Being Intentional About Yielding

Like the clay in the potter’s hands, we need to be pliable and yielded in life as we respond to the Lord.

The month of February is coming to an end and as it does I am ending my exploration of yielding. I never realized how much there is to think about in terms of yielding in my life. And now putting it into practice with intentionality is the next step.

Yielding is a choice in life, so each one of us come to a crossroad and must decide which way to go. Will it be my way or the Lord’s?

Here is a quick summary. Six ways to be intentional about yielding to Him:

1. Remember Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding, In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.”  Seek Him in the decision-making process. When we take time to seek Him, acknowledge His sovereignty, and look for His direction, we can’t make impulsive decisions. Our decision-making process is slowed down. We learn to wait for Him and His wisdom.

2. Be aware of thoughts and self-talk. We need to evaluate the things that have a home in our minds and what we allow to come into our mind. Consider using Philippians 4:8 as a tool for thought inventory. Philippians 4:8 EXB says, “[Finally, In conclusion; or Now then] Brothers and sisters, think about [focus your thoughts on; fill your minds with] things that are true and honorable and right [just] and pure and beautiful [lovely] and respected [commendable]. If there is anything that is good [morally excellent] and worthy of praise, think about [focus your thoughts on, fill your minds with] these things.”

3. When our tongues are ready to burst forth with fiery words remember: Stop, Drop, and Roll.

  • Stop the words from leaving by putting a finger over your lips.
  • Drop that word. Think about what it would do, how it would affect the person receiving it.
  • Roll the intolerance or frustration over to the Lord. Ask Him to bring His peace to the situation.

4. As we go through our days, we can choose to

  • Abide in the Lord’s presence
  • Attend to His Spirit’s leading
  • Abandon our need for acknowledgement so He gets all of the glory  
  • Be Available to His call so His purposes can be fulfilled.

5. Take time to pray for the Lord’s transforming power to be at work in us.

6. Finally, remember to be the clay. That means developing a new willingness to be molded in Christ-likeness for His glory. Our goal is to be pliable to what He wants to do in and through us.

Take some time now to think and pray about which one you will start with to help you in yielding with intentionality.

Yield to His Will

“God is ready to assume full responsibility for this life wholly yielded to Him.” Andrew Murray

Isaiah 45:9 “Woe to the one who quarrels with his maker. An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth. Will the clay say to the Potter what are you doing?’ or the thing you are making say “He has no hands?'”

Quarreling with my Maker? I want to say I can’t imagine doing that, yet I am reminded of specific times I have done just that even now as I write this. There have been times I have questioned God, telling Him I didn’t like what He was doing, arguing that I had a better way. And there have been times when I gave just stubbornly dug my heels in  wanting my own way. I fussed and fought against Him, truly as if the clay could tell the Potter what to do. It is at those times that I needed to set aside my own will and yield fully to His hands. 

The Potter knows the purpose He has for His creations. The clay is nothing without the work of the Potter. But, how easily we forget.

Yielding our wills to Him, relinquishing our ways, surrendering our plans, and submitting fully to Him is tough. We need to trust in Him and His ways even when they seem to go against everything we think is best.

The Lord desires to show His power through us that He might be glorified in us and by others who see His work. Yet we, the earthen vessels, wonder ‘what are You doing?’, ‘why would You allow that?’, ‘How can that be good?’

Absurd as it may seem, we, the clay, do argue with the Potter. We argue and argue until He proves himself faithful in that thing, at least that is what I have found in myself.

How many times have you gone through the molding process painful and difficult, questioning all the way only to come out on the other side seeing the reality of God’s wisdom at work  and marveling at how He has been glorified because of what He accomplished in you or through your life? It always amazes me.

He knows His perfect plan, He knows what it will look like, and how it will be used. He works patiently and lovingly in our lives drawing us to respond to His touch, wanting us to welcome His work in and through us. He knows if we just would let Him work without us struggling or fighting the process could be so much different. But somehow it seem in fear in worry and in stubbornness, we fight.

I am always surprised in the end when I see how His work in my life transforms me, satisfies me, and brings Him glory.

Philippians 2:12 “It is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

He wants to bring about good, to fulfill His will through us. When we trust Him, yield to Him, letting Him have His way it pleases Him. Just as when the little children in our lives listen and behave as they have been taught, we too are pleased.

I am finding it necessary in my own life to come before Him in prayer with some soul-searching questions. I will share them here. You may find them helpful in your own prayer time with the Lord.

  • Am I resisting Your touch in my life? Am I pliable to your molding me?
  • Am I resting in Your hands as You form me for Your purposes?
  • Where am I in the yielding process right now, Lord?
  • Am I willing to allow you to assume full responsibility for my life.

Lord, show me, tell me, help me be honest with myself, and help me yield to Your will in all things. Change my heart and will to match Yours, Lord. I pray this in Jesus Holy matchless name.

Yielding in Prayer

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Do you have an attitude of entitlement when it comes to what God does for you, gives to you, and how He works in your life?

Do you think the Lord should do things in a particular way for you?

Do you tell God how to answer your prayers?

I find myself answering varying degrees of yes to each of these questions. How about you?

It makes me cringe to think that I come before God, the Creator of the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s, and act as if I deserve anything or as if He owes me answers to my prayers.

Prayer, communication with the Lord, and fellowship come to us at great cost. We wouldn’t have these privileges apart from the work Jesus did for us on the cross. His death and resurrection gives us access to our Heavenly Father as we accept Jesus as our Savior, the One who took away our sins so that He might present us before the Father in His righteousness.

So Hebrews 4:16 isn’t saying we can come to God demanding our desires and wants. Rather it is saying, come boldly, robed in Christ’s righteousness, knowing that you have access to God, your Heavenly Father. Come boldly knowing that He will have mercy on you and out of the graciousness of His heart He will meet you in your neediness.

The Lord desires us to come as a child comes to his father. He wants us to come:

  • to tell Him what we need
  • to ask for help
  • to seek Him for wisdom
  • to find rest in Him
  • to be rooted in His love
  • to know contentment in His presence and in knowing His presence. He never leaves us.
  • totally dependent on Him, knowing His sufficiency is available

The Lord is omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful). He is love. How can we think that He, in His perfect love, would not do what is best for us? How can we think we need to advise Him or manipulate HIm?

But how do we yield in prayer? The transformation occurs in and through our time in His Word, in His presence, and through knowing His magnificent love for us.

Gradually our hearts transform, through the sanctification process, growing from:

  • impatient to more patient
  • mean-spirited to kind
  • boastful to humble
  • self-serving to honoring others
  • easily provoke to calm spirited
  • delighting in evil to rejoicing in Truth

Gradually throughout life, as we grow in relationship with the Lord, we grow in Christ-likeness.

Like a daisy that changes from white to pink as it drinks in the rose-colored water, we too are transformed as we are infused with Christ and His truths.

We grow in Christ-likeness and are transformed. It is through this transformation our hearts are changed by Him. It is then we learn to submit, we learn to yield to Him in our prayers. We begin praying for what is important to Him.

What are you praying for?

Have you asked the Lord what He desires regarding that prayer?

Is your heart growing in yielding to Him in prayer?

Think about these questions. Talk with the Lord about where you are in the process of yielding to the Lord in prayer.

Lord, help each one of us to open our hearts up to You as we pray. Lead us in yielding to You. Lead us Lord, in each cry of our heart, as we pray to You. Hold us in Your love as we patiently wait for Your perfect answer. Amen.

Four Choices Important to Yielding to Him

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the LORD, whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Romans 12:2  “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may be evidence of the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Integrity. It is a word that doesn’t seem to matter much in our world anymore. Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles” (Merriam Webster).

Our lives as Christian should be about integrity and obedience to God and His Word. Our insides and outsides should match. If we say we are Christians we should live in Christ-likeness.

Matthew 15:8 describes hypocrites as those who honor the Lord with their lips but their hearts are far from Him. This is also said in Isaiah 29:13 regarding the Israelites. I think if each of us would look at our lives, we too could find how we at times live as hypocrites as well. We say or think one thing and do just the opposite.

We can’t just say we are Christians, there needs to be some evidence in our lives. When we yield to the Lord in the way we live out our days we will reflect Christ-likeness. Jesus yielded all of His life to the Father even unto death on the cross.

We have a choice moment-by-moment. We can live life for ourselves, our own wishes, wants, and desires, doing our own thing. Or we can live for the Lord, living a life pleasing to Him.

We often think we know what is best and then move through life without consulting Him. But, that being said, if we are honest with ourselves we know that is not how we are to live and more often than not, it does not end up being the best thing. So how do we change?

We have choices in this life, we have a freewill. The four choices I am about to share can help each one of us in growing in the area of yielding. These are choices that we can learn to cultivate as we go through our days. They will take time and practice.

1. Choose to Abide– We need to open our hearts to His presence and remain with Him throughout our days. He is the Vine, and we are the branches. As we abide He is connected to us and us to Him.  He moves through our days with us and give us the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding for all that comes our way.

2. Choose to Attend- We need to still our minds to hear Him. When we attend to something or someone, our focus is on the thing or that person. Life’s busyness often keeps us distracted. It is so easy to lose sight of the Lord and miss what He has for us. Our spirits need to be attentive to His leading as we go through our days. He pricks our hearts to touch another person’s life with love when it naturally would not even cross our minds. He knows the big picture, He knows the effect. He knows the outcome and how it may grow His Kingdom.

3. Choose to Abandon– We need to abandon all to Him, but we especially need to release our personal desires for attention, and for acknowledgment, so that we can seek to desire that He alone is glorified. It’s all about Him, not all about me. This is such a hard lesson to learn. We want to be acknowledged for our work, for our ideas, we fight to get the recognition to make us feel good, or worthwhile. It seems like a hard lesson to learn to realize that all that really matters is the Lord. It does not come naturally to think that this life is all about accomplishing His will for His glory. It is hard to get self out of the way.

4. Choose to be Available– We need to let go of our agendas and be ready to act when He calls upon us. We can accomplish so much for the kingdom by being available to the Lord. We may think we are doing the Lord a favor by trying to grow a big, effective program on our own, but that may not be true if is not what the Lord wants, if it is not fulfilling His purposes. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Each of these choices lend themselves to helping us to practice yielding our lives to God.

And, although, I know in my heart that I want to live out each of these choices daily in my life, I also know that none of these come naturally or easily. I need to pray for help so that I may grow in doing each of these. I need to ask myself these questions as I go through my day: 

  • Am I choosing to abide in the Lord in this moment? Or am I trying to make my own way?
  • Am I choosing to attend the Spirit’s leading, to the whisper of His windwords? Or is the noise of the world shutting Him out?
  • Am I choosing to abandon my need to get the praise and accolades and seeking to give Him all the glory? Or is this all about me and what I can get for me?
  • Am I choosing to be available to Him as I go through my day? When I feel the Holy Spirit nudge me am I willing to drop my agenda and move according to His leading? Or is what I am doing more important to me?

Learning to yield, living a yielding life, is a constant challenge for as long as we are in this flesh.

Romans 7:8 tells us “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is in my flesh, for I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”

Every action begins with an attitude, with a choice, how will you go through your day? What will you choose? Will it be your own desires or yielding to Him in all you do?

Yield Your Tongue

“I can’t believe I said that, I never meant to hurt her.”

“I never would have told him that if I would have known he would respond like that.”

“What can I do now? I can’t take the words back.”

The book of James tell us that our tongues are untamable. The tongue is beyond our control. Our words can be so hurtful and can damage whether they are intentional or unintentional. We say things that never should be said. But, no matter how hard we try, words of frustration, anger, and resentment seem to blurt out.

James 3:8 says, “But no human can tame the tongue, it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

Our only hope is to yield our tongues to the Spirit’s power. It is only as we yield our tongues that we can be empowered to speak words of peace and healing to those we love and to those we come in contact with. We need to allow God to control what we cannot control.

Romans 6:13 tells us “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument to righteousness.”

How many times during the day does frustration get the best of you? How often does someone make you angry? Maybe it is the driver who pulls out in front of you. Or maybe it is your teenage son who doesn’t show you any respect. All too quickly and easily we speak unkindly, become rude, or exclaim words filled with hateful anger. Our tempers flare and get the best of us. The pressure builds until we explode unexpectedly over a trivial matter. Our words come from our tongues like fire and burn those around us.

Fire safety is a very important part of the curriculum in the elementary schools. Many children are afraid of the firemen in their uniform and mask. Children will often hide when a fireman comes in the home to rescue them. During fire safety week, we would have a fire fighter visit the school to show all of their gear and talk with the children to help them become acquainted.

The firefighter would always talk to the children about what to do if fire would get on their clothes. He would teach them “Stop, Drop, and Roll,” explaining to them that doing this would help keep the fire from spreading. There would be a time for volunteers to come up and demonstrate how to do this. Then, later, in the classroom we would have the children practice “Stop, Drop, and Roll” so everyone would have a turn.

When our tongues catch on fire with angry words, we too can practice Stop, Drop, and Roll.

1. STOP– Stop and put your finger over your mouth, hold your lips closed to keep the fire from spreading.

2. DROP– Drop the word(s), tell yourself, “I am not going to say that. It is (hurtful, cruel, mean…  fill in the blank)”.

3. ROLL– Roll the intolerance and frustration over to God, give it to Him. Yield to His way of peace and ask Him to deal with the situation according to His perfect wisdom.

Try it, practice Stop, Drop, and Roll next time a fiery word starts to burst from your mouth. Begin today to pray that the Lord will help you to honor Him with your words. Use Psalm 19:14 as your prayer.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

Tell the Lord that you desire to yield your tongue to Him. He will answer a prayer like that because it is His will.

Ephesians 4:29 ESV “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Words of grace, words of peace, words of love, words of compassion, and words of honor are what should come from our lips.

Lord, we yield to You. We are not able to control our tongues. Empower us to use our tongues for Your glory. Help us Lord we pray. Amen. 

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Yield Your Mind

Health and wellness are very important topics, especially at the beginning of a new year. Many people are all hyped up about eating well and working out. There is much talk about losing inches, losing pounds, and throwing away sugar-laden foods. Our physical health is of utmost importance. Our bodies are the temple of God.

But, as much as we are to care well for our bodies, the Lord is just as concerned with our minds. 

Ask yourself these question:

  • What am I feeding my mind?
  • Is my mind filled with unhealthy thoughts?
  • Does anything need to be thrown out?

Romans 8:16 says “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Do you have life and peace?

Setting the mind on the flesh is to be carnal minded, to follow the inclinations of the flesh as a gateway to sin.

Whereas to set the mind on the Spirit is to “cultivate the graces of the Spirit and to submit to his influence. To be Spirit-minded is to seek those feelings and views which the Holy Spirit produces and follow His leadings.” (Studylight.org- Albert Barnes commentary public domain)

Our minds as Christian, belong to the Lord. We have been blood-bought. The Apostle Paul knew the human mind and the struggles of this life. He knew the importance of having a mind that honored the Lord and one that was Spirit-controlled. He says “I am destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.” 2 Corinthian s 10:5a

Paul’s words emphasize the importance of checking our thoughts against the knowledge of God. I came up with a few questions for us to use as we consider what is going on in our minds:

  1. Is this thought truth? Or am I bring duped by the Devil with a lie? Does it measure up to the plumb-line of what God’s Word says?
  2. Does it honor the Lord?
  3. Does this thought adhere to God judgment? Will it lead to making a choice considered to be righteous?
  4. Will moving forward with this edify others? Does it build up or tear down?
  5. Am I using this idea to seek my own advance apart from seeking to bring glory to God?

Paul goes on to say “I am taking every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthian s 10:5b

We, like Paul, need to imprison each thought and lay it at the feet of Jesus, subjecting all to the obedience of Christ. I like the word “imprison,” I think it gives us a good word-picture. Think of it this way, it would mean taking our thoughts and putting them in a place where they can’t move on until we know that they measure up. How different our minds would be and the thoughts that travel through, if we yielded them to God, if they were under Spirit-control!

Philippians 4:8 tells us specifically what we should be thinking about. Our minds should be filled with what is true, with goodness, rightness, purity, loveliness, with things that are admirable, and with anything that is excellent or praiseworthy.

I don’t know about you, but if I had to take inventory for a day and see how many thoughts fit in those categories, I would find many that would not belong. So many negative thoughts go through our minds, whether the words are self-talk or thoughts in response to what someone else says or does.

Choosing to yield our minds to the Lord may mean we stop and evaluate our thoughts, considering what is not pleasing to Him. Replacing a lie with a scriptural truth, turning a worry into a prayer, or stopping to ask forgiveness for a sinful or prideful thought.

Our minds are a clutter with so many thoughts. Maybe as we get our bodies in shape, this would also  be a good time to take inventory of what our thoughts are. What could be more important than to seek to exercise ways to grow in holiness as we yield to the Lord? How will you begin?

Yielding Begins in Your Heart

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Our intent in living life by faith as a Christian should lead us to yielding to Christ living through us.

When we yield, we surrender our rights to God and also submit in seeking Him and His ways. Jeremiah 29:13 tells us that when we seek Him wholeheartedly we will find Him. So it seems that if we really want Him in our lives we need to look at our hearts. Yielding starts with the heart and the intent of our hearts.

I believe that yielding begins with trust. For example, when you are in need of surgery, you probably won’t randomly pick a name out of the phone book in order to find a surgeon. Most likely, you will want to find the best surgeon to perform your surgery.

You will probably try to find out about a few surgeons before making a decision. you may find out about the surgeons reputation, read reviews, get information about how often he has completed the surgery, and may even discuss previous surgeries with patients who are acquainted with him.

Each of these factors builds your trust in the surgeon and in his abiity. After you meet with him, learn his bedside manner, and feel comfortable with him, you probably will decide to move forward in having the surgery because he seems trustworthy and capable.

Our yielding to God is similar.

I see Proverbs 3:5-6 as a path to yielding.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding, In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.”

We need to first learn to trust, specifically to trust Him as Lord.

  • We read His Word and see His faithfulness to His people throughout the Bible.
  • We pray and see His faithfulness in answering us and meeting our needs.
  • We talk with other believers, learning about their experiences with a loving, personal God.

All of these result in building our faith and growing our trust.

We seek Him for His views, perceptions and judgments of each situation and need in our lives. Little by little we let go of relying on our thoughts and understanding alone as a basis for our decision making.

We acknowledge Him in every part of life.

  • We recognize His Sovereignty (authority and control) and His omniscience (knowing all).
  • We begin letting go (yielding) our need for personal independence, (self-sufficiency) and our grip on being in control.

At last, we look for His leading and direction in life and learn to respond to Him with obedient submission (yielding).

It is a lifetime process, a continual process that we grow in, as we grow in Christ-likeness. None of us have arrived. All of us need the Lord more than we know and often more than we admit. It is in recognizing our dependence on Him that little-by-little we see the importance of yielding to Him in heart and throughout life.

Lord, help us to grow more and more in trusting You, that we may yield with our whole hearts.