something that is useful, important, or excellent and it brings significance and worth into your will. It gives you the ability to carry out a decision or a plan. You have the ability to walk in self-control and determine your own actions by following God’s plan for your life.
Seeking discernment is a goal for all who desire to walk righteously:
Hosea 14:9 “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of The Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” You can distinguish truth from heresy.
When I saw that my values were based on principles, which is a belief or behavior that I used to reason or make excuses for my behaviors based on emotions triggered by memories, then I changed my principles and began to operate in values.
I believed what I could do, what I could be, and how much God had imparted that into my life. The things I saw and heard were so out of my comfort zone and skill levels, they had to be God-dreams; because they were bigger than I could have believed in for myself.
Now I am walking in the values of Heaven and I am finding freedom to walk in destiny. I see new opportunities and possibilities. God’s goodness can bring Holy Spirit to encourage me in the places I didn’t see or believe. He brought His power in and transformed me from the inside out.
Romans 12:1-2 “Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship. Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.”
Praying we can begin to walk in the newness of Christ’s life in us.