Sunday, October 27, 2013

Broken Yokes, Busted Bonds

"I broke your yoke and burst your bonds that you might serve Me, and you shattered the yoke and snapped the bonds of My Law which I put on you; you said, I will not serve and obey You! Cease from your mad running after idols from which you get nothing but bitter injury. Keep your feet from being unshod and your throat from thirst. But you said, It is hopeless! For I have loved strangers and foreigners, and after them I will go." Jeremiah 2:20, 25

          Sin is the ultimate bondage. Sin causes stress, guilt, worry, and heartache as well as physical burdens. When we operate outside of Law of God, we create for ourselves lives controlled by the consequences of sin. Thankfully, our Heavenly Father understood the burden of our sins and made a way for us to break free from them: He sent Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, He broke the yoke and busted the bonds that bound all mankind. He did this, so we could willingly and freely draw near to the heart of God. All we have to do to accept this freedom is accept the truth of who Christ is and what He did for us.

          When we receive Christ as Savior, God replaces the crippling burden of sin with an easy yoke and a light burden: His Law (Matthew 11:30.) Following God's Law keeps us in covenant with Him: a promise that says He will never leave us; He will never forsake us; He will protect us from our enemies; He will provide for all our needs, and He will make a place for us in Heaven. God's promises for our lives are beautiful, and they are true, but we must remember that a covenant is not one-sided. We must hold up our end of the bargain. 

          Throughout Biblical history, God's people have found themselves in seasons of judgement and hardship under God's wrath because they didn't keep their side of the agreement. In these situations, God calls to His children, wooing them to come home, only to have them ignore Him because they are too busy playing with their idols. In Jeremiah 2:25, God reminds them that they made their own choices about whom they would love and chase; He reminded them they chose to chase strangers over pursuing Him. He follows with, "Why do you complain against My wrath? You all have rebelled against Me (Jeremiah 2:29.) 

          There are those of us today who behave just as God's people did in Jeremiah's time. We've asked God to take our sinful nature, our heavy burdens, and our hardships, and we've traded them in for His Law. We know Who He is and what He is about, and we've entered into a covenant with Him agreeing to love Him and honor Him as He agrees to protect and provide for us. Somewhere down the road though, something that seems a lot more appealing catches our eyes. Maybe that "stranger" we see is money, a job, a relationship, a social life, or any number of things. Whatever "it" is, when we run after it, we are looking God directly in the face and saying, "It is hopeless for me to follow You. I have fallen in love with "it," and I have chosen to chase "it" instead of You."

          The moment we do this, we step out of covenant with God. We shatter the easy yoke and the light burden He gave us to carry, and we snap the protective covering He has placed on our lives. At first, it may seem like freedom. Perhaps we are having more "fun" or are enjoying "finding ourselves." Soon, however, the consequences of our sin find their way to us, and we are strapped down again with the heavy physical, mental, and emotional burdens of the world. We are without protection, provision, or peace. We are lost little children in need of our Father.

          The world would have us believe it has everything we need. It would love for us to abandon our covenant and chase after it, loving all the ideas and objects it has to offer. Because we are born of this world, there will be times (and maybe lots of them) that we will find ourselves tempted with the desire to pursue it. Let us remember remember the truth: the world's ways are not God's ways (Isaiah 55:8). When we say say yes to Him, He breaks the ways and the burdens of the world off us and gives us His Law, His provision, and His love. These are all easier to carry than hurt and pain caused by sin. 

          Today, if you have picked up again the yoke of sin, answer our Father's call to you to release it. Remember that despite the allure of the world, you are breaking your covenant with God. You are giving up divine protection, provision, and peace for a world that will fade away (1 John 2:17.) Let the yoke God shattered remain that way: broken. Choose to pursue God; live in the freedom of obeying Him.

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