Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 20, 1897

Wearing the Yoke of Christ

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

March 5, 1897

This manuscript is published in entirety in 12MR 232-238.

I have not been able to sleep past twelve o’clock, so have arisen, and after seeking the Lord in prayer, and committing myself to the keeping of Him who careth for me, I commence my work. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 1

“Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 2

There is a condition to the rest and peace here offered us by Christ. It is that of yoking up with Him. All who will accept the condition will find that the yoke of Christ will help them to bear every burden needful for them to carry. Without Christ at our side to bear the heaviest part of the load, we must indeed say that it is heavy. But yoked with Him to the care of duty, the burdens of life may all be lightly carried. And just in proportion as man acts in willing obedience to the requirements of God will come rest of mind. He will give evidence of clear judgment and a steadfastness of character to redeem himself through faith in Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 3

Meekness and humility will characterize all are obedient to the law of God, all who will wear the yoke of Christ with submission. These graces will bring the desirable result of peace in the service of God. In learning Christ’s meekness and lowliness of heart, we shall submit the entire being to His control. Then the transforming grace of Christ will work upon heart and character, making human beings, fallen in sin, complete in Him. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 4

Christ would teach this lesson to all who will follow Him. As our Substitute and Surety, standing at the head of humanity, He is our example. He was obedient to all of God’s requirements. He, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, laid aside His royalty, His position as Commander in the heavenly courts, and came to our world as a man, and became subject to the law. And all this, that man might become like his Master, obedient, not to the enemy of God, but obedient to his Father in heaven, then man might engage in the service that God requires of each of His obedient children. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 5

This constitutes the condition of salvation. And God enjoins this condition upon every human being just as verily as He enjoined it upon Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Our first parents fell, because, when tempted by Satan, they disobeyed God. The human family with few exceptions have since been under service to Satan, doing his work, wearing his yoke, and bearing his burdens. But they have found this yoke uncomfortable and galling, these burdens disagreeable and heavy to be borne. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 6

But Christ pledged His own life in order that the transgressor might be spared, that man might have another trial. He would Himself stand in man’s place; He would clothe Himself in the garb of humanity, and live the life of man from the very beginning. He would pass through the stages of infancy, childhood, youth, and manhood, that He might show man how he should live, how he should employ his hours of probation. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 7

Christ acknowledged Himself subject to the law. If this were not so, He could not be our Saviour, and take away our sin. And God designs that man shall live up to every specification of the law, that he may reveal a character after the pattern given him by Christ. He desires that while in the world, His followers shall not be of the world, and that their experience shall find expression in the words, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” [Galatians 2:20.] 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 8

The man who is niggardly, who possesses a narrow, self-serving mind, is himself responsible for these objectionable traits of character, for Christ has made it possible for him to be freed from these defects. He has placed within the reach of man the possibility of receiving Him. And He bears testimony, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:12.] 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 9

This power is not in the human agent. It is the power of God. When a soul really receives Christ, he receives His righteousness. He lives the life of Christ. Then as he trains himself to behold Christ, to study His life, and practice His virtues, he eats the flesh and drinks the blood of the Son of God. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 10

Those whose characters are marred by a passionate disposition should be in haste to seek the Lord. From their hearts the prayer should arise, “Create in me, a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Give me a correct estimate of Jesus Christ, and his merits. Lead me by His Spirit. &ldaquo;Then shall I teach transgressors thy way, and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.” [Psalm 51:10, 13.] 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 11

In His Son, God has placed before the human agent the life he is to live. It is not for him to be constantly branching out in lines of his own choosing, and placing his will against the power of the will of God. Yet many are expending their God-given powers in hopeless pursuit of things they can never attain. How different are the lives of such when compared with that of their example, who for their sakes pledged himself to a life of self-denial, of poverty, and of suffering, unappreciated, unacknowledged, despised, and rejected. Christ was often weary and hungry, and filled with sorrow in the consciousness of unrequited love. The nation whom He came to save and bless did not realize His mission. They had departed from God, and were constantly misunderstanding and misinterpreting Him. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 12

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” [John 1:11.] “He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. ... He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. ... He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.” [Isaiah 53:3, 5, 7.] 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 13

In view of the abundant evidence God has given of His love, His sympathy, and His benevolence, He requires our willing obedience. His love will prove a safeguard to every soul. It will bar the path to sin and selfish indulgence. In looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, in studying his life of self-denial and self-sacrifice, we are armed with the same mind to do the same service. “He that will come after me,” says Christ, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Mark 8:34.] To the true follower of Christ there is a pleasure in doing the things that Christ has done in his behalf. He considers it not an arbitrary exaction, but a clear specification of his only safety from the advances of the will foe who is ever seeking to entangle our feet, and make our path difficult. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 14

God knows that if we were left to follow our own inclinations, to go just where our will would lead us, we will fall into Satan’s lines and become possessors of his attributes. Therefore the law of God confines us to the will of one who is high and noble and elevating. He desires that we shall patiently and wisely take up the duties of service. It is for our present and eternal good to work the works of God. If His will is cheerfully and gratefully accepted, the results will be seen in the service rendered and in the character developed. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 15

A sullen submission to the will of the Father will develop the character of a rebel. Service is looked upon by such a one in the light of drudgery. It is not rendered cheerfully and in the love of God. It is a mere mechanical performance. If he dared, such a one would disobey. His rebellion is smothered, ready to break out at any time in bitter murmurings and complaints. Such service brings no peace or quietude the soul. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 16

Christ assumed humanity with all its humiliation and service, that He might cut man loose from Satan’s chariot car as a bond slave. He knew that the service of Satan can bring only wretchedness and misery and distress in its train. The sinner is a stranger to repose and rest. The sinner says, I want my freedom. By this he would get rid of all restraint by casting aside the law of God. But it is this desire that has made the world what it is today—corrupt as in the days of Noah, and polluted as the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 17

God presents before us two classes. For the one, the wicked, He says, “There is no peace.” [Isaiah 48:22.] Of the other, “Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing can offend them.” [Psalm 119:165.] Of that law he says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” [Psalm 19:7-11.] We should deem our service for God a pleasure, and should make it the expression of our love for Him. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 18

Law and service are a part of every true life. Idleness is sin. Money is supposed to carry its possessor above service, and because a man has money he is allowed to spend his time in idleness. But the devil engages all such in the meanest kind of work. It is the Lord who has a right to our service. The more an individual lives for himself, and the less for the good of others, the less nobles and pure will he be in his own life. His moral power degenerates while living for himself. Compare that idle life with the one who looks his responsibilities in the face, and takes up his life work for God and for his fellow men. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 19

All who sense their duty to their fellow men will accept the offer to work in co-partnership with Jesus Christ, a life of obedience and service. In this way alone can they give the divine credentials to the world. These will entertain a high conception of life. It is not to them a round of worldly pleasure and amusement. This can never satisfy the hungry soul. The truth is noble, elevating, and sacred, and the wisdom and knowledge given us in it is a tree of life to all who will accept it. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 20

In the 58th chapter of Isaiah God has placed before us the service He would have us do for our fellow men and for Him. He says, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 21

“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee: the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and the speaking of vanities and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday; and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” [Verses 6-11.] 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 22

Then why not try this kind of service? The Lord calls His yoke easy, and His burden light. [Matthew 11:30.] Yet that will not give us a life of ease and freedom and selfish indulgence. The life of Christ was one of self-denial and self-sacrifice at every step. And His true follower, with consistent, Christlike tenderness and love, will follow in the footsteps of his Master. And as he advances in this life, he will become inspired with the spirit and life of Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 20, 1897, par. 23