Let’s look at the obvious meaning of the above-mentioned verses and then look more closely at what is implied in Jesus’ direction to “learn of Me”.
“Come to Me all you who labour and are heavy-laden and overburdened” – we are laden and overburdened with the issues of life in our soul – the afflictions of our natural life – and with sin. The Israelites were heavily burdened by the harshness of the Mosaic Law and the way of the Pharisees. Jesus calls to us while we are in this position to offer us Himself and His redemption. He CALLS – deliberately draws us by His Spirit and says that our life in Him will cause us to rest, cause our souls to find ease, to be relieved, to be refreshed and to find blessed quiet.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” –paraphrased from Bible Commentaries, Jesus is saying ‘get in the yoke with Me and let me disciple you. I’ll bear the weight of your burden. My yoke is good and you will find rest and companionship in our labour together.’ It is a heavenly Kingdom yoke and joining to Jesus is full of grace, and pleasant to our souls. Jesus was telling the Israelites that His Way was restful as opposed to the harshness of the Mosaic Law and pagan religions. In other words, soul peace is to be found in Him – freedom from fears and agitating passions – as one comes and learns to obey and have fellowship with Him as Saviour and Lord.
This passage is talking about the WAY of Christ, a way of Kingdom authority that, unlike the harshness, hardness and uncomfortable authority imposed by Law, is, in comparison, an authority that is ‘comfortable, gracious, pleasant and easy to bear – as well as being wholesome and good!
“For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good – not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant, and My burden is light and easy to be borne.”
The verse I now want to expound upon is ‘and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart.’ Once we are yoked with Christ, He begins to train and teach us toward this place of rest for our souls. Jesus stresses His character, His meekness and His humility and says to ‘learn of Me’, to learn to be humble and meek as the way to find His rest. Why does He stress these particular traits as necessary to the finding of rest?
Firstly, meekness is about experientially knowing God as sovereign in your life no matter what circumstances you may find yourself in. Like Job, meekness is about coming into an understanding that God knows more about you than you do; it’s about the crucifixion of self-righteousness and the growth of silence of soul toward a sovereign God – a bowing of the knee in acknowledgement that God knows our life’s needs better than we do. This growth takes time. It’s about being SILENT before the accusations of men (as was Jesus before Pilate) or the accusations of self, in order for Father God to judge our lives and our issues righteously; rather than ourselves, or others, judging our situation. It’s about not acting out of rage, anger, indignation or other negative emotional responses but looking to heaven and letting God order our lives and our responses to negative situations. Meekness and humility are about your ego being quieted and stilled so that God’s Spirit within you is truly in authority in your life. In this you LIVE.
Meekness, then, allows you to understand and act correctly to the “pressures of life”. The main Hebrew word translated into meekness, ‘prautes’, means ‘the inner disposition or grace of the soul expressing a right attitude toward both God and man.’ It is a heart condition, one of gentleness, but it is not weakness. Rather, there is powerful authority in meekness. I remember A. W. Tozer saying in one of his books that John (in Revelation 5) heard them saying ‘Behold, the lion of the tribe of Judah’ and so expected to see a great lion of authority and natural power but, when he turned he said ‘and I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain..’ Christ is both the Lion and the Lamb but it was as a Lamb, in meekness and humility, that He was given the authority over the whole earth and heaven to open the seven seals. Learn of Him. Come, learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find……..
So, meekness is an attitude of spirit whereby we accept God’s dealing with us in EVERY distressing situation as GOOD because He can turn everything unto good in our lives. In fact, the tough, painful issues in our life can ONLY be turned to our good IF we have a humble/meek heart as did our Lord. If our own soul remains in control through its responses, God cannot turn circumstances to our good. Remember Joseph – “what the enemy meant for my harm the Lord turned to my good”. This was because Joseph never complained against his God but always trusted in God’s hand upon his life through all his adverse circumstances. Joseph was a lowly, meek and humble man because he was able to rest in the knowledge of the goodness of God. As a result, Joseph could be powerfully used by God in service to others.
Secondly, Father God wants us to become like His Son in our character (His new creation) and to exhibit the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The first Christlike character traits of being ‘blessed’ in the Beatitudes is, “the poor in spirit (the humble who rate themselves insignificant)”, “the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering),” and “those who mourn” – the Word of God says therefore, that those who are meek, humble and repentant are blessed and spiritually prosperous regardless of their outward conditions. Such is a person who has stopped their own striving in order to learn from the Lord by His Spirit and His Word. Such a person can, then, be purified by Father God by His loving discipline and be made into a vessel of honour, one acceptable to God.
Without meekness and humility of heart we can’t let God’s love and His loving discipline into our lives; we can’t be purified and changed into Christlikeness. Ultimately, this means we can’t carry the servanthood of Christ or the authority of Christ to those around us. Come, learn of Me…….
We see Kinsman Farm as a PASTORAL ministry, despite its strong prophetic stance, since any retreat is actually offering those who come, a “bond of kinship”:
3 John:5 – “Beloved, it is a fine and faithful work that you are doing, when you give any service to the [Christian] brethren, and [especially when they are] strangers. They have testified before the church of your love and friendship.”
Such pastoral work, for all of us in Christ’s body, requires heart preparation so that we can offer a love as Christ’s, a REDEMPTIVE love which seeks to restore and edify, rather than condemn. This is why humility and meekness are the FOUNDATION of all ‘true heavenly wisdom’ and acts of service.
Luke 4:8 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed me to preach the Good News (the Gospel) to THE POOR.” See also Isaiah 61:1-6.
It is the poor in spirit, the humble, who will be called priests of the Lord and be spoken of as ministers of our God, who will ‘rebuild the ancient ruins’, who will raise and renew, who will ‘take back the glory’. (Isaiah 61).
Abraham, we are told, was a man of deep humility of mind and heart. He exhibited the same mind as was in Christ when he allowed Lot to decide first which land to take (even though he was the elder). Lot means ‘burning with lust’ so Lot was not a meek and humble personality; Lot’s own nature was still in control of his life. Abraham saw himself as secondary and because of his humility, God’s reward and promises were mighty to him and to all mankind.
Unlike Abraham, another Biblical character, Rehoboam, chose not to listen to the advice of older men who told him to rule by ‘being a servant’ but, rather, listened to the advice of the young men around him to ‘lay a heavier yoke upon the people’ – to manipulate and control as one in authority. His rule failed and he was judged by God as not righteous.
So, humility allows God to be God and to work His will in our lives. It also brings like-mindedness, the same love, one accord, and one mind in our midst when we meet to pray and fellowship together.
Phil 2:1-2 –“So by whatever [appeal to you there is in our mutual dwelling in Christ, by whatever] strengthening and consoling and encouraging [our relationship] in Him [affords], by whatever persuasive incentive there is in love, by whatever participation in the [Holy] Spirit [we share], and by whatever depth of affection and compassionate sympathy, fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention.”
Jesus was lowly and humble:
Verse 5 – “Let this SAME ATTITUDE and PURPOSE and [HUMBLE] MIND be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [let Him be your example in humility]: who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God, did not think this equality with God was a thing to eagerly grasped or retained……but stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a SERVANT.”
The word ‘to serve’ is ‘diakonos’ and means a voluntary service, by CHOICE, out of a humble and meek soul that loves unconditionally.
1Peter 5:5 – “Likewise, you who are younger and of lesser rank, be subject to the elders (the ministers and spiritual guides of the church) – [giving them due respect and yielding to their counsel].CLOTHE (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another. For God sets Himself against the proud but gives grace (favour, blessing) to the humble. Therefore, humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you.”
By meeting together to pray for a time in silence, to be silent together to the Lord, and to gaze upon the beauty of Christ without the use of words, we believe we are cultivating a context of humility and meekness, since we are placing ourselves in a place of ‘one accord’. Our words, vocal expressions and gestures do not single us out when we are silent in prayer together. Rather, we enter into quietness and rest together, communing and worshipping the Lord – whereby our Lord is our all-in-all. We yoke ourselves together only to Him and, through Him only, to each other. And we wait together to LEARN of HIM.
Harold Dewberry has defined prayer as “the outworking of humility of heart, for we are stressing our own inability to meet the needs of ourselves and others and, therefore, we must seek help from God.” Amen and amen.
We are meeting together to learn to walk in submission to one another in the fear of the Lord, since to be submissive means to cease from being self-assertive and self-opinionated (hhhmmmmm….I have a way to go here). We enter into such a place through silence together.
To conclude, Matthew 5, “COME TO ME…..” reflects a deep principle our Lord desires us to learn and that is, to yoke ourselves to His meek and humble person and to become like Him in heart; not haughty and proud, but lowly of heart and gentle in spirit. Only these fruits of the Spirit truly enable us to be taught, purified, and judged righteously by God. Only learning humility and meekness from our Lord brings us to the place of servanthood in His agape love – one who is chosen by Christ, who chooses to learn of His lowliness, who chooses the right service to His Body through Him – only such a person is able to enter His REST and to find peace of soul.
We at Kinsman Farm desire to open a space for those who come; to come to Christ, to learn of His humility and meekness, and to rest together in Him through the silencing of our own mind, heart and voice; to the attuning to His Spirit and the learning together of Him alone. Learn of Me, learn to rest.