He was the cleverest human who ever lived, a master of
humour, and of literary devices such as paradox, as when he
offers the weary and burdened, rest. Rest–by bearing his yoke.
Bearing the yoke of Jesus means developing the habit of checking
in with him before we speak, act or commit ourselves. For he
always has a surprisingly better, more efficient way of doing things
and will show us all the things that simply do not need to be done.
Jesus promises us rest if we learn gentleness and humility
from him. As we never fully master a language, gardening
or writing, we, the naturally fiery, cranky, worn-out and
hot-tempered, will keep learning gentleness all our lives. “Oops,
I’ve slipped again. I will arise and go to Jesus. Jesus, please
help me for the next minute.” Desperate arrow prayers!
Jesus is too kind to demand massive behaviour modification
to layer onto the burdens he promises us deliverance from—many
self-imposed, stemming from our pride and desire to impress.
He promises us the Spirit, a helper, a seed, and living water within us,
whose fruit is gentleness, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
faithfulness and self-control, as the Apostle Paul writes.
We acquire the Spirit’s power to change, firstly, by asking for it.
Jesus says that as a good father wouldn’t deny his hungry child
food, his Father will not refuse us the Spirit when we ask.
Does praying for God’s spirit work? Yes, it does. Will he come?
He will. But it takes daily prayer, for we leak.
Secondly, we must prioritise praying for the Spirit.
The apostles were given the greatest, biggest commission:
To preach to all nations. And Jesus recommended their first
move: To remain exactly where they were until they were “clothed
with power from on high.” So perhaps we, under Jesus’s easy yoke,
should also remain where we are, not taking on any new great things
for ourselves, for God, or for the world, until we have been clothed
with the Spirit’s power which makes difficult things easy and light.
As we quieten down and progressively pray to be filled with God’s Spirit,
and God answers our prayers as He promised, our personality changes.
We become ever gentler. May it be so. Come, Holy Spirit. Amen.