Jettison self-centered stubborness; be willing to yield
Have you ever noticed how driving can bring out some things in our character that we really don’t want others to see? In my 28-or-so years of driving experience, I have learned some things about myself as well as human nature in general.
One of the most significant lessons that I have learned is that I do not like to yield to others, and it seems that other drivers have some of the same issues when it comes to this important rule of the road.
Obviously, I am not saying all this to critique our driving, but to examine an attitude that stunts our spiritual growth. As men and women, we do not like to yield our lives to anyone, and unfortunately, that includes our Lord.
One of the blessings of my job is that I get to examine various resources that can help one to get farther down the road in his or her walk with Christ. Like many of you, I enjoy spending time in the Word and often use some other devotional readings to help me focus upon what matters most.
Lately, I have been spending some time with one of my heroes in the Faith, A.W. Tozer. I was introduced to his writings many years ago through my pastor as he sought to disciple me.
So, when I came across a book entitled, Mornings with Tozer, I put in my order and waited for it to arrive. Like My Utmost for His Highest, this book has a daily reading assigned to a particular day during the calendar year.
On a particular Thursday, I read a devotional entitled, “Unwilling to Yield.” As I read the words, the Spirit reminded me of my own self-centered stubbornness.
Tozer writes, “There are millions of men and women with an understanding of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, who are still not willing to receive and commit themselves to Him whom the very angels and stars and rivers receive. They hesitate and they delay because they know God is asking the abdication of their own selfish little kingdom interests. This is the tragedy of mankind, my brethren! We have rejected Him from our lives because we must have our own way.”
Perhaps I am the only person in all of Christendom who sees these words as applying to his life. It could be that I am the only Christ-follower who can become consumed with doing things in the way that seems best to me, rather than submitting to the desires of the One to Whom I have given my life.
In the midst of our walk with Jesus, it is easy to confuse our will with His. After all, we are simply trying to be faithful to the Lord’s call upon our lives. Thus, if we are doing something that seems to be right, then it must be God’s will. Surely God would not have allowed such a desire in our heart if He did not want us to pursue it ,would He?
Before you know it, we begin to engage the Spirit in a debate trying to justify our desires and plans. In essence, we have usurped the throne of our lives and placed ourselves in the seat of power.
Our desire to get our own way trumps whatever the Father wants to do in our lives. We allow our hopes and dreams to become the filter through which we view God’s claim upon our lives.
It is a subtle shift in our allegiance, but it makes a huge difference in the direction that our lives take with respect to God’s design for us.
No wonder Tozer calls this the “great tragedy of mankind.” We could experience all that God has for us, if we would simply yield our lives to His leadership.
Tozer refers to Paul’s admonition to “yield yourselves to God, as those who are alive from the dead” (Rom. 6:13). As I look at my life I wonder just how yielded I am to the One who owns me. After all, the Scriptures also say, “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20).
Unfortunately, this is a truth that many of us conveniently ignore. When we become His child, we are surrendering our rights and privileges to His desires. It is no longer my life.
This is a difficult truth for many of us in the Kingdom to apply to life. Somehow we have bought into the idea that Jesus is willing to be our Savior while allowing us to continue with our lives just as we please.
Hopefully, all of us who claim the name of Jesus will truly begin to yield our lives to the only One Who is worthy. (Mike Cooper is Missouri Baptist Convention’s director of Sunday School / Discipleship.)