The Galling Yoke

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” Matthew 22:29, 30.

To many people this is one of the greatest promises in all the Bible. These are the two verses that have given countless scores of miserable people, who are held in bondage by their marriage vows, strength to continue. While some-especially the naïve youth who think that marriage is just bliss-think this is a most discouraging passage, Jesus saw that it was the very promise that some people needed. Most people would be happier unmarried. For most people marriage is a galling yoke.

“Few have correct views of the marriage relation. Many seem to think that it is the attainment of perfect bliss; but if they could know one quarter of the heartaches of men and women that are bound by the marriage vow in chains that they cannot and dare not break, they would not be surprised that I trace these lines. Marriage, in a majority of cases, is a most galling yoke. There are thousands that are mated but not matched. The books of heaven are burdened with the woes, the wickedness, and the abuse that lie hidden under the marriage mantle. This is why I would warn the young who are of a marriageable age to make haste slowly in the choice of a companion. The path of married life may appear beautiful and full of happiness; but why may not you be disappointed as thousands of others have been?” The Adventist Home, 44.

Most of the success we observe in marriage is a put-on, and so few know it. It seems like everyone thinks they are the only ones that are putting on and everyone else is lucky enough to have a lot better marriage-but of course they are not going to let anyone else know that their marriage is not what it should be. (And they should not. What they should do is just get down to business and correct the situation, but the trouble is they do not know how or where to go. No one has told them that God has the only answer.)

Not only does the public not know about the galling yoke that is weighing down so many of their acquaintances, but many times even their spouses do not know. The poor people are carrying a most heavy load all by themselves. To these people, Christ’s promise is a most blessed assurance. But until Christ’s promise is fulfilled in heaven, they need help-they need someone to direct them to the source of happiness. They need someone of their own sex whom they can trust, and who has the answers, and who has true purity and understanding. This is where many Adventist women can fill a great role. While there are sometimes godly pastors who the men can counsel with, often there are few godly women that other women can go to for counsel in times of need. (It might interest you to know that this is where both E.J. Waggoner and A.T. Jones began to get off track. They had a burden for helping women with their problems and they got themselves and these other women into problems.) We need more women counselors. For those who would like to gain the knowledge necessary to do this, a good place to start is with the section on the home, in The Ministry of Healing.

Marriage-Like a Taste of Heaven or Hell?

To most people, marriage is a galling yoke. Is it any wonder that Paul said: “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.” 1 Corinthians 7:1, 7, 8.

“Satan is constantly busy to hurry inexperienced youth into a marriage alliance. But the less we glory in the marriages which are now taking place, the better.” The Adventist Home, 80.

Why did they say these things? Were Paul and Mrs. White sour on marriage? No. Paul is the same author who wrote Ephesians 5 and Hebrews 13:4, and Mrs. White wrote many beautiful passages, about what marriage can be, in The Adventist Home. They were not down on marriage, they knew what a beautiful institution it was intended to be and which it can be. But they also knew how things usually are. They understood that the devil has more to do with many marriages than Christ. They understood that marriage is usually a symbol of hell rather than heaven. They have seen some of the “heartaches of men and women that are bound by the marriage vow in chains that they cannot and dare not break.” They knew that “marriage, in the majority of cases, is a most galling yoke.” This is why they warned “the young who are of marriageable age to make haste slowly. . . . The path of marriage life may appear beautiful and full of happiness; but why may not . . . [they] be disappointed as thousands of others have been?”

Paul was not sour on marriage, but his heart must have bled as he was shown the misery that has resulted from the marriage institution. What was intended to be a blessing has turned into a curse for many.

If Paul and Mrs. White warned against marriage, what should be our counsel to others?

“In this age of the world . . . the fewer the marriages contracted, the better for all, both men and women.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 366.

It is so easy when a married couple achieves a home which is a little heaven on earth, to want every other single friend to have the same experience. But the prophets have encouraged us to make haste slowly and the fewer marriages the better. Let us give the same counsel.

God’s Way

For most people marriage is a galling yoke. But suppose you are one of the rare people who follow God’s counsel and have a little heaven in your home and you wish that your happy marriage could continue throughout eternity. Do not worry, God never takes anything away but what He gives something better. In 1 Corinthians 2:9 we read about heaven, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”

But as to what God has prepared for our family relation in heaven, the silence is golden. We are not to speculate. “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29. (See also Selected Messages, Book 1, 173.)

While a majority of marriages are a galling yoke, even most of the minority that are left are not heaven. While many marriages are not yet a perfect hell, they are far from being a heaven either. “There is not one marriage in one hundred that results happily, that bear the sanction of God, and places the parties in a position better to glorify Him.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 504. Oh, they may experience a few thrills along the way, but the real peace and lasting happiness and security of heaven are not there.

Some might say: “Only one in one hundred? Why, no wonder my marriage is lousy, I do not have a chance.” Yes, it is true that less than one in a hundred have happy homes, but that is because less than one in a hundred follow God. But every couple can have perfect happiness at home if they choose. And it works much better if they choose together.

Every couple can achieve all that God intended for their home if they choose together. Choose together, study together, work at it together, pray about it together and claim Matthew 18:19 together. “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven.” And in all your togetherness, maintain your individual relationship and devotions with God. He claims your highest service. Never forget Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

What If Only You Choose?

But what happens if your partner does not care? If this is the case, you may not be able to have a happy home, but you can have happiness through Christ and you can bear the burden silently and quietly, pouring out your burdens only to God, until the day that Christ gives you something better than marriage. If you are called to suffer for Christ’s sake, rejoice. For Christ said, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:38.

Whenever one person decides to follow Christ all the way (in the marriage relation as well as in all other affairs of life) and the other person has not decided to do so (even though the other person may be a Seventh-day Adventist) there is always friction. Not because the one following Christ has brought friction, but because the other person is resisting Christ and His way. Jesus said: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:34-36.

We do not live in a world of peace. Even when we are following God ourselves, we are not always going to have an ideal home situation. Jesus was accused and spit upon and beaten and crucified, not because He had done wrong, but because others had done wrong. We do not always receive our just reward in this life-either for good or for evil.

“The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” Matthew 10:24, 25.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:11, 12.

These texts apply as much to the home as anywhere else. This life is a preparatory period for the one above. We do not need to expect that we will go through without trials. If we could get to heaven without having any trials, we would not feel that we had any right to the place. “Would you enter heaven if you could without suffering, and dwell in the presence of that Jesus, who suffered so much for us? . . . O, it would be no place for you. Any other place would be far preferable. You would feel that you had no right there.” Review and Herald, February 17, 1853. But when we get to heaven, we will have passed through trials and overcome, and we will feel we have a perfect right to the city. (See Early Writings, 17.)

However, remember, many people suffer trial and heartache, not for Christ’s sake, but because of their own stubbornness and fanaticism. The only suffering that results in blessing is that which is suffered for Christ’s sake.

Our duty, as we follow Christ, is not to be loved, but to love. Our duty in our home, as we seek to follow Christ’s example, is not to be loved, but to love. (1 John 4:7-10.) This, all of us can do. We may not all receive love, but we can all give love. Our duty is to love, and we must trust God to supply us with the love we all need. This is a matter of developing faith, and God will not let us down.

“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” Matthew 10:29, 30.

Our duty is to learn to love. We must love first, not for reward, but because Christ first loved us. We must trust and wait for the reward from Christ. As we show this unselfish love, in many cases, we will win the affection and love of our partners over to us.

The apostles spoke of this. Paul said, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” 1 Corinthians 7:14, 16. Peter also admonished, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.” 1 Peter 3:1.

No, not everyone will be won, but, the more loving we become, the greater the probabilities. And if it does not happen, count yourself a partner with God-His love is rejected all of the time.

The Work of Sanctification

But what happens when you both decide to follow God by patterning your home after His? Will you have heaven the next morning? No. You can and will have heaven, on this earth, in your home, and it can start tomorrow (today even), but it will be a growing process. It will be a growing process that will not end in this life. You can have sanctified homes, but, “there is no such thing as instantaneous sanctification. True sanctification is a daily work, continuing as long as life shall last.” Sanctified Life, 10.

“Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, or a day. It is a continual growth in grace.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 340.

“The Scriptures plainly show that the work of sanctification is progressive.” The Great Controversy, 470.

“Sanctification is the work of a lifetime.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 65.

The sanctification of the home is the work of a lifetime. Let none think they have arrived. No matter how much happiness you may have experienced in your home today, you can experience more tomorrow. No matter how much sorrow you may have experienced in your home today, you can, in the future, have a sanctified, happy home-if you start the process of sanctification today. “With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.

Have faith in God. Trust your life to Him. He will not let you down. He is as concerned about you as if you were the only person on the face of the universe. (Steps to Christ, 100.)

Enter this school toward a sanctified home, today. You can do this by having daily devotions (prayer, mediation and the study of God’s word), by learning of God’s character and then treating your spouse and children as God treats you. Pattern your relationships after the heavenly.

“To gain a proper understanding of the marriage relation is the work of a lifetime. Those who marry enter a school from which they are never in this life to be graduated.” The Adventist Home, 105.

The articles on the family we have printed these last four months have been but a brief introduction. There is so much more we have not covered: communication, finances, recreation, the relation of healthful living to the home, excess and insufficiency of the physical union, and much more. But the answers are in God’s word-in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. Are you studying these books? (A five-minute glance is not studying.) We should have books like The Adventist Home worn out.

Read no faster than you can assimilate. If all you can absorb at one time is one sentence, spend your whole hour of study on that one sentence, praying and pleading with God to make it a part of your life. God’s word is not to be read as a story book, it is to be eaten, digested and absorbed into our lives as fruit from the tree of life. Every word that Christ has given to us is for our happiness and the success of our homes. (John 15:11.)

And along with your reading, pray. Pray to God as you would talk to a friend. Learn to enjoy communion with Him, and soon the fifteen minutes, the half hour, the hour that you are spending in prayer with God, in the morning, will be the most precious part of the day. Tell Him your burdens and joys, your desires and heartaches. He will listen and He will help. He will walk with you all day long. He will sanctify you and He will sanctify your home, with the peace and joy of heaven.

“It is in accord with the will of God that man and wife should be linked together in His work, to carry it forward in a wholeness and a holiness. They can do this.

“The blessing of God in the home where this union shall exist is as the sunshine of heaven, because it is the Lord’s ordained will that man and wife should be linked together in holy bonds of union, under Jesus Christ, with Him to control, and His spirit to guide. . . .

“God wants the home to be the happiest place on earth, the very symbol of the home in heaven. Bearing the marriage responsibilities in the home, linking their interests with Jesus Christ, leaning upon His arm and His assurance, husband and wife may share a happiness in this union that angels of God commend.” The Adventist Home, 102.

Question – What is the “yoke of bondage”?

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

“There are many whose hearts are aching under a load of care because they seek to reach the world’s standard. They have chosen its service, accepted its perplexities, adopted its customs. Thus their character is marred and their life made a weariness. The continual worry is wearing out the life forces. Our Lord desires them to lay aside this yoke of bondage. He invites them to accept His yoke; He says, ‘My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.’ Worry is blind and cannot discern the future; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief. ‘No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly’ (Matthew 11:30; Psalm 84:11).” Help in Daily Living, 21.

“Esau had no love for devotion, no inclination to a religious life. The requirements that accompanied the spiritual birthright were an unwelcome and even hateful restraint to him. The law of God, which was the condition of the divine covenant with Abraham, was regarded by Esau as a yoke of bondage. Bent on self-indulgence, he desired nothing so much as liberty to do as he pleased. To him power and riches, feasting and reveling, were happiness. He gloried in the unrestrained freedom of his wild, roving life.” Conflict and Courage, 61.

“As soon as the seeker for truth opens the Bible to read the utterances of God with reverence, possessing an earnest desire to know ‘what saith the Lord,’ light and grace will be given him, and he will see wondrous things out of God’s law. He will not regard the law of Jehovah as a yoke of bondage, but as the gracious commands of One who is all-wise and full of compassion. He will make haste to fulfill His requirements.”  Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 34, 35.

“Never will evil again be manifest. Says the word of God: ‘Affliction shall not rise up the second time’ (Nahum 1:9). The law of God, which Satan has reproached as the yoke of bondage, will be honored as the law of liberty. A tested and proved creation will never again be turned from allegiance to Him whose character has been fully manifested before them as fathomless love and infinite wisdom.” The Great Controversy, 504.

“ ‘But,’ one says, ‘I thought the commandments were a yoke of bondage.’ It is those only who break the law that find it a yoke of bondage. To those who keep the law it is life and joy and peace and happiness.” Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 130.

The Easy Yoke

“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Matthew 16:24

Ellen G. White makes an interesting comment on Matthew 11:28. She says, “The yoke and the cross are symbols representing the same thing—the giving up of the will to God.” Our High Calling, 100. Christ says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me … and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30). Here we find the yoke and the cross are symbols representing the same thing: the giving up of the will to God.

“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). Taking the yoke and taking up the cross represent the same thing: entering into fellowship with Christ in His life of self-sacrifice and self-denial.

Now the question is, How in the world could that truth be called an easy yoke? Luke records the Savior’s words nearly the same as how Matthew wrote them but in Luke there is an additional word: “And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). The extra word is daily. That means every day. It means Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and each of the remaining days. It does not mean the first day of the month or once a year, but daily. The easy yoke then is not a life of ease. Let me make that clear. The easy yoke that Christ offers us is not a life of ease; it is a life of self-denial.

You may ask How could that be an easy yoke? That is one of the paradoxes of the Bible. It is a paradox but it is the truth. The fact is that this is not one of many ways to be free from worry and fear and anxiety, and useless burdens; it is the only way. Since sin entered this world there is no way to live a life free from the worries and the cares and the heavy burdens that afflict the people in life in general unless you accept the life that Jesus offers in fellowship with Him, and that is the life of the cross.

So Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16). A life of ease? No. An easy yoke? Yes.

Now this is like many other things – it is known only by those who experience it. There are many things in life that way. Do you know what a watermelon tastes like? If you do it is because you have experienced it. If you have never tasted a watermelon you do not know what it tastes like. You may have read books, you may have studied seed catalogs, you may have looked at the pictures, you may have heard other people talk about its sweetness, but you do not know what it tastes like. So it is with this experience. The easy yoke that Jesus offers is understood and known only by those who experience it.

Few people really enter with Jesus into this easy life. The majority of the people in this world are not even interested in Christ’s yoke at all; they’re just carrying their own program, wanting to live their own life, do their own thing. But even among those who have chosen to follow Christ, few there are who enter fully into this experience. They are either afraid of the cross or they are afraid to trust themselves with Jesus.

In The Ministry of Healing, 480, 481, we find these inspiring words: “Many who profess to be Christ’s followers have an anxious, troubled heart because they are afraid to trust themselves with God. They do not make a complete surrender to Him, for they shrink from the consequences that such a surrender may involve. Unless they do make this surrender they cannot find peace.”

Here is a man who is trying to quit cigarettes and we say to him, Friend, why do you want to quit cigarettes? Well, I’m afraid I might get lung cancer. Or I’m afraid I might have a heart attack. Or I’m afraid I might get an ulcer of the stomach. A dozen other reasons could be given. But he says, it seems so hard to quit cigarettes. As far as a man’s feelings are concerned who, day by day, is in the grip of a cigarette habit, is it easier to quit or easier to go on? It’s easier to go on for most people and that is why most people do it. There are millions of people who would quit tonight if it wasn’t so hard. But tell me, is that the yoke of Christ? Is that what makes it hard? Why, no. The hard part is getting away from the yoke of sin, the yoke of slavery to that evil habit.

Christians who never smoked cigarettes do not feel that not smoking is a heavy burden. They do not feel sorry for themselves because they don’t smoke. It is not a burden or a load to carry – it is easy. But the poor fellow who is in the grip of the tobacco habit, tell him that, and he may say, Yes, I wish I had never started, but believe me, it’s hard to get out. Now Christ is willing to help him. But the way out is the way of self-denial. The way out is the way where the man by faith in Jesus chooses to say no to that craving. “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and every selfish, sinful lust and craving. Let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” There is no other way. Is it worth it?

Smoking cigarettes is just an example of a hundred things that are troubling people, things that keep people from having real peace, things people are hanging on to. Christians, you saints of God, what is it that is keeping you from having abundant life, abounding peace and joy in the Lord? The Holy Spirit will talk to your heart about it while using this example of the cigarette habit.

Now here’s our man. He’s been smoking three packs a day and he says, I do want to quit but this is so hard. I think I’ll cut down tomorrow to two and a half packs. I’ll try that for a week. If I can make it with that then I think I’ll try just two packs a day, and maybe a year from now I’ll be only smoking one cigarette a day and finally I’ll come to the day when I’ve smoked my last one. Is that a good program? Will it work?

My friends, don’t miss the next point. Even if this method would work, it is not the easiest way to overcome this habit but instead it is the painful way. Some people try to cut sin out of their lives a little at a time. So, they have to go through the pain and the agony and the struggle over and over and over and over again.

Your problem may be something else. When the Spirit of God begins to deal with your soul, when the pruning knife of God’s word is applied, do you cry out, Oh, would you take that out of my life? Why, I have a hard enough time as it is, and if you take that out, what will I do? I’ve got to have a few cigarettes or else I can’t live with myself and the family can’t live with me. I’ve got to have something. That is not the easy yoke, friends—that’s the hard way.

It is the same with every other sin, every other indulgence, every other form of turning away from Heaven’s best program. You apply it to your problems. Why not give yourself soul and body for life or death to Jesus to be everything, all for Him without any reserve of any kind? Put everything on the altar, not holding back anything, not trying to do it on the installment plan. Right now. Everything for God.

When you make that surrender you may not know all that it involves. Tomorrow or six months from now God may bring to your mind something that He wants to come out of your life that you don’t even know about today. But you’ve made the decision now and everything is on the altar. After all, Jesus gave everything for you so that you might be redeemed. The cross of Calvary represents a sacrifice made so that others may be redeemed. Jesus took that cross for you and as you take that cross for Him it means that you link up with Him in giving your life in service for others.

Concerning John the Baptist, Jesus said, “He was a burning and a shining light” (John 5:35). If a candle shines, it burns, and what happens to the candle? In Westminster Abbey where one of the saints of God lies buried is a candlestick, and the candle is burned clear down. There in the granite are chiseled these words: “Burned out.” Would you burn out for God? Would you give your life in service for Him? Or would you seek to consider your desires, your whims, your ambitions, your plans, your purposes, the things that please you? But somebody says, Didn’t you say that God wants to please us? Yes, hence the paradox. The only way you can ever be pleased yourself is to forget all about yourself.

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it” (Luke 9:24). If you are just trying to look after your desires, your plans, what you like, you will never even satisfy yourself. But if you will forget about yourself, put your all on the altar and let Jesus link you in service with Him, taking His yoke, then you will find the real joy and meaning of life.

Paul did it. On the Damascus road he met Christ and from that moment on there was just one thing for him. He summed it all up in those immortal words, “For to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21, first part). “For me to live is Christ.” That’s all I have to live for, just Jesus. If He wants me to suffer, if He sees that is the best way to advance His cause, that’s all right. If He wants me to die, that’s all right. When Paul appeared before Nero, that cruel monster on the throne of the world’s greatest empire, he wasn’t afraid. He knew that his life was on the altar and if the time had come for the sword to cut his head off, it was all right. He knew that his life was hid with Christ in God and that “When Christ who is our life, shall appear, he would appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). Friends, a Christian cannot lose. “… to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21, last part). This makes a Christian fearless.

One of the early Christian witnesses for God was taken before a Roman provincial governor. It was a time of persecution, and the governor said to this Christian, “Listen, if you don’t give up this Christian religion we are going to take all your goods.” He said, “I have no goods; I gave them all to Christ.” The governor looked at him and said, “If you don’t give this up we’ll take your life!” He said, “I have no life; I gave it all to Christ.”

Oh friends, what is your answer? Is there anything too precious to withhold from Jesus? It is this half and half business that makes people miserable. Too good for hell but not good enough for heaven. One hand with Christ, the other hand with the world and the devil. Why go that way?

Somebody says, Well, I don’t want to go to extremes. What do you mean, extremes? An extremist is someone who goes to the right or to the left farther than God said. You can never be an extremist doing what God said. If you try to do more than He said that’s being extreme. If you do what He says, there’s nothing extreme about that. That is what He expects. “If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).

People talk about the middle of the road. The question is, Which road? There is a road that’s broad and leads to death and nearly everybody is going on it. The middle of that road will only take you to hell just like the right hand or the left of it will. There’s only one place to be in the middle of the road and that’s the narrow road and that road is just as wide as one man, the man Christ Jesus. The only way you can get extremes on that road is to get off the road. There’s a ditch on either side and that’s extremes. Do not worry about being an extremist if you just do what Jesus says. That will keep you busy. There’s plenty to do just to do what He says. You don’t have to invent things. We are warned not to invent crosses of our own. We’re not to deny ourselves of nourishing food. There’s no call to get off a comfortable bed and lie down on the floor or on spikes in order to prove we can take it. There are plenty of things that the devil would like to get us into to show that we are sacrificial, but Christ has not called for it.

“Many who profess to be Christ’s followers have an anxious, troubled heart because they are afraid to trust themselves with God. They do not make a complete surrender to Him, for they shrink from the consequences that such a surrender may involve. Unless they do make this surrender they cannot find peace.” The Ministry of Healing, 480, 481.

I said to somebody one day, “Will you do something for me?” They responded, “That depends on what it is.” That’s all right to treat me that way but that is not the way to treat God. I might make a mistake. I might ask you to do something you couldn’t do or didn’t want to do. But when God says, Will you do something for Me, there is only one right answer — YES. God appreciates that.

“There are many whose hearts are aching under a load of care because they seek to reach the world’s standard. They have chosen its service, accepted its perplexities, adopted its customs. Thus their character is marred and their life made a weariness. The continual worry is wearing out the life forces.” Ibid., 481.

The family next door just got a boat. Well, I better get a boat too. If they have a boat, then we’ve got to get a boat. People up at the corner, they just bought a brand new car. They already have two others but now they have another one. Daddy had better get busy. Somebody had better get busy. Mother may have to go out and work, take a job along with Father to bring in more money to keep up with the neighbors. There are a thousand variations on that same tune. There are a thousand ways to wear your life out just by trying to keep up with what other people are doing.

Take the matter of dress. The idolatry of dress is costing the professed people of God millions of dollars every year – millions of dollars – and at the Judgment somebody will have to give an account. Somebody starts some new fad and the daughters and sons of Zion have to follow along. Some follow right up close; some follow at a respectable distance. But oh to be so linked with Jesus that we don’t have to spend time and money with the shifting fashions, some of which are immodest, some of which are positively indecent, some simply vain, shallow, and unnatural. That is not the way to wear the yoke of Christ. It will wear you out. The men and women who plan the fashions are in it for money and money demands a change of model frequently. The automobile folks know that. So, no matter how bad a fashion is, that fashion won’t last. No matter how good a style may be, it won’t last always, if the fashion makers can have their way. And back of the fashion makers is the devil.

What is the devil trying to do with fashion? He is trying to promote immodesty, indecency, and immorality. He has succeeded. He is trying to promote disease by bringing in all kinds of unhealthful fashions. He is trying to promote vanity and pride. People show themselves off like vain peacocks. They do all kinds of things from the hair on their head to the shoes on their feet just to show off. But underneath it all there is another purpose of the enemy. He wants to wear people out. He wants their minds to be filled with “What shall we eat?” or, “What shall we drink?” or “Wherewithal shall we be clothed” (Matthew 6:31)? Jesus advises that we study the lilies of the field. “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; … even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28, 29).

If you want the yoke of Christ, which is easy, do not study the fashion plates of this world. Do not try to keep up with Paris or New York or Hollywood or anything else. Try to keep up with Jesus. This doesn’t mean being sloppy; it doesn’t mean being careless. For Christ’s sake, whose witnesses we are, we should seek to make the best of our appearance but that doesn’t take a lot of wearing toil. It doesn’t take a lot of unnecessary expenditure either of money or of time or of thought. Natural simplicity is the way of true beauty. It is the easy yoke that Christ is talking about. So it is with every other phase of life.

Take the matter of food—how people today are spending money and time and thought to create some new sensation to tempt the appetite. Why? Not because they are hungry. Their appetites have been so perverted that they do not know what natural hunger is. Many of them eat all day and into the night. They come to the table with very little genuine appetite so somebody has to be busy thinking up concoctions, all sorts of things to tempt the appetite. This calls for time and money and thought that could be devoted to something better. And again, as on dress, so on diet, the answer is not to be sloppy and slovenly. Just throw the food on the table and let people eat like the cattle from the manger. No, no. God wants us to present the food in a beautiful and attractive way. This reminds me of the Eden that was and the Eden that is to be. And the food that God gave our first parents is still the most delicious, the most palatable and the most nutritious. Do you notice, friends, that the nearer we get to that program, the more time and thought we have to devote to the spiritual side of life? The food itself contributes to that and it doesn’t call for those hours and hours of toil in preparation that the worldly program does.

Someone may say, today we don’t have to spend much time in preparation. We just run down and buy these TV dinners and just sit at the TV and eat. Mother doesn’t have to cook. I believe that is also a heavy yoke.

What was that word Luke used in Luke 9:23? Daily. What a wonderful experience it can be to be alone with God to settle this question. All on the altar. He has got a blessing for you in fellowship with Him. He wants you to be all alone when you enter into this because He has some things to tell you He won’t tell anyone else. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant” (Psalm 25:14).

Lord, tell us what to cut out of our lives so that we’ll have more time, more money, more thought, more love for the things that are worth the most. Teach us how to sense our privileges, to lay aside the yokes of bondage, to accept Thy yoke which is easy and Thy burden which is light.


Elder W.D. Frazee studied the Medical Missionary Course at the College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda, California. He was called to Utah as a gospel medical evangelist. During the Great Depression, when the church could not afford to hire any assistants, Elder Frazee began inviting professionals to join him as volunteers. This began a faith ministry that would become the foundation for the establishment of the Wildwood Medical Missionary Institute in 1942. He believed that each person is unique, specially designed by the Lord, of infinite value, and has a special place and mission in this world which only he can fill. His life followed this principle and he encouraged others to do the same.

Editorial – Jesus said, “Come to Me.”

Why did Jesus say this? What qualifications did He present that should induce us to come to Him? He was used to absolute power and authority but He did not present this to us, although this is His by right. He also has all the wisdom of the universe. In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (See Colossians 2:3.) But He did not present His wisdom as a reason that we should come to Him.

His reasons for calling us to Him were His gentility and lowly heart. The result of our coming to Him would be that we would find rest to our souls. We would find that His yoke is kind and the burden He presents to us to carry is light.

As Christians we are to persuade others to come to Jesus and commit their lives to Him because He is gentle and He is lowly in heart—He will never rule them with force and overbearing authority.

“Earthly kingdoms rule by the ascendancy of physical power; but from Christ’s kingdom every carnal weapon, every instrument of coercion, is banished. This kingdom is to uplift and ennoble humanity. God’s church is the court of Holy life, filled with varied gifts and endowed with the Holy Spirit. The members are to find their happiness in the happiness of those whom they help and bless.” The Acts of the Apostles, 12. “Where the kingdom of God prevails, every carnal weapon, every influence of force and compulsion, is banished.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 76.

Do we as Christians accurately reflect the character of our divine Lord? Are we gentle and lowly in heart?

“It is not wise to find fault continually with what is done by the rulers of government. Many of our people are in danger of trying to exercise a controlling power upon others and of bringing oppression upon their fellow men. There is danger that those who are entrusted with responsibilities will acknowledge but one power, the power of an unsanctified will. Some have exercised this power unscrupulously and have caused great discomfiture to those whom the Lord is using. One of the greatest curses in our world (and it is seen in churches and in society everywhere) is the love of supremacy. Men become absorbed in seeking to secure power and popularity. This spirit has manifested itself in the ranks of Sabbathkeepers, to our grief and shame. But spiritual success comes only to those who have learned meekness and lowliness in the school of Christ. The closer we keep to Christ, and the more meek and lowly and self-distrustful we are, the firmer will be our hold on Christ, and the greater will be our power, through Christ, to convert sinners.” Excerpts from Testimonies, vol. 6, 394, 397, 399.

Keys to the Storehouse – The Weights, the Cross and the Yoke

Jesus says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23. He also says, “Take My yoke upon you” [Matthew 11:29]. What are the cross and the yoke?

“The yoke and the cross are symbols representing the same thing—the giving up of the will to God.” The Review and Herald, October 23, 1900.

Your cross is giving up your will and yoking up with God’s will. Why is it so hard to let go of your will, your self—your life as it is? In Luke 9:24 it says, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”

In the Greek-English Lexicon, that word for life means the life you live/lifestyle—the earthly. So when you try to preserve your life/lifestyle with all of its weights of character defects, you will lose it anyway—because it will be destroyed. But if you will lose your life—destroy your earthly lifestyle and yoke up with Christ—your life will be saved.

Your self has a battle to fight, because it wants to hold on to the weights that you are to lay aside, the things that so easily beset you (Hebrews 12:1). Why would you want to hang on to weights such as envy, evil thinking, evil speaking, covetousness and eventually be destroyed? Lay those weights aside and yoke up with Christ.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1.

“[Hebrews 12:1 quoted.] … Who are the witnesses? They are those spoken of in the previous chapter—those who have breasted the evils and difficulties in their way, and who in the name of the Lord have braced themselves successfully against the opposing forces of evil. They were sustained and strengthened and the Lord held them by His hand.

“There are other witnesses. All about us are those who are watching us closely, to see how we who profess a belief in the truth conduct ourselves. At all times and in all places, so far as possible, we must magnify the truth before the world.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 934.

These weights are cumbersome and not worth hanging on to. Yoke up with Christ as that great cloud of witnesses before you have done.

“Jesus invites us to come to Him and He will lift the weights from our weary shoulders and place upon us His yoke, which is easy, and His burden, which is light. … The sacrifices which we must make in following Christ are only so many steps to return to the path of light, of peace and happiness.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 480.

Heavenly Father, Grant me the grace to let go of these earthly things that weigh me down, these earthly characteristics which misrepresent Your character and that will destroy the opportunity for me to inherit eternal life. Give me the strength to die to self and to yoke up with Jesus. Amen.