– J. J. Packer
Devotional:3 Ways We Should Be Learning By Leaning
When we are weak, we are to lean upon God and the harder we lean, paradoxically, the stronger we grow.
Taking His Yoke
I grew up in a farming community but I’m not old enough to have been around when oxen were yoked together to pull the plows of the farmer’s field but I do know what a yoke is. A yoke spreads out the weight between two or more animals and allows them to carry more of the load than they could ever do alone. This may be why Jesus said “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” (Matt 11:29-30). Who has broader shoulders than God? Jesus commands us to take His yoke and learn from Him. He says His “yoke is easy” and His “burden is light.” Why? Because Jesus, as God Himself, sees nothing as too heavy for Him so that’s why we need to take our burdens from off of our own backs and place the weight of the world we carry onto Jesus’ yoke. Only in this way will we ever “find rest for [our] souls.”
Learning on Him
There are so many times that I feel that I cannot go on and sometimes I plead with God to help me and to take my burdens from me. I need to trust God to do what His Word proclaims. This means that I must “Trust in the LORD with all [my] heart, and do not lean on [my] own understanding” (Prov 3:5). If I do what Solomon wrote and lean on my own understanding, then I don’t really have anything that can hold me up, therefore I am headed for a fall. I found out the hard way that “Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe”(Prov 28:26). Not leaning on our own understanding means we must sometimes walk by faith but we know that this is where true wisdom is for we are to “For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7).
He Will Carry the Faint Hearted
God told Israel when they had wandered in the wilderness and was afraid to cross over into the Promised Land “Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place”(Duet 1:29-31). Are there times when you feel like collapsing? Remember that if God carried disobedient Israel through the howling wilderness He can surely carry you! Moses knew that it was impossible to go on without God saying “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here” (Ex 33:15).
Like the old hymn says, learn to lean upon the everlasting arms, take His yoke for He will give you rest, when you feel like you can’t go on any longer, He will carry you. Learn to lean on Him.