I have been reminded to think about this verse:
Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30
It is not Jesus who makes being His follower difficult; it is satan and evil in the world who come against us. Jesus helps us overcome. His yoke and burden is light. Being yoked to Him is good for us. He helps to make a way when there seems to be no way.
Satan is the one who enslaves and gives heavy burdens. We tend to think that slavery is something from the past as in the slaves in Egypt, or the serfs of the kings and landlords during the Dark Ages, or the slavery of black people in the Confederate South. But, slavery is still alive and well today. In various places on earth, this type of slavery still exists. We have all heard of the sex slave trade. But, slavery is also operating in the average everyday American person in more subtle ways. We think we are free, but……
What tries to enslave us? Have you ever felt enslaved to any of these things? I have.
A job – more of our time is spent on the job than anywhere else, plus the job determines the hours we MUST be there. Our reward is survival plus as many “comforts and pleasures” as we can grasp….. often conditional on who or what we are willing to submit ourselves to.
The money system. Have you ever felt like a financial slave in debtors prison? If you do not pay, you and your family will suffer. They could “kick you to the street” and take all you own.
A substance. Something (not usually helpful) that calls out to you enticing you to ingest it into your body….it could be chocolate, sugar, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, etc.
A thing. Some thing that has become a bad habit that is very hard to break….like gambling, cell phones, computer games, shopping, gossip, telling lies (fibs), swearing, envy, laziness, pushing blame, pride, sexual lust, materialism, quick anger……lots and lots to trap us here….anything that enslaves through temporary pleasure and becomes habitual can become addictive and enslaving.
A government. A government can enslave its citizens. It is not really for the people, but rather it establishes dictatorial laws to enslave the people and covers up with propaganda, law, and enforcement.
Peers and social organizations. Peers or social organizations who require that you “follow the crowd” or be ousted. This can range from the mob and gangs to your own inner circle of friend groups. It can also be true of social organizations whether secular or religious. You might recognize this as peer pressure.
These are all traps that enslave with heavy burdens. They require you give your life and energy without regard to any harm they inflict on you or others. This is the service that satan requires…..heavy and burdensome. It is supported by fear and fleshly human desires. His deception is to get people to think they are serving themselves…..and that serving yourself is OK.
Yoking up (hooking up) with Jesus does not bring with it a heavy burden. He is yoked with us and carries with us. He lightens our burden and makes our life journey easier. Jesus sets us free with truth. He overcomes evil with good. His motive is not what He can get from us, but rather He is motivated by love. We serve one another together in love by free choice. It is our joy and pleasure to serve Him (our good, righteous, wise, loving Master whose authority is from the Father)! Paul even rejoiced in calling himself of bondslave of Christ. A bondslave is someone who by choice has determined to serve his/her master forever due to loyal love. Being a bondservant of Jesus is not burdensome, but rather a terrific place to be!
BIG difference depending on who or what we are serving (self, world, satan, or Jesus)! John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. “