Freedom and Constraint

Leo stopping long enough to get his picture taken.
He waits for this all day. 
He's happy now!
Leo loves going for walks. He has to wear a collar, though, and go on a leash. If he isn't wearing his collar, he goes to the basket where we keep it, touches it with his nose, and looks up at me impatiently. The collar doesn't represent a constraint to Leo. It's part of the connection to the leash and my hand.

Once I fasten the leash to his collar, we're on our way, and he's deliriously happy to go wherever my feet take him. He gets to go places he can't go alone. He sniffs and marks distant territory. His tail wags almost as fast as his legs go. Walking along, he pokes my calf with his nose as if to say, "Isn't this great!" He's excited to return home. He gets a couple treats and he retires to his bed where he lays panting; watching me with awe and admiration, as if to say, "Wasn't that something!"

Is our walk with Christ much different?
Matthew 11:29 - Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Galatians 5:17 - For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 
Romans 6:16 - Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Leo's collar is like a yoke. Though a yoke evokes an image of confinement, the yoke Christ speaks of is different. It's liberating. It keeps us from going places that trouble our souls. That yoke is provided to us by the one who made us and it fits perfectly. I believe that yoke is the Holy Spirit himself and he is our bond to Christ. That yoke is comforting and we welcome it. We look to Christ in gratitude as he takes us with him where we could not go alone. We get to explore the new world Christ made for us that exists in him. This is the yoke we take upon ourselves.

The other yoke leads to sin and death and the evil one imposes it upon us. With either yoke, we face a life filled with forces bigger than ourselves. One way or another, there are forces preventing us from doing everything we want to do. One yoke is connected to the hand of one who steals, kills, and destroys. The other yoke connects us to the hand of one who loves and died for us; who wants us to have life and have it more abundantly.

Can we be as happy as Leo? In Christianity, we get to choose.

When Partners Rest

Trust builds when partners rest
Taking care of life that parts us
While knowing -
     this is what life is asking of us.

We have no other lives.
Ignorant and foolish eyes may see
the present passing moment - never shared
     in vacant understanding
of a life that's real
and the calling of life to life

-Dan Owens