ARE YOU YOKED TO YOUR PAST?
Romans 8:35 - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
ul was a powerhouse for God. We look at people like Paul, and we think they never had any problems. Well, Paul had his problems and he learned how to overcome them. Paul is saying here, beginning in verse 35, “who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all they day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, not things present, nor things to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I want you to pay special attention to verse 38, it says, “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life....” And all these things he talks about. And he says “nor things present, nor things to come.” These things cannot separate us from the love of God. He did not include the past. Does that mean that the past possibly could separate us from His love? If not, why didn’t Paul include it?
When I used to read that passage, I would always think that all the death and life and all the demons and all the territorial spirits and all these things that Paul is referring to, will never separate us from the love of God. I was thrilled to know that. And I am glad to know that He is always going to love me no matter what. We have His promise—but will we always love Him? Is it not possible that we might allow the hurts and bitterness of an unforgiving past to kill our love for Him, thus separating us?
Paul doesn’t mention the past here. For some reason, he’s silent about the past. He’s silent about what effect the past can
have and can that separate us from the love of God. Then I began to think I was just reading something into that, because God is never going to stop loving us. We can put ourselves into a position where we lose out with God, but He is always going to love us. God is love. So, I began to pray about this. God began to speak to me and to tell me that He will never stop loving us, but we can stop loving Him. Our love for Him can die. We have to have that love for Jesus. We have to have that relationship with Jesus. Things are going to come upon the face of this earth and we are going to be shaken. The Bible says if anything can be shaken, it will be shaken. We’re going to be shaken. The question is, will we stand for Him through thick and thin? What—other than a relationship of deep love, devotion, and especially commitment—will keep us standing?
So we see that our past and living in the past and being yoked with the past, could cause us to eventually lose out. You can’t stand still in a walk with God. You are either going forward or you are going backwards. When you try to stand still, you lose your balance and fall. We have to do something to move forward. How are we going to do that if we’ve got a yoke tying us down?
A yoke is something that attaches us to something else. Paul, when he speaks about not being unequally yoked with unbelievers, is saying it’s an unequal balance, and it is going to go one way or another. That yoke ties you with that unbeliever or with that situation.
And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. Ezekiel 16:3,4
Here we get into the harlotry of Jerusalem where God is talking through Ezekiel to Jerusalem. God says, “...in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.” Here, He is comparing Israel to a newborn baby. One of the first things that has to be done is to clip the cord for that child. Then you have to nurture by swaddling it. Taking care of it. Wrapping a blanket around it. Cleaning it up. And so He goes on and says, “When I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said Live.... Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.”
And that is what He has done for us, we are His. All my life I wanted to belong to somebody. I wanted to belong somewhere. It’s like I never really belonged anywhere. I remember when I would go to that little Baptist church and hear about Jesus, and I loved that, but I really didn’t feel like I belonged there. I didn’t belong there and I didn’t belong at home. I was in the way all the time there. My mother had me when she was up in years. I was what was called an “accident.” I told this in my book, LORD, WHY AM I CRYING? so will not repeat it here. I always wanted to belong somewhere or to somebody.
I had read a few romance stories. They have a way of stirring up discontent. I would hear things at school about sweethearts, but I didn’t really have a sweetheart at school. And I would say, Oh, I want to belong to somebody. I want one of those class rings around my neck. You know, that meant that somebody would possess me, that I would belong. When I finally came to know Jesus—I became His. I belonged to Him!
And He says that He passed by me and looked upon me and He had pity upon me. He found me in all my filth and He had pity on me. If I had been Jesus and had seen something as dirty as I was and as messy as I was and as bloody, I would have just wanted to pass on by. He gives us the story of the Good Samaritan. He took care of the hurting. And that’s what we need to do. We need to be able to go out into the streets in our town. We need to find those who are wounded, who are bloody, who are stinking, who are decaying and dead. We need to find them and bring them to the house of God, to the hospital of God, where they can be revived, where they can get to know Somebody who can deliver them, Somebody who can pick them up out of that mud, Somebody who loves them, Somebody who is willing to work with them, Somebody who is willing to care. And He said, “thou becamest mine.” Oh, it is beautiful when you belong to somebody!
And then He said, “Then washed I thee with water.” I was baptized in the name of Jesus. I was washed, and my sins were all remitted. They were washed away. When I went to God in repentance and
confessed all my sins, He forgave me, but the sin still had to be washed away. Then when I was baptized in Jesus name, there they went and I was clean. And He said, “Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.” He filled me with the Holy Ghost! He washed me and He filled me with the Holy Ghost. But you see this has to happen, because we just read that this navel was not cut. The Holy Ghost has to cut this navel. Otherwise, what it does is link us, connect us to our past. It connects us to something that should be put away. But so many of us do not put the past away. It is so comfortable. We often choose the old pair of shoes, simply because they’re more comfortable.
So what are we going to do with our yoke? To what are we yoked? I was in bondage to alcohol, prescription drugs, and cigarettes. I was in all kinds of bondage, but now I am free, praise God, and I intend to stay free. I have cut that yoke to my past and I am not hanging on to it. When we receive the Holy Ghost, we are actually receiving the Spirit of Christ. God gives the Holy Ghost to break every yoke that is connecting us to something else. The yokes are broken only when we will totally allow the Holy Ghost to work in us. We need to pray through until the Holy Ghost anointing flows through us and we’re speaking in that other language.
At this point, some could criticize me and say, “Sister Doty, it does not do any good to tell some people to ‘just pray through.’ They need something more than that.” I have to ask, what more can one need than the living God moving and breathing inside of us? In Genesis 2:7, we see that God’s breath caused man to become a living soul. Without His breath we remain as dead. What happens is that people are in a hurry and try to rush God. But if we take the time to pray to our healing Lord, and not rush Him...if we take the time to actually seek His face...if we determine to remain in His presence like Jacob of old, until He blesses us....we will receive what we need from God! In that kind of praying through, we allow God to come inside our secret places with His healing balm and do His work. Because this is what happens: as we pray, and as we seek His face, our focus moves from off ourselves and onto God. That is the position we need to be in to receive from Him. As we have our attention off our pain and onto the Healer, He is free to do all kinds of wondrous works inside our broken hearts.
The apostle Paul instructed in Romans 12:2, “...and be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind...” Paul was writing to the church in Rome. These people already had the Holy Ghost and were baptized in His name. They were already living for God and walking with God. So Paul was telling Spirit- filled Christians that they needed to have their minds renewed. So the lifeline connecting us to the past, has got to be severed if we are to experience that transformation, because that lifeline to the past is causing all kinds of ungodly thinking inside of our mind, because we’re in bondage and somebody in bondage can’t think clearly. I want to be so small, I want to decrease to the point that when they look at me, they don’t see Sister Doty, but they see Him. And when we get to that point, that is when He can do miracles, that is when He can work, that is when He can use you in a way like you have never been used before.
John 12:24 tells us, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.” We have to let some things die, so that other things can be born. Paul talks about mortifying the works of the flesh. Kill it. The violent take Heaven by force. Sometimes we have to be violent, we have to kill it. That corn of wheat, when it falls into the ground, we need to become broken before God. God is not going to break you, unless He can fix you. He is not going to break you, unless He knows that you can handle it. We have to understand that the corn of wheat has to die so that some thing new can be born. And that rose pedal has to be crushed, in order to smell the fragrance. We have to be crushed so that the Holy Ghost can come out of us and minister to others. God is so good. God is an awesome God and a wonderful God and I thank Him from the bottom of my heart, for what He has done for my life.
How so we become decreased? We have to slay our yoke. As Elisha did in 1 Kings 19:19-21. We have to kill that thing. Kill that ox in our life, the thing that we are bound to, the thing we are in bondage to, that thing we are connected to. We have to kill it. We have to decrease so that He can increase, we have to kill that yoke, we have to kill that ox. And we can do it, through the power of the precious Holy Ghost, the Spirit of the living God that dwells within us. --
“It’s time, Church,” Paul was saying in effect, “to get this mind in gear.” Now we have got to get our minds in gear, we have to get
them on godly things and powerful things. So the lifeline connecting us to the past has got to be severed if we are to experience that transformation, because that lifeline to the past is causing all kinds of ungodly thinking, because we’re in bondage and people in bondage can’t think clearly. And now we’re supposed to be out of bondage, because we have come to God, we have His Spirit, we’ve been delivered from a lot of things, and yet a lot of us are still in bondage.
When we are filled with the Holy Ghost, we’re supposed to trade our yoke for another yoke. Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden,” and He says, “ I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.” We are supposed to take His yoke. He says, learn of me. He says, my yoke is easy and my burden is light. We’re all loaded down with this yoke to our past and that thing is so heavy, we can barely move. But Jesus is offering us freedom from the senseless laboring in our past. Laboring under a burden and under a yoke that we are not meant to bear. He offers to us an exchange, our yoke for His. Now is that fair? It is to me, but maybe not to Him. I want to get rid of my yoke. I want to give it to Him in trade for Him. His yoke cares for souls.
We must decrease. How do we decrease self? Psychologists want us to increase self and God says decrease! How so we become decreased? We have to slay our yoke. We have to kill that thing. Kill those oxen in our life, the thing that we are bound to, the thing we are in bondage to, that thing we are connected to that takes the place of Jesus. We have to kill it. We have to decrease so that He can increase.
Let’s go to Isaiah 58, there are a couple of verses there that I think would be helpful to us if we can get that revelation. Isaiah 58, start with verse 3. Let’s find out how we can break this yoke. We are tied and yoked to a past that is dead. We are only keeping it alive in our own hearts. We are forcing it to stay alive. It is like carrying around some thing dead with us. It’s like carrying around a dead carcass and spending all of our time with it. It’s like a loved one that dies and then we bring him home and we put him in a chair and we continue to commune with that dead person and his spirit is already gone and yet we’re tied to that dead person. We cannot begin a new life, because we are all tied up with this dead person.
And it is the same thing, when we’re all tied up to a past that is dead. When our navel has not been cut, it has to be cut. Isaiah 58:3 says, “Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.” And this is the fast. We’re familiar with this verse, when it comes to fasting. We know this verse. It says in verse 6, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” It doesn’t say some yokes, it says every yoke. When we have tried and tried, and we cannot shed that past, and we cannot kill it so that we can move on with God, then we know we are unequally yoked. We are bound to something that is not godly. That yoke must be broken.
Fasting will break every yoke. And these verses tell us that we need to loose those bands that are tightening around us. Sometimes I use to feel like I couldn’t breathe, like I was suffocating, because I was in such bondage. I would try so hard to set myself free. I would say, I’m gonna quit drinking. No more of this, and I would put that bottle away and I would pour it out, I would get rid of a lot of bottles. And I’d go weeks and months, but along would come a crisis and guess what? I couldn’t handle it, the pain was too much. Back into bondage, because I was never freed from it. I was still in bondage. The fasting breaks down the flesh resistance to God. Praying in the spirit allows the anointing to flow through us. Have you ever been around somebody that has got so much Holy Ghost that you feel it when they walk into the room? Jude tells us, “ but ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” When we have the Holy Ghost, we are anointed—but the depth of that anointing, the strength from that anointing—depends on how much we are walking in His spirit. How full of the Holy Ghost we are.
Because a yoke connects us to another thing, we cannot afford to connect to anything except God. Whatever we are connected to is going to control our lives. You don’t see two oxen, when they are connected by the yoke, one going this way and one going that way. They go in the same direction; they are connected by that yoke. Where one goes they both go. And that is the way it is with us, when we are yoked to something, wherever it goes, we go with it. I want to go where God goes. He says to go ye into all the world and preach this gospel to every creature. That’s where I want to go. I want to go into all the world and tell them about Jesus, that He died for me, that He died for them, that they can be free. We cannot afford to be unequally yoked.