As the world spins faster and closer to Christ’s return, there is an ever increasing dividing line between Believers in Jesus Christ and the world. Darkness seems to prevail as God’s people suffer near annihilation and the truths of God’s Word trampled upon. As followers, not wanderers, we must stand in the only place of security and strength. We must stand by Christ’s side. There is no gray area, we are either yoked to this world or to Christ….free to live and move through darkness or walk toward eternity in the light of our Maker. “Come to me” Christ calls, “all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28-30) The world and its false religions cannot give you this rest.
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
Carnal Christianity builds a gospel around ‘easy’ and ‘light’. Yet, without the Lord’s yoke and burden, it is a useless gospel. His yoke binds us to His side; His burden opens His heart into ours.
A yoke is forward focused, causing great discomfort when the bearer veers to the left, to the right, or turns to look behind. Under His yoke, through obedience and submission, we share in His burden to reflect the glory of God in this dark world. Here, at the Lord’s side, we will stand with Him and He will stand with us. Before His arrest on the Mount of Olives, even knowing their weakness, the Lord said to His disciples,
“You are those who have stood by me in my trials.” (Luke 22:28)
High accolades from God to mortal man! What are the Lord’s trials – and how can we stand with Him?
The disciples stood with Jesus, God incarnate. After the Lord’s ascension, the Holy Spirit was sent to indwell believers, giving us new birth, new life, and joining us together as the Body of Christ on earth. If we would really stand with Christ in His trials, we must likewise stand with His Body in this world. As Saul persecuted the brethren, Christ challenged him, “Why are you persecuting ME?” (Acts 9:4)
We must be challenged to stand with Christ as His Body is despised and rejected by men, suffers need, languishes in prison, tortured, widowed – humiliated and dishonored in every way.
Jesus proclaimed that eternal life awaited those who served His Body in this world – and damnation for those who neglected the same. (Matthew 25:31-46) Our world is exploding into an arena for the mocking and torture of Christ. If we are not standing at His side, we are amongst the spectators, the condemned.
There may be brethren in our midst who are suffering and discouraged, in grief and even despair. We must be available in Christ to minister to them. For certain though, a collective lament cries out from those who are persecuted and in the clutches of cruel and merciless hands. We are accountable to hear those cries, to open our hearts, to “mourn with those who mourn”, and stand with them in their trials as with Christ….but how?
The devil wants to keep us as spectators, pitying the ‘foreigners’ who are suffering so much… out of reach, impossible to help. Our unseen brethren are as foreign as the unseen Christ. They are as unreachable as Peter in Acts 12, held captive by the most powerful world government. No carnal plan or coup can subdue the powerful darkness consuming the world. As with Peter, only that which is launched supernaturally through prayer can rescue, deliver and strengthen. Esteem prayer as the Lord Himself did – reserving time and place as a supernatural encounter. As “co-workers in God’s service”, our work in prayer yields rewards as the Lord answers. Believe that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”, whether or not we see physical evidence. Lacking fervency and passion? When yoked to the Master and into His Word, His heart will rekindle our passion and zeal.
To stand by the Lord in His trials is to take His yoke and follow His lead. It does not guarantee detour from pain, anguish, or even martyrdom but will assure this: He will never leave or forsake us, He will stand by our side and indwell our hearts to overflowing that we may endure whatever He sets before us for the glory of His coming Kingdom.
We can only imagine hearing Him say,
“You are those who have stood by me in my trials”
“Well done, good and faithful servant.”