A Yoke of Freedom

“For my yoke is easy, my burden is light…(Matt. 11:30)”

This has been one of the most difficult verses to reconcile in my life.

As an MK my most traumatic experiences are enveloped under the phrase “Jesus called us…,”

When your house burns down, it’s for Jesus.

When you have rocks thrown at you, it’s for Jesus.

When you move suddenly without a goodbye, it’s for Jesus.

When you’re robbed, it’s for Jesus.

When you are alone, it’s for Jesus.

His yoke is easy?

His burden is light?

I’m sorry, but what exactly is light and burden-less about what Christ has asked us to do? Because, his burden has felt very weighty and very hard to me and as my faith and relationship with God grows it has been a frequent topic of conversation in my prayers.

Um…excuse me God…this is not my definition of easy and this burden you have placed on top of me is wicked hard.

But throughout this last year of living overseas again, God has graciously begun to open my eyes to the truth of why his yoke is so easy and how his burden is truly light.

It’s not about suffering at all.

It’s about freedom.

I had never truly seen the weight of the burden that people are under without Jesus Christ until this last year. I’ve seen a new kind of yoke that is heavily enmeshed in holy works all hidden behind a guise of purity. The pursuit of perfection as a means of salvation. Maybe it’s just maturity or maybe it’s the timing of God, but I see more clearly now how God has freed me from the law of perpetual works.

This law he made to condemn me, a law he knew I could never fulfill, a law that sends me straight to hell. (Romans 3:20-28)

He freed me from it!

With his blood, in his death, as he suffered, he freed me from the continual, habitual, overwhelming knowledge that I am not good enough. Because no matter how good we think we are, we all know that we fall short, we all know that we’ve failed.

No matter how many good works I do, how much I fast, how generous I am, how modest I dress, it will never be enough before God!

And God knows that and he had a plan for that and he paid my price and he wiped out my debt and he took my shame and he made me clean. So clean in fact that I no longer have to worry about what he thinks of me or about where I will be when I die or about whether I am doing enough. I am assured deliverance. I am already adopted. I am his. I have a clean slate. My past, present and future are clean.

That is freedom.

The freedom to not be perfect because God is perfect.

The freedom to take insults that aren’t ours.

The freedom to be humiliated.

The freedom to be shamed.

What sweetness it is to have this rush of peace in knowing the price has already been paid, the work has already been accomplished and the world already overcome.

With Jesus, I can pray as I am…sin and all.

With Jesus, I can admit my fault…and still smile.

With Jesus, I can make sacrifices….and not feel deprived.

With Jesus, I can laugh at my humiliation…and not have to save face.

With Jesus, I can still love… though I’m mocked.

With Jesus, I can face death…and not fear for my salvation.

I have nothing to prove! Not to God, not to man, and living under that yoke is easy and the weight of that burden is light.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1


Are you living under the easy yoke of freedom that Christ provides?

In what ways are you bearing the yoke of perfection instead of the one Christ offers?

Are you willing to cast it off today that you might take up a lighter load?



  1. MaDonna March 2, 2016

    Joy, thanks for your words today. I love your list at the end where you list “With Jesus…” For me it was laughing at my humiliation…and living cross-culturally has given me ample amounts of situations to be humiliated. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone…there is freedom in that.

    1. Joy Smalley March 2, 2016

      Hi MaDonna, thank you. Living overseas definitely gives us an abundant amount of opportunities to be humiliated! For me there is so much power in knowing that I have nothing to prove.

  2. Anna March 3, 2016

    Having Jesus gives us a whole different perspective that wouldn’t make sense to other eyes.  Thanks for sharing this post 🙂

    1. Joy Smalley March 4, 2016

      Having Jesus is amazing! I am so grateful that he opens my eyes to his perspective and reality little by little.

  3. Sydnie March 4, 2016

    This is so timely for me. My memory verses this week are Matthew 11:28-30. I have been struggling a lot with feeling like His yoke is not easy or light at all. Because I feel the need so acutely to work harder and do more. To be good enough. Surrender does not come naturally.

    1. Joy Smalley March 4, 2016

      I can relate to the drive to be good enough. Over the last two years God has really been showing me that when he says his power is made perfect in weakness it actually means that I am actually incapable. I am actually weak and not strong, lol. It has been a relief to accept that my weakness is not a hinderance to God. Man, our God is awesome!

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