The word "yoke" is used several times throughout Scripture. It was a tool that the people of those days understood well. A yoke was something they put around the neck of an ox to help control the animal as it performed work. The yolk limited the movement of the ox. If the ox started to get off course, the yoke could pull it back in line. It was a heavy and constant burden. Even though the ox was very strong and powerful, this small yoke could keep it from doing what it wanted to do.
Some people don't realize it, but they're living with a spiritual yoke around their necks. They wonder why they can't get ahead, why everything is a struggle. They can't seem to break out of the rut they are in. It's because of the yoke that is dragging them down.
A yolk can be the negative words that were spoken over you in the past. When you start to step out, do you hear words from the past saying, "You're not that talented, you don't have what it takes"? Do those thoughts play over and over until eventually you shrink back? That's a yoke. It's keeping you in mediocrity.
Maybe in a relationship, you want to love that other person, but your mother got hurt before. Or, the last person you were in a relationship with hurt you and now you just can't trust anybody. That's another yoke.
Some yokes have been passed down to us. I know a young lady who grew up with a father who was unfaithful to her mother. She saw her dad run around on her mom, and it made her so upset. She got to the point where she hated her father. She couldn't stand the man. He'd brought so much heartache and pain into the home. She and her sisters were confused, bitter and angry. She couldn't wait to get old enough to move out of the house. At eighteen, she left home, got married and had several children. A few years later, she started running around on her husband. She did the same thing to her children that she hated so much about her father. That's a yoke being passed down.
You may have struggled in an area for a long time, but don't go through life thinking: "This is the way it's always going to be." "I'm always going to struggle in my marriage, Joel." "I'm always going to have to fight this depression." "I'm always going to be lonely." "That's just the way my family is." No, the God we serve is a yoke-destroying, burden-removing God! Don't get comfortable with that yoke. You're not going to wear it your whole lifetime. Call on Him and He will answer! Choose to forgive so you can release the past once and for all. Cast your cares on Him and surrender every wrong thought, attitude and anything that would hold you back. Invite Him to destroy the yokes in your life so that you can move forward in the freedom and victory He has for you!
"In that day the LORD will end the bondage of his people. He will break the yoke of slavery and lift it from their shoulders." (Isaiah 10:27, NLT)