January 14th, 2023 - Adventure Awaits

Adventure Awaits

Today we conclude our first week of devotions, written to accompany our new sermon series, “Adventure Awaits.” The purpose of this series is to draw you closer to Almighty God, and closer to our church family. We begin this closer walk with God by peering intently into the Word of God and prayerfully considering how He is revealing Himself to us through His Word. As we open the Gospel of Matthew, take a moment to reflect on the week so far. Meditate on the devotions that have been shared this week, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand the application of this truth in your life.

Father, teach me to listen for your still, small voice. Help me to have the faith and innocence of a child as I approach Your throne, and receive Your Holy Word into my life and heart.

Let’s begin by reading Matthew 11:28-30, which reads:

“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.” (ESV)

These 3 verses include an invitation to everyone who is worn out and exhausted from trying to be good and live up to the expectations of others, especially those within the church. Jesus promises us rest if we place our faith in Him and live according to the example He provided by his life. He uses the yoke as a tool to describe the relationship He desires with those who choose to follow His Way.

Why a yoke? The first century audience understood the agrarian method of teaching a young animal to perform work around the farm. The young ox was paired with an older one by attaching a wooden implement over both of their necks and affixing it to the plow. This way, the stronger, more mature animal would train the young, inexperienced one how to plow the field properly.  For those who choose to believe in Jesus, this offer is for them to come and learn from Him how to navigate the pressures of our daily life.

The week’s devotions began with God telling Abram to go, and that He would show Abram the way. The week ends with Jesus inviting all of us to come, and to imitate His Way of life. If your life is burdened by the cares of this world, then won’t you consider placing yourself under the yoke of Jesus? If we immerse ourselves in His Word, in order that we might learn His ways, then we will begin to understand His wisdom. Only then can we experience the lightened load, and the easy yoke.

Jesus fulfilled the promise of God that was prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah,
“Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
    and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
    and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”
Jeremiah 6:16 (ESV)

The more we study the Word of God, the more we learn about the nature of God, and love of God. From a heart of love, you are invited to join Jesus in His work. This may mean you spend time learning from others, and it may mean you spend time teaching others.  So today, what is the Lord saying to you and what are you going to do about it?

Will you begin to follow the Way of Jesus by studying the Word of God daily? Will you consider joining other followers of Jesus and learning from them about how God is speaking in to their lives through His Word? One way to begin this practice is by joining a community group and meeting regularly with other believers. How about becoming part of a smaller huddle, where 2 or 3 meet to discuss what each of us is learning, what we are struggling with, and what we are praying about each day. There may be a couple of others in your community group that would willingly huddle with you to gain understanding of the Way of Jesus.

If the Lord is leading you into a next step, why not commit yourself to taking that step by writing it down? If God is leading you into a more committed relationship, why not ask a friend to pray with you about that commitment? We believe the best is yet to come, and this year could witness the Body of Christ growing in new and miraculous ways.

Pray: Jesus, thank you for the invitation to yoke myself to You. I will begin to daily study your Word, to submit myself to You in prayer, seeking to discover the wisdom offered in Your Word. I ask you to fill me with your Spirit, that I might understand and obey the truth discovered in your Word. May all I do glorify You, Amen.