Not so long ago, I was having a conversation with a brother who I have considered to be somewhat of a non-conformist. By that I mean, the church circles in which I usually circulate has a certain culture that tends to have its subscribers and those eager to fit in with the status quo. It works for them. Wear the suit, say the appropriate words, don’t rock any boats, don’t challenge any unbiblical practices that we have raised to biblical standards. This brother respectfully does not conform with all that. I do mean respectfully. He adapts to the surroundings, but doesn’t drink the Kool-Aid to adopt a saying I enjoy.
In any case, I was talking to this brother and we were exchanging fascinating words. I was making a big deal of the word ‘behold’ – as you know, it’s an awesome word, got a lot of time for it.
Meanwhile my brother humbly and with great awe presented the word ‘yield’. He shared how he saw a sign about it in America and was impressed by its usage and double meaning. It was very interesting hearing this brother submit his own reasons for finding this a word of such fascination. I listened to him keenly, then left it there.
Later on, I was sharing with some friends a situation I was going through and reflecting on the journey of life I had made to this point. As I reflected on it, I noticed just how prevalent the word yield was to my situation.
There was yield in the sense of what I produced when grounded in Christ. Whether in relationships and conversations or in training sessions and the things I wrote, there was a substantial amount that was produce – that reflected that Christ connection.
Yet for what I yielded in that sense, there was also the matter of coming to a crossroads in my relationship with God, where He would challenge me to yield to Him – give up something I considered good, or something I considered important, give up in wrestling with Him on it and give up to Him. Give way to Him. However well I thought I was doing, there was plenty more that I would have to give up and give way to Him on a matter. The greater the achievement, the more successful the time of produce, the more pressing the need to give up in an area of my life.
Some want to give the impression that to yield to God is a delight, a pleasure and something done without hesitation or reservation. I am not part of that ‘some’. There’s a reason why it’s called a ‘stronghold’ and that reason is because whatever it is has a strong hold on you. It presents itself as mighty and at times impregnable and something you can wholeheartedly rely on. So to give that up, to give way to God on that matter is not always an easy or delightful activity. Especially when you convince yourself it’s very good or very important.
God won’t prise it out of your fingers. God insists that it is something I have to give up. Does that take dying to self? Yep. Does that take agonising at times? Sure does. Does that take some help? Certainly. It is, however, something I must do. For in not doing so, I eventually miss out. Others may be blessed with whatever I produce, but I will never appreciate the fruit of my labours because of my strong hold on that which God told me to give up.
So how it’s worked in times past is that God will patiently remind me of what I should consider to be the pearl of great price. He asks me what is of the greatest value in my life? Gifts, skills, talents and abilities? The applause and acknowledgement of others? Comfortable and familiar routines and relationships? Material goods? Enjoyable pastimes and pursuits? Or the lifelong searching after and walking with the Lord? Which is it?
He knows that it’s not my words that will convince, it’s the fruit I produce in thought and deed. That will prove it. Time and again. Eventually I catch up with His point and faced with the question of what I value, I remember Calvary, I remember the nail scars, I remember Creation, I remember the glory displayed, I remember the summer of 1993 when His light shined on me, I remember the Renaissance of 2006 where He reignited me by the passion I had for Christ alone. I remember Him by my side in the darkness of 2012. I remember His goodness, kindness, grace and mercy down through the years. I remember how He rescued me from the pit of despair, dejection and depression. I remember how He lifted me from rejection and neglect. I remember His call on my life and His indwelling Spirit given to remind me of my identity in Christ. I remember His Word. I remember His promises. I remember His presence, contact, engagement and intentional intimacy with me.
In remembering these things, I recognise the far surpassing worth of knowing Him – and I yield.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden