Text: Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
The life Jesus promised us His people is one that is abundant in freedom, peace and joy. The promises of God are overwhelmingly rich and magnanimous that when resounded, we shall think to ourselves that all should be well with a Christian. The opposite is actually the case most times. The reason is because many do not yet understand how we can enter into the victorious nature of Christ.
The will of God from creation is for man to replicate His abilities and nature. For this, man was made in the image of God. And God said to Adam and Eve: “Be fruitful and dominate.”
Howbeit, God’s people find it hard to produce the very nature of God and His Christ which characterized by dominion and victory over –
- Sin and Flesh
- The world
Over all these, Jesus our Lord who is also our Father had victory and dominion.
Over sin: Jesus Christ was declared sinless by Isaiah’s prophecy and the New Testament (2 Corinthians 5:21). His human nature couldn’t overcome Him.
Over evil: Christ had supreme dominion over evil. He cast out demons by command; they bowed, listened and obeyed. No power could withstand Him in His days. And although there were evil and evil people in the world, evil could not conquer His goodness. And Himself said, “Whoever believes in me will do greater than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12).”
The sad reality is that many of our Churches, Pastors and Christians cannot overpower small evil Spirits. And as for evil, it has long conquered many among us.
Over darkness, Jesus is the Light of the world. For Light shines in darkness and darkness cannot not comprehend, nor defeat His Light. When Satan approached, Jesus said: “For the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. (John 14:30)”
Over the world, Jesus lived in dominion. The world here is all organized forces that fights against the knowledge and worship of God. This includes Satan, Demons, agents of darkness, the wickedness of men, sin and death. For He said: “In the world you will have tribulations/trouble, but fear not! For I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)”
If Christ had all this dominion and victory, then the following questions may be rightly asked:-
- Why do many believers find it hard to overcome sin after coming to Christ? Twice have I been asked a similar question.
Truly there are many testimonies of those who believed with their heart, and power for sonship came upon in them. But it is also true that many believers still live under the bondage of sin.
One of the questions came from my cousin. He asked why it is hard to become whom he wants to be despite numerous times of surrendering to Christ. The other question was from a stranger. He asked, “Why do we still sin?” That is to say he is finding it hard to stop sinning despite his belief. There is an answer to this question.
- Why are many of us still very much plagued much by insurmountable troubles despite the promise of abundant life? Today we see that many Church people suffering mental health challenges and depression. Why do many not have dominion over these things? Surely joy and peace are part of the abundant life package!
- Why are many believers still in bondage? For the captives of the mighty and preys of the strong men were supposed to be set free by the power of the Cross.
- Do we not know that many Church people dwell in darkness? Jesus is the Light of men, I’ve tasted and seen that He truly saves from darkness. But there are very man of us who still soul travel, astral project, and are bound in various spiritual societies. Yes! Many Church people have become Children of the night. It is not supposed to be this way, but many of us are ignorant of the truth, so we remain bound. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)”
- The summary of these questions is, why are we not able to be victorious like Jesus our Father and Lord? Sin, flesh, evil, troubles, darkness and the world still have many of us by the neck, leading many of us into eternal damnation.
The answer to these questions is gotten from the text Matthew 11:28-30
Firstly, Jesus said to the people: “Come unto me all ye that are heavy ladened and I will give you rest.” This call is likened to the initial call unto Christ; for men to come and receive rest and freedom from sin, evil, darkness, depression, life billows and eternal damnation.
This message is for those who have passed this level. That is to say, I write to the Church of God; to those who have answered the call to come and follow the Lord Jesus.
But one could visit a barber’s shop and leave without shaving. For him to get a haircut, he needs to reason with the barber on the cost of getting a haircut. He needs to pay for it and then sit on the barber’s chair to show readiness, and then he can be saved. Similarly, one can be in the Church, have many titles, do many good works, but is yet to be saved.
A Man of God visited a good Churcher. While preparing to leave, the Holy spirit spoke to this man of God concerning the very soul of the good Churcher. The Spirit said: “He is not saved; preach to him.” The Man of God was very hesitant because this was a good Churcher who should have been saved. Unfortunately, he finally left without doing what he was told to do.
In the morning, the man of God got a message that the man he refused to minster to has died. It was late, but he cried much anyway.
Here is the wisdom of God in Jeremiah 8:20
“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!”
When we go to Church, we are like those in a barber’s shop. The true expectation is that we will be shaved and made clean. But the harvest is coming, the end of time is almost here, many of us are still on the pursuit of many things that matter not, without seeking genuine salvation which is what truly matters. Therefore, many are not saved; and very many have died yet unsaved.
The call of Christ is only the first step. Those who stop in the first level of this call cannot experience total freedom and victory in the areas of their lives. Even if the yoke if sin is broken at instant sanctification, there needs to be progressive work of God in a man life until he is made like our God and Christ.
Hence, Jesus gave us the second command: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly at heart; and you will find rest for your souls.”
Thus, the rest Jesus promised was only possible to those who do the second command. Those who only come to become Churchers or church people will miss the main package.
The yoke of Christ is the teachings of Christ. To take them up and bind it on our necks is the second command of Jesus Christ. A farm yoke is not meant to restrict freedom, but to direct an animal according to wishes of the farmer. He wants to Lord us, and the proof that He Lords and directs us is that we do His word and practice His teachings.
Then Jesus continued: “Learn from Me; for I am meek and lowly at heart; then you will find rest for your souls.” This means that it is not just the teachings of Jesus, we also have to learn from Him. That is to say, we must observe, study, learn and imitate His ways.
Apostle Paul had a secret to his victorious Christian life. For He said: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)”
Therefore, if a believer truly wants to come to true dominion and victorious nature of Christ, he also has to know and live by the teachings of Christ as it is in the Bible. “Do not be hearers or readers only, but also doers of the word. (James 1:22)” Secondly, He must replicate the life which Christ lived. By His ways the Apostles of Christ lived in victory. The early Church also lived by this way and they had dominion.
What we learn from the life of Jesus Christ
- His Holy life
We have to live a holy Life unto God. Holiness is separating ourselves from sin and consecration unto God. Holiness is the nature of the Victorious God. The Victorious nature of God is therefore made possible for men if they will also put on Holiness like God. From this post you can see what Holiness is about.
When a man is Holy, he shows faithfulness to the covenant of God. Therefore, God will supply more of His Spirit of might, of Wisdom, of Grace, of knowledge, and of Power. By this Spirit we shall conquer many deficiencies of our mortal flesh and human nature.
Likewise, if we are found wanting, we shall also lack His Spirit. By this, it will be very difficult to overcome sin and to replicate the dominion made possible by the Spirit of the covenant. It is written; “Be Holy as I am Holy.” 1 Peter 1:16
- His Prayer Life
If there ever was a man who should not pray, it was Jesus Christ. But Jesus was a prayer warrior. He spent nights on top of the mountains praying. The bible says He interceded for the men. Apostle Paul learnt this and he wrote: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17).
Nobody is greater than his prayer life, no church can ever be greater than their prayer life. God cannot work mightily and be glorified among the gentiles until men begin to burn incense of prayer and praise. (Malachi 1:11) The Holy spirit said to me, “God’s power comes when men pray and praise.”
So, imagine a prayerless Christian and a dead Church wishing to become victorious and to dominate the powers of the world of evil, sin and darkness, it is impossible. “Men always ought to pray and not faint.” Luke 18:1
- His Knowledge of God’s word
Jesus Christ was a man of the letter and of the Spirit. The Sanhedrin asked themselves, “How does He know the law when he never received training for it?” When Satan came to tempt Jesus, He didn’t speak in tongues, he didn’t pray, He only said “It is written…”
The knowledge of God’s word is a killer weapon for a victorious Christian life. Jesus used it to conquer Satan. David used it to overcome. The word of God guided Joshua to become a prosperous and great leader. It helped Hezekiah align to God. It also sustained the kingdom of Josiah in righteousness.
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” -Psalm 119:11
“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” – Psalms 119:105
There is no Christian who desires victory over sin and the world who jokes with his bible. There is no one who desires a perfect communion with God who does not make the word of God (both to read and to listen) a priority. Because God relates with us based on His word and not our emotions.
Myself was born again while I was reading the bible. The Spirit of God illuminated me and I broke out from the bondage of the flesh.
I did get to the point- ‘The things I don’t want to do, I see myself doing theme.’ In those days the Spirit caused me to read the letters of Paul with great openness. Then I stumbled upon the text “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Then, with great joy I died to flesh. For something instantly happened to me and I knew it.
The word of God sanctifies a man; it heals us from our inability to know God. It heals us from our inability to replicate His very nature. If we Joke with it, we will never become victorious Christians.
“For He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them out of their destructions.” -Psalm 107:20
I’ve also come to learn that many believers don’t have victory and dominion because they don’t know the word of God. They don’t know the provisions of God for them, and they are highly ignorant on how to access the free gift of God. So, they remain in bondage and chains of sin, Satan and darkness.
A generation of believers who don’t strive to have personal knowledge of the scripture cannot live and walk in dominion like Christ. Likewise, a generation of Pastors who only know to preach money, seed, sacrifice, destiny helpers and prophetic declarations cannot lead victorious men. The teachings of Christ must come before all these. In those plain bible truths lies the power of God made available for the victory of His people. “For you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.“ John 8:32
- His Missional living
Missional living is to live in a way that our life speaks to others about God. Like doing the work of a missionary with your way of life. Such a life glorifies God before those who don’t know God.
Our Christianity must speak and shine before others. Men must see us and know Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the word, a city built on a hilltop (by God).” That is what we are!
The Apostles and the early Church were observed by the gentiles, and because of the kind of life they lived, the gentiles gave them the name ‘Christians’; meaning people like Christ.
Meanwhile, some Churchers need to convince the world that they are for Christ Jesus. It is because from the judgment of men they are nothing like Christ; but instead, they are like those to whom they were supposed to be a light unto. These Church goers talk like unbelievers, act like them, dress seductively and sultry like them, sing their kind of songs, fight, curse like them, lie and cheat like them. These are those group of Church people who deceive themselves saying: “Christianity is a thing of the heart.” For this, they put on a sinful lifestyle which glorifies the world of sin and Satan the lord of it.
But, from the beginning of times to the revelation of the end, the people whom God calls his own, He has also told, to live in a way worthy of Him. To live in righteousness and in the fear of God- which is to depart from everything that is sinful. To put on holiness and not to copy or become like the word.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.(Romans 12:2)” So, God is not only interested in our hearts. Our works, deeds and acts are very much part of our service to God.
If we are like them(unbelievers), why and what do we preach to them? Why should they take us and our God serious? Thus, we have those who bring shame and disgrace to God and the gospel. No difference between the perishing and them. Instead of being like Christ in missional living and being a light to those who don’t know God, they share in Satan’s agenda to destroy the word with sin.
I remember my years in the Higher Institution. Surrounded by people whose life dishonor God, yet my light shined out to them. I ensured they knew for real that I was different.
One day, some persons decided to try and see if I was genuine by tempting me with a beautiful lady, but I passed!
One of the reasons I was victorious over sin and flesh like Christ was because I lived a missional life. For it became very difficult for me to begin to fall for what I lived against. I couldn’t become a hypocrite before them. I couldn’t bare to disgrace and disregard my God after shining light for so long.
And because I lived for God before those who don’t know Him, God gave me grace and strength not to fall before them. “For He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” -Psalm 23:3 “For He who has more will be given.” -Matthew 25:29
Finally, we must know that as people of God,
“…You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
- He Set His heart on Pilgrimage
When the heart is set unto pilgrimage, one desires nothing but what is worth eternal life. To set our hearts on pilgrimage is to live as pilgrims on earth, ever longing for the end of our cause, and looking forward to be united with our eternal Father in a better home. It will help a believer to be careful of deeds that can cause him to lose the crown of life. It will also help him to be faithful and devoted.
Jesus had this mindset when He said to Peter, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. (John 4:33-)” Again Jesus said: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. (John 9:4)” No one who has this kind of mindset entangles himself with worthless things but with things that are of eternal value. Thus, he shall have victory over the lust of the eyes and cravings of men.
Paul also had this mindset when he wrote in Hebrews 12:1 saying;
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We will beat envy, strife, jealousy, in-fightings, hatred, covetousness, the love of money, malice, and many other sins when we set our hearts on pilgrimage. For we are eternal vessels moving on to eternity. This earthly journey, no matter how sweet or bitter, is a temporal one. Some have just 20 years to spend here; some 30; many won’t see 40; 50 is enough for some; if God favors a man, he may see 70. Nonetheless, eternity is an endless stay. One cannot afford to end up in hell pursuing things that are eternally meaningless. Therefore, we must set our hearts on pilgrimage like Christ.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
- He was meek and lowly hearted
Meekness is a rare quality such that even the finest of men may not be able to produce it, but by God. Meekness is a quality that includes – gentleness, long-suffering, humility, mildness, submissiveness, yielding, patience, poor in spirit, not willing to get vengeance for yourself etc.
By meekness can the peace of Christ become our portion. Shabby attitude believers are always liable to sin and be made to sin. but in meekness we will learn to leave a quiet and peaceful life, serving God and loving one another.
1 Thessalonians 4:11: “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.”
My yoke is easy; my burden is light
The yoke or burden God puts on a man is to be aided by the power of the Spirit. It is not meant to restrict but meant to guide to full usefulness unto God. No man can please God unless the Spirit empowers Him. And we know that God is willing and benevolent in giving his Spirit to His faithful ones, who takes his yoke and binds it on their neck. When we have done this and allowed the Sprit to be our guide, we will come to realize that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
sin kills, sin destroys. Darkness kills, darkness destroys. The word is full of things that bring men down to depression and mental health issues. “… But I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
By saying His yoke is easy, it does not mean that the Christian journey is a roller coaster and fun packed journey. But if we allow Him, if we will be willing and obedient to Him, if we will put on the garment of faithfulness, we will be helped much by the Spirit.
I have seen how much the Spirit can help us if we are willing and obedient. Yes! I have tested of the power of that helps a Christian achieve victory. For it is “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,‘ says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6)” “For by strength shall no man prevail. (1 Samuel 2:9)”
Let us be careful to learn that we cannot be helped by God until God sees willingness and obedience to take His yoke upon us and to learn from Him.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”