I was teaching Sunday School to the middle school girls. We were in a deep discussion about being enslaved to sin. The girls were following along carefully and seemed to be understanding that when we practice sin, we get better and better at sinning. And sin will take control. That’s why Paul uses the imagery of a yoke.
Galatians 5:1, “For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
Our yoke to is sin. It leads us into more sin even if we don’t want to go.
The looks on the girls’ faces suddenly seemed blank.
I backed up and started again. Nods. Nods. Then, suddenly, blank stares when I got to Galatians.
“Do you guys know how yokes work?” I asked them.
“Okay. Why don’t you each act out a yoke so I’m sure we’re on the same page.”
The first girl cupped her hands. The second put her hands around either side of her neck with her elbows pointing out. The third put her head between her knees and wrapped her arms around herself.
I laughed. “Look at each other. I think I’ve found the confusion.”
Everyone glanced around and started laughing at how different they each were.
Two of them were acting out a “yolk” – as in the yolk of the egg. One girl of three had it correct.
This, after several weeks of sermons from the pulpit from Galatians. Two girls, raised in church, told me they always thought it was odd that Paul was referencing eggs.
So let’s go ahead and flesh this one out – this is what 2/3 of our class heard when our Pastor read this verse only a couple weeks ago:
“For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yolk of an egg.”
These are church-raised, very intelligent kids! It was once again another strong reminder that we cannot assume that we as teachers are communicating effectively. Our vocabulary is not the same as that of our audience. We must be diligent to constantly discuss the Bible with our kids and have them communicate it to us – so that we know they are processing the Gospel correctly.
After a long and ridiculously bad drawing of a sad cow being yoked to an evil, sinful cow, we were back on track. The girls knew that “yolk” and “yoke” were different words.
And suddenly, the nods all returned. Because we are the sad cow yoked to the evil cow. We start off feeling like we’re in control. But we’re not. Sin keeps pushing us forward into more sin. When it turns right, so do we. We can either turn with it or die in our yoke, dragged behind sin by our necks. After all, we’re cows. We can’t unlock the yoke. We have hooves and our legs don’t reach to our necks. We’re trapped.
And it’s in that state that Christ set us free. Free to choose. Left or right. Sin or righteousness. Selfishness or Godliness. Compassion or apathy. Faith or disbelief.
Praise the Lord for setting us free from the yoke of sin that so deeply enslaves our minds and our hearts!