07/09 - Who Are You Pulling For

July 15th, 2017

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Who are you Pulling for?

Matthew 11: 16-19, 25-30

 

  • Pulled in two ways?

    • An old-time plow...

      • Some of you may have had this experience (growing rare)
      • For first-century Jews, it was instantly relatable
    • The Weight of the Yoke
      • To rabbis, the "yoke" was their teaching (the Yoke of Law)
      • Jesus called them out on having too heavy a yoke (uselessly burdensome teaching) [Luke 11:46]...and countered that His yoke was light and restful [Matthew 11:29]
      • Pulling the Pharisees' yoke (judgmental legalism) steals the joy out of life and weighs you down.
      • If we're not joyful in Christ, if our burdens are wearing us out, we may have become yoked to something other than Him, because He has taken a LOT of the load...
    • The Direction we are Traveling (Matthew 11:16-19)
      • "Pull" of "this generation" is always shifting: 17 ‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t mourn.’
      • And doesn't guarantee acceptance: 18 "For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ 19a The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard,... "
      • If we are just living for the latest fad or social issue or professional goal, we won't have a clear purpose or direction. Where is the meaning in life?
      • Even if you get "to the top" in this world (pay scale, power, fame), most everyone will just wait to see you fall.
      • You want meaning, take Christ's yoke and let Him lead you!
    • How to "take His yoke" upon us?
      • Attach yourself to Christ

        • Using marriage as a metaphor (following Paul's usage):

          • it shouldn't begin w/o knowing the other well, and doesn't last w/o constant effort
        • The Weight of Knowledge = learning His character, thoughts, and goals
          • Reading, listening to bible, sneak it in during the day
          • podcasts, sermons (yes, you can do a lot of this yourself)
        • Constant, Directed Effort = being aware if distance is creeping in, if you are pulling in different directions
          • That often takes OTHERS

            • Marriage example: talking with family & friends (in confidence) who are committed to helping your relationship work, who help us understand ourselves and the other person better
            • In walking with Christ, find persons who you believe have a close walk with Him (don't just ask your BFFs); they see from a different perspective
            • CHURCH: We've got to do better at providing a SAFE PLACE to do this!!!
          • Be wary of:
            • Pulls in incompatible directions

              • One (and perhaps the only) genius line of the SW prequels: "You're going somewhere I can't follow!"
              • External (lots of voices calling) and Internal (and lots of broken inclinations)
                • : we're like shopping carts with a wonky wheel...
              • A bad understanding of the goal
                • Nonreligious example: "Marriages are disposable and kids easily adapt."
                • Religious ex: "We're at church for what we get out of it."
              • Pulling for (& with) Christ
                • Marriage Metaphor concluded: Over the years if all goes right...

                  • You know each others thoughts (finish other's sentences)
                  • You exchange and merge behaviors
                  • Sometimes you even start to look more alike
                  • Others cannot think of one of you without thinking of both
                • And this is an excellent example for Christ's teaching:
                  • At the end of the day, do I want to look more like this fractured world, or more like Jesus?
                  • Don't I want to KNOW the God who made me?
                  • What is a more fulfilling path? More meaningful?  More consequential & lasting?
                  • "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope." Jeremiah 29:11
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