The Yoke of Christ: Realizing the “Light” and “Easy” Burden

by Joshua Tilghman on September 16, 2012


Consciousness. Science can’t understand it. Religion places it in a box with a bearded old man in the sky. But there is the rare soul that learns to dive into it, to awaken to it. Since we are all different experiential expressions of the one and only consciousness (i.e., God), it behooves us to explore and experience the raw consciousness that we are. Today’s post will look at a famous saying from Jesus that I believe is an invitation to do just that.

The words from Jesus that we are going to look at today come from Matthew 11:29-30:

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my yoke is light.”

When I first read those words many years ago in church, I was comforted. I decided that I would heed those words for the rest of my life. I was going through a pretty stressful time. Even though I was thankful to have a job, it didn’t pay much and I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do for very long. I was also going through a hard time emotionally. My girlfriend and I had split up months before because of our immaturity, but I knew she was the one. She eventually got to the point where she moved on and started dating again. This was hurtful, but I also knew I was in no condition to try and make things work for us. I had to sit back and wait. It seemed like my entire life was on hold. I was just waiting. Waiting for what? I had no idea. It was such a stressful time because inside (consciously) the wheels were spinning very fast, but my life was going nowhere. My mind was racing with thoughts all the time, but nothing in life seemed to be working out.

And then I looked down at those words from Jesus and they seemed to make so much sense. That was the answer! I just had to dedicate my life to Christ and he would work it out for me, right?

Eventually, the entire process became a little more confusing. If you view the story of Jesus’ life as literal, it seems anything but “light” and “easy.” He was beaten, tortured, hated, scorned, mocked, and eventually crucified! That was his mission, his destiny. Is this the “yoke” that Jesus was speaking of? If so, it didn’t seem very inviting, especially for a new Christian who was trying to understand the Jesus concept.

I decided to dig a little deeper. When I looked up the word “yoke” in the Greek, it meant “to join.” I then asked myself how I was supposed to “join” myself to Christ. I finally decided it must mean that I was supposed to join my spirit to his spirit. But how?

People I talked to in the church said it all boiled down to accepting him as savior of my life. So I accepted him as savior of my life; I reaffirmed this salvation in my prayers every night before bed. But deep down inside I was still confused. The entire Jesus as my savior idea still seemed to be missing something.

For a while I ignored it. Then I wondered if I was cursed. It seemed that everyone else around me in the church could accept the salvation story of Christ and everything was hunky dory. At least until I got to know everyone a little better…

I soon found out that everyone in the church, even the pastors and leadership, all had their issues and problems. In fact, when it got down to it, the only thing that seemed different about the people “outside” of the church to the people “inside” of the church was that all the church people went to church! But I also began to notice that I was now accepted and trusted by them because of what I professed verbally and acted out every Wednesday night and Sunday morning. But I was definitely no transformed creature. I was definitely no transfigured individual with a newfound answer to my life. In fact, I was really no different at all, except that I now professed and genuinely believed I had been saved by an outside individual who was God that came to earth for my sins. So now my life consisted of being dedicated to a local congregation and doing God’s will of trying to be an example of Christ to other people in the hopes that they, too, would make the same verbal profession that I did.

But all in all, the majority of Christians weren’t so different where it counted. No one seemed to exhibit this glorious transformation that everyone spoke of, preached about, and taught from the scriptures.

And isn’t this the definition of a Christian anyway? Isn’t the ultimate goal of the Christian “to become like him?”

Rick Warren states on a website, “From the very beginning, God’s plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus.”

This is the belief of mainstream Christianity. But this can be a very confusing thing. From that same site comes a response from a viewer:

“Dear Rick Warren, Thank you for this message. I really want to be like Christ, but I don’t know how to be like him…”

This answer reveals a fundamental problem in the mainstream Christian mindset: the belief that Jesus is an individual being outside of us.

The Apostle Paul seems to understand that Christ is not an outside object to become like, but rather an internal process of transformation and a state of being.

The Apostle Paul states:

“My little children, until I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you…” (Gal. 4:19)

If Christ is to be formed in us as a state of being, then the Christ is a potential nature which fundamentally exists inside each and every human being. In other words, the Christ nature is within the mind, and it doesn’t take a certain set of verbal affirmations, doctrines, or belief systems to manifest the Christ.

So how do we reveal this potential Christ nature within us? How do we manifest it?

Since leaving the traditional church, I’ve grown and matured. I now know that everyone has their problems and their failures. The true difference is in how we handle it. Some people are able to turn a potentially stressful and difficult situation into a stress-free opportunity. It’s an amazing gift that truly seems to be very rare, but I’ve been able to get glimpses of it the older I get.

It turns out that one of my original conclusions many years back about Jesus’ words were true: I had to join my spirit to his. I now know that by “spirit” I was subconsciously referring to consciousness. Consciousness, the biggest and most mysterious concept in the entire universe, IS GOD. And to take the yoke of Christ upon us is to become a CHRIST!

So what, exactly, is a Christ?

A Christ is someone who has sacrificed themselves. A Christ is someone who understands that all problems and negative situations in our experiences are created and labeled so by thought.

Thoughts arise from consciousness. They can create negativity. They can corrupt. Thoughts can also heal, and they can create positive outcomes. But consciousness itself is neither positive nor negative. It is simply that fundamental aspect of the universe which is infinite in nature and beyond time and space. But by becoming a Christ, we become that rare individual who dives into the depths of consciousness that releases us from the problems of this world. Becoming a Christ does not mean we won’t face challenging situations; it simply means that wherever you find yourself, there you are! And whatever situation you find yourself in is the condition and experience which you have created with your thoughts, so you must become conscious enough to choose a different pattern of thought if you want to change the outcome.

So how do this all relate to the scripture I mentioned at the beginning of this post? How do we take Jesus’ yoke upon us? A yoke where the burden is light and easy?

I think first we must understand exactly what the Biblical writer is talking about as Christ and the yoke. In order to “join” with Christ, we first have to realize that Christ is not someone or something “outside” of us. The Christ is a state of atonement, or at-one-ment with God, or consciousness itself. It is the state of being the observer (awareness) in each and every moment of life without resisting that moment. When we don’t direct energy (conscious thought) to judgment, we free up energy to choose life! Without resistance, there isn’t stress.

So to take the yoke of Christ upon you, where the burden is light, is to dive into consciousness itself and enjoy the ride without labels, judgments, or rigid beliefs. It is simply letting go of ourselves, of all the negativity and false concepts and beliefs we have picked up along this ride of life, and learning to consciously create a new experience with what we have been given. It’s exhibiting unconditional love to every aspect of creation.

As Jesus seemed to teach, when we ourselves are crucified, we can live more abundantly through HIM—that is, the Christ nature!

The more I learned to do this, the more I was able to make conscious choices. I now am married to the girlfriend that seemed to be slipping from my fingers. I now have two beautiful children with her. I also now have a different job that I have learned to enjoy almost every day. I say almost because I have slipped out of conscious living and backslid into negativity from time to time. I guess this means I am not “enlightened.” However, I prefer to see it as God reminding me that when I slip back into these undesirable states, I need to once again learn to live boldly, fearlessly, and with unconditional love towards every person and situation. And I know that the more I discipline my mind, the more conscious choices I will be able to make.

Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes. I now know that to take your yoke upon me is to step back, take a deep breath, and dive into consciousness itself instead of the thought-generated life with all its problems and labels that consciousness can experience. I am then free to redirect, and choose something better!

How does all this knowledge help you?

Religion has taught us many wrong concepts about God and the Bible. Religion has taken us away from conscious living and into unconscious living. What do I mean by that? Anything that encourages us to look outside ourselves for happiness is vain. True contentment comes from within. It is manifested by the Christ nature. That is ultimately what Paul is referring to when he states that he travails until “Christ be formed in us.”

The only moment they have been given is “now.” If we can’t manifest a state of being that reflects peace and contentment now, we won’t be able to do it anywhere else in another time. Therefore, we must learn to cultivate it now. Discipline your mind. Become the observer of your thoughts. Realize the ego inside of you, and let the Christ nature rule over it. Take out the yoke of Christ!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rhonda September 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Hi Joshua…this time I have your name right…sorry…”Jonathan” is my son’s name which I THINK I addressed you as last time! I have thought for some time you might enjoy the writings of “James” from the “Wingmakers” site. He writes about living from the heart virtues…if you are interested check out
eventtemples.com . The articles are free downloads on this site. Blessings!

Reply

Joshua Tilghman September 17, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Rhonda,

No problem. I’m better with faces than names anyway. And thanks so much for recommending “eventtemples.com.” I’ve never been there, so I’ll be more than happy to check it out. I am always willing to learn. And blessings to you as well!

Reply

Janet McQuarrie September 16, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Your insights are always so thought-provoking! It reminded me of this verse I read in John 14 that really stuck with me: “When that day comes, you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me, just as I am in you.” To me that verse reiterates how we ARE one with God, and Jesus is NOT outside of us. Thanks for another great post that keeps me living with more awareness.

Reply

Joshua Tilghman September 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Janet,

Great to hear from you again. I hope you’re doing well. The verse you mention from John is one of my favorites. I used to pour over that verse intuitively knowing that there was so much more depth to it than the simple explanations I would get from pastors or friends with the traditional Christian mindset. Thanks for your thoughts and I wish you the best.

Reply

Suzy September 17, 2012 at 10:24 am

I really needed to read this today. It’s helping me to have a larger perspective about events outside of myself, instead of letting them torture my mind. I love the way you say that Christ is the example for each of us to become. It’s also wonderful to read your life story that turned out so beautifully. Thanks so much for this post.

Reply

Joshua Tilghman September 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Suzy,

I can definitely understand the first part of your comment. Before and after writing this post, I was confronted with the same thoughts. About my life story: it did turn out wonderful, although I have my bumps in the road just like we all do. But I am learning to turn these bumps into opportunities for growth and conscious change. Blessings!

Reply

Chuck Dunning September 18, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Well done, Josh. 🙂

Agape,
Chuck

Reply

Chuck Dunning September 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Ooops! Sorry, but I didn’t meant to promote my own blog there. 😛

Reply

Joshua Tilghman September 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Thanks, Chuck. I loved your “A personal God” article you recently posted. Keep it up, my friend.

Reply

Mike Pinkston August 10, 2015 at 7:03 am

Another great article.
Keep them coming, Joshua

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: