“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God...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.”
Romans 6:13, 16
Yield. Give way. It is to allow another first place. It is to give up power, rights and control. Yielding as an instrument means to allow your rights or power to be used by another. Isaiah 10:15 points out that the instrument (axe, saw, rod, staff) has not the power to work without the power of another. I just love that idea. I am nothing more than a tool in His hand, but I have to be willing to yield to His direction!
As born-again, raised from the dead, servants of God we are to yield every member of our body to the use of righteousness. We are to be tools in His hand. We can do nothing of eternal value outside His power. Indeed, we are not even able to enter salvation, much less this greater attitude of sanctification, without the power of one greater.
Christ set the example. Philippians 2 says He humbled himself and became obedient. He yielded His glory and power to the will of the Father for our salvation. This was a conscious choice on His behalf. He did not have to give up his glory, but He chose to lay it aside for the good of others.
Yielding is a choice that we too must make. Without yielded-ness we cannot be fully used of God. We are like a rusty trumpet with valves that can’t be pumped or a frozen lock that won’t yield to a key. We are stubborn and hard. We are un-mouldable clay.
We must not only choose to yield, but we must also choose to whom we will yield. The verse gives us two choices – unto sin or unto obedience. Both hold consequences. The part that has always spoken to me is the phrase, “..to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey…” It shows me that I am not alone in my choice. There are influences vying for my attention. It also shows me that I am the one that makes this choice. God doesn’t force me and Satan cannot make me. I choose my leader. I choose to whom I will yield, and that choice makes me servant unto a master – a tool in his hand.
To whom are you yielding today?
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
It may seem strange, but I really like this verse. The promise is so real to me. Correction is not fun or joyous, but if we yield to it, it will produce peace and rightness in our lives.
For me, growing up brought meant being exercised by chastening many times. It seemed I was always in trouble, always being reprimanded. I used to come home from school expecting my mother to be at the door ready to administer some sort of punishment. It was not fun. It made me a rather nervous child.
But the other side of the coin was the happiness that I knew when I was obedient. When I did choose to follow instruction, or I managed to make a right decision, there was such joy in knowing I had done right. Seeing the happiness on my parent’s faces and feeling that warm satisfaction in my own heart was really good.
God deals with his children in a similar way. He isn’t waiting behind the door with a stick, but He is watching what we do and all the while trying to instruct us in the right way. If we persist in disobedience, then He will administer an appropriate punishment to bring us back into line with His Word and will.
It is a sign of His love that he cares enough about us to teach us obedience. And, it is a wonderful thing to stand before the Heavenly Father and know His smile and feel that warm satisfaction in our hearts when we know we have been obedient.
How about you? Are you obedient? Is God trying to get your attention through some sort of correction? It is better to yield than to rebel.
“And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.”
This is a portion from the Parable of the Sower. The Seed, which is the Word of God, is cast about for every man to hear and with each man there is a response. Here we see the seed cast among thorns. It takes some sort of root in the heart, but the roots of the thorns are so deep that the life of the good seed is choked out.
It yields no fruit in the life of the individual.
As we read in verse nineteen of Mark four, the thorns are representative of the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of our own hearts that actually choke the Word and keep the seed from being fruitful.
How do these thorns choke the seed? First, they demand attention – the cares of the world. There are so many responsibilities in life - children, jobs, marriage and finances. All of these demand our time and unless we are diligent, they will take priority over time in God’s Word.
Second, thorns counterfeit the influence of the truth – deceitfulness of riches. As Satan did with Eve, they make themselves look good, question God’s Word and lull us into a false security. Riches, the Bible says, will take wings and fly away. They cannot be depended upon. They actually obscure our vision, all the while claiming to be the sole end of joy and satisfaction. If we live only for riches, we will come to true poverty.
Third, thorns are overwhelming – the lusts of the heart. The masses on the broad path are walking alongside us every day, and we can be influenced by their mere presence. The secular idea of the world and its constant pursuit for pleasure vexes the soul. It is like always hearing a voice in your ear saying, “You are missing out on the fun by following God. Why not let up a bit and join the party?” Thorns can reduce us to compromise and eventually giving up.
We will yield no fruit if we allow these thorns to overtake us. Good intentions will not take us far enough. There is power in the thorn and we need to live aware.
Are you feeling vexed by the influence of the world? Are you choking? Are you being tempted to yield? To “follow your heart”? What do you need to do to change your situation?
“And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased;
and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.”
The good soil is soft and yielding. It is deep and clean, ready to receive the seed and to allow the roots to grow. The fruit produced is abundant and lasting.
What is the fruit? Initially, it must be the receiving of salvation, and afterward, spiritual results like: obedience, righteousness, holiness, consecration, self-denial, and usefulness. The Fruit of the Spirit is another description: love, joy, peace, temperance, etc. Such fruit is the main proof of spiritual life and growth; it is the natural produce of good soil and good seed.
How does this fruit multiply? First, like the seed, it is hidden in the heart. Then, just as the mystery of the seed, it is the power of life by the action of the Spirit doing the invisible work in the heart.
Spiritual life follows spiritual laws. God appoints the growth; He carries on a heavenly process in the conscience and heart that yields increase. It is a gradual and progressive action where God, like a faithful husbandman, waters every moment and attends each seed with heavenly carefulness. He gives the increase as we yield to His tending.
In time, and by His Spirit, the secret working begins to be seen by all around. Like the life cycle of a plant - our attitudes change, our focus is refined, our usefulness becomes apparent and we are growing in Christ and producing spiritual fruit. Truly…it is a lifelong process.
Are you growing in Christ? Is change and spiritual growth happening in your heart? Is your fruit apparent? Are you yielding to the husbandman?
“But do not thou yield unto them…” Acts 23:21
Paul’s nephew has revealed the murderous plot of the Jews against Paul. Following Paul’s instruction, the young man is brought to the chief captain and he gives warning for the captain to not comply with the request of the Jews, to not yield unto them.
By his bravery, Paul’s life is spared and he is taken by night safely to Antipatris.
This usage of the “yield” means to be persuaded by. Persuasion is a very powerful tool. It can be used for ill or for good. Proverbs records, “With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she seduced him.” (7:21) Here the harlot is using speech to persuade the simple to come into her room – to yield to her. II Corinthians 5:11 states, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” Agrippa said to Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to become a Christian.” Acts 26:28
In each of these examples one person was trying to persuade another toward an action.
We are constantly faced with attempts of persuasion. Satan comes as that little devil on our shoulder whispering in our ears, he tries to feed us persuasive thoughts to sway our motivation and actions. He wants us to yield to his sinful plot. The Holy Spirit comes striving to convince (persuade) us with the truth of the Word. His goal is our yieldedness to God.
The warning is for us to consider who and what is trying to persuade us. What will be the result of yielding? What is the ulterior motive? What are the consequences or cost to our lives?
To whom are you listening? To whom are you yielding?