Revitalizing the Soul

by Jonathan Bailey

Matthew 11:29
“Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.”

Yoke Up
What does it mean to find rest for your soul? It sounds nice doesn’t? Rest. I could definetly use some rest, but how do you obtain it? The secret is in the yoke. A yoke in that day was referred to as a rabbi’s specific interpretations on how to live out the Torah. Action is the key. Not just know what the Torah means, but to actually live it out.

So when Jesus asks us to take His yoke, he is telling us to come and live your life according to his interpretations of scripture. Remember Jesus said, “I have not come to destroy the law, but to fullfil it.” Therefore, he wants to teach us how to live, and when we begin to implement this new style of life then, and only then, will we find rest for our souls.

Unconscious Control
Dallas Willard says, “The soul is far beyond our conscious control.” The soul is that part of us that lies so deep within us that we don’t really even acknowledge it most times. The soul organizes the whole person. If your soul is in good order, then most likely everything else will be running relatively smooth. But how do we effect what lies out of our conscious control? The point is we cannot. Only God can. However we are not passive in this process, we play a part. Our part, is what we can do; it’s what makes us responsible for the status of “the running wound of the human soul.”

Discipline comes out of great passion. The reason anyone disciplines themself is because there is something much deeper going on. There is a vision. A vision to be something that your not. When Jesus said, “Take My yoke,” those who heard it were given a vision worthy of a lifetime and beyond. It was a vision to come and be just as he was. It was an invitation to come and learn how to live just like Him. Bring your soul and I will show you a life in which you find rest, not hurry, not exhaustion, and not irritation. The soul is frazled and tired. It’s like a mom trying to manage two teenage kids who are at odds with one another. The fighting never stops.

Our Hope
Our only hope is to slip into the easy yoke with Jesus. The imagery of a yoke is really perfect. A yoke is a device which is placed around the necks of two animals: a veteran and a novice. What takes place is the novice or younger animal learns how to work like the older or veteran animal. It’s training. It’s understanding that “I don’t have it all figured out” and my only hope is “to yoke up with someone who does.” Jesus.

Still Walking
So we continue to walk along the path of disciplined grace with Jesus and he revives our soul. He begins to bring it into rest and order. Our life will run like it should, with less fragmentation and more solidarity.

“Thus the Lord says, ‘Stand by the ways
and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will
find rest for your souls.'” [Jeremiah 16:6]