Jesus – Our Personal Trainer
I believe it was about 1996, that Oprah Winfrey wrote an excellent book with Bob Greene. The book, titled “Make the Connection” shared how Oprah for years had battled a weight problem. With Greene’s help she was actually able to improve her physical being to the point where she was able to compete in a 26-mile marathon.
She was staying at a resort in Colorado, where she met Greene, an exercise physiologist. Oprah took several sessions with him and felt so much better that she asked him to move to Chicago and become her personal trainer. He agreed and began to design a program for Oprah that would improve her health over-all.
Note: Bob didn’t just write a program for he, he personally participated in the program with her. He did everything that he asked her to do. That’s what a personal trainer does. That’s what made the difference for Oprah and why she succeeded when she had always failed before.
Are you “out of shape” in some area of your life and failing even though you have tried again and again to “get into shape?” Maybe you need a personal trainer to help you “work out” and “work up” to a life of success. Well, I have good news for you. Jesus Christ is available and He wants to be your personal trainer.
Here is His invitation to each of us to come and be trained on how to become “fit” for every area of our lives. “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT.
Rest sounds good, doesn’t it! But did you notice that Jesus said He has a yoke He wants each of us to wear? Doesn’t a yoke have something to do with work? How can we have rest if we have to work?
A yoke is a harness that fits over the neck and in front of the shoulders of the ox or horse that is going to pull the load. Having grown up on the farm, I am very familiar with the yoke we placed on our horses, who would be pulling the load.
There is one other thing you should be aware of. Many times, we had a horse that was young and inexperienced. We would always put that horse with a very mature horse, to learn how to pull its load. At first, the young horse would want to run ahead or lag behind, but the mature horse set the pace. In time, the young inexperienced horse would settle down and settle into the routine and would find rest.
When we are first saved by faith in Christ, we are green and inexperienced. We want to rush ahead or lag behind. Jesus wants to be our personal trainer. He wants us to learn how to use the resources available to us to become strong in our faith and successful in every area of our lives. This is really a fascinating and somewhat surprising passage of Scripture. Let me see if I can walk us through it.
When we accept Christ, we in essence take up His yoke and walk alongside of Him. We actually link our lives to Him. As we walk with Him our lives change and we begin to take on His likeness. The yoke that was heavy and oppressive, in the beginning, becomes easier and our burdens become light. That is the kind of rest Jesus has in mind here.
You will notice, in the passage, that Jesus said, “Come, take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me.” “Learn” is a key word. It comes from a Greek word that means, “to be discipled.” In a Biblical context, a disciple is a learner. He or she would choose a teacher that was highly respected and “attach” himself or herself to that person to learn from and in essence become like. As a Christian, I not only receive Christ as my Savior, but I surrender my will and life to Him. I want to learn from Him. I want to become more and more like Him. He is my “personal trainer.” It is the Holy Spirit at work in me that causes me to grow and become more and more like Him. As I walk with Jesus and learn from Him, the yoke He places on me becomes lighter and I find a special rest in Him.
If I try to run ahead of Him, or lag behind Him, the yoke will be heavy and I will not experience the rest He wants me to experience.
The yoke represents service. As I wear the yoke that Jesus gives to me, I will be walking and working alongside of Him. We are mentored by Him. We are trained by Him. Have you chosen Jesus as your Master teacher and personal trainer? (I encourage you to read Joshua 23-24 to see what it means to choose to serve the LORD.) Joshua tells his people that there are some things they will need to stop doing or give up, if they expect a victorious fellowship and walk with God. There may be things that Jesus requires of us as His disciples. As we yield to Him, we will find a special rest for our souls.
As I close this meditation, I want to share with you, part of a sermon given by the prince of preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, back on August 1, 1878. It is titled, “The Choice of a Leader”.
“We are overpowered by the grandeur of the Redeemer’s goodness, by the splendor of His love, the infinity of His self-sacrifice. Jesus commands our faith by the revelation of Himself … He was so out-spoken and yet so gentle, so courageous and yet so kind, so unflinching and yet so tender (I love this part) wearing His heart upon His sleeve in the transparency of truth, but prudent and guarding Himself with infallible wisdom; a match for all, however they might assail Him, and yet apparently never on His guard at all, but as a child among them, the holy child Jesus. Oh, if you sit at Jesus’ feet you will not only learn of Him; and His teaching will have power over you (this is the part I love the most) but you will learn Him, for He himself is His own best lesson.”
Dr. Mark Bailey, in his book, “To Follow Him” wrote — “You see, the secret of rest is found in service, in working alongside the Savior, in being mentored by Him, in being discipled by Him. It’s found in connection with Jesus Christ, for as Spurgeon said, “He himself is his own best lesson.” The result is an incredible “rest”’ a deep and abiding peace in the innermost part of our beings, our souls.”
Folks, Jesus invites each of us to come to Him, connect with Him and learn from Him. Will you accept His invitation to come and truly be one of His disciples? I pray that you will say “yes” to His invitation.
One of His learners,