Choose Your Yoke

Every once in a while I like to go back and review things I’ve written to see anything has changed. Recently Cathy and I reviewed Character from last March where I talked about prophetic teaching I gave to our GAP year squad about the 4th Turning. It was not well received by the Gen Z audience. I wrote that while I didn’t know the truth about COVID at the time, or the nature of the emerging crisis, it represented one of two things. Either it was a predictable crisis based on identifiable cycles in history that would eventually usher in another 20-25 year period of peace and prosperity. Or it marked the beginning of birth pains that Jesus prophesied in Mat 24. In either case, I said that the final outcome for individuals and people groups will be largely determined by the character of those affected. Romans 5.

“…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Today I remain inclined to believe that Mat 24:3-8 birth pains have ensued. I explained this in greater detail in the Gospel of the Kingdom. While I am not certain about the exact timing of the millennium, I remain convinced that preterists and pre-tribulation rapture adherents are dead wrong about the last days. There have been multiple tribulations and days of the lord. Isaiah 13:8 Yet the final Tribulation and Day of the Lord is still to come and the true remnant Church must endure through it until the end to be saved. Mat 24:13 If in fact, we are in Birth Pains and not just another 4th Turn, then the next point to be watching for will be the Ezekiel 38-39 / Dan 9:24-27 war and the reinstitution of the daily sacrifice in Jerusalem. This may or may not include the actual construction of a third temple on the temple mount.

Where does the USA fall into the end of days? That’s easy. It doesn’t. If we are in a Fourth Turn we might expect for the USA to reemerge as a great nation. Otherwise, the USA is done as a superpower and depending on your perspective; as the last remaining bastion of freedom and prosperity in the free world. The proverbial line in the sand has been clearly drawn. You will either support a Marxist and therefore Satanic agenda that proclaims “whiteness” as the original sin while supporting, the pedophilic grooming of our children in public schools, LGBTQ+ as normal and healthy, abortion, and the elimination of free speech to name a few. Or you will reject it instead of God’s word and accept the consequences.

Most professing Christians will compromise instead.

In the meantime, we are to “Set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For we have died, and our life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then we also will appear with him in glory.”…We are to “Put to death therefore what is earthly” in ourselves. Col 3 is the actionable foundation of Christian character.

Putting to death what is earthly begins with dealing with our Sin.

Why do I keep mentioning this?

Because I don’t see or hear anyone else placing at the forefront such that people would be driven to repentance or driven out the back door.

After defining the futility of struggling with sin based on human ability alone,  Paul declared,

“Oh, what a wretched man I am! Who will save me from this body of death” Rom 7:24

Paul’s depiction of sin was based on a particularly gruesome form of punishment whereby a murderer was yoked to the corpse of his victim. Having a dead body hung from one’s neck as it decomposed was a death sentence to be sure and a slow painful one at that.

It’s been two years since the dump in which we used minister closed down.  We just found another that brought old memories into the present.

The old dump

The first thought most people have when they see dump scavenge for the first time and after the shock subsides is,

“Why would anyone choose to live here?”

There are various reasons that include mental illness and addiction. The most common one is opportunity. This is where people work. The only rule at the dump is that the first person on the truck gets the load. While they are mainly looking for recyclables, there is always the chance of finding a yet to be defined treasure.

No one wants to miss out on the big score.

Living nearby increases their odds of a better life or so they hope.

Heidi Baker tells a story about one of her original ministries in Mozambique. It was in a garbage dump. She wasn’t there very long before she was assaulted with a broken bottle that a man held to her throat and threatened to kill her.  Ironically she wasn’t robbed.

Instead she was accused of conspiring to steal their garbage.

Assuming that heaven is as undiscriminating as many believe, I figure a lot of us are going to be amazed when we realize the abject lack of difference between the Porcha for which the stockbroker strived and the empty beer can be fought over by dump scavengers in the third world.

We will all realize that every last one of us was a dump scavenger and that what the world thought was abundant life

is really a rotting corpse. 

The word “Yoke” is mentioned more than 50 times in the bible and is usually associated with bondage or slavery. Today the world recoils at the idea of being yoked to anything or anyone especially rules. “Love is Love”, “My body my choice!”…  That’s to be expected among nonbelievers. As for Christian

You are not your own,  for you were bought with a price. 1 Cor 6:18-20

Still, some people can’t even handle the idea of oxen being yoked.

Yet Jesus instructs all believers to,

“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.” Mat 11:29-39

Paul explained that Jesus’s yoke is true freedom and that of the world is slavery.

“For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Gal 5:1

Many people claim to have free will.  Yet Paul is clear that apart from Christ all are slaves to sin. Sin blocks free will such that

“All we would do; we don’t – all we would not; we do.” Rom 7

No amount of intelligence, ingenuity, talent or human strength will free us. Don’t believe me? Try putting sin to death on your own. Maybe go one week without telling a single lie to anyone including yourself.

On the other hand, there is complete freedom in Christ.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Rom 8:1-2

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Cor 3:17

While it is true that no yoke is free of requirements, the “yoker” is always the sustainer and taker of life for the yoked. 

The ultimate deception lies in the idea that it is both desirable and possible to free of all yokes.  

It is not.

Choose your yoke.

Maranatha