What is the true disciple’s attitude of the heart in relating to our God?
We have often used the term, “yielding” to describe our attitude regarding the new life of Christ in us by His Holy Spirit. The translators of the New Testament use a variety of terms that convey this understanding of yielding. Yielding is a term that represents several related constructs in the scriptures.
- Presenting oneself to God, from the same Greek word translated “yielding.”
- Denying oneself
- Emptying oneself
- Seeking after God in all of life
- Abiding in continual connection to Christ
- Walking by the Spirit
- Losing one’s life
By whatever term we use, these constructs represent an attitude on our part, a habit of mind and response to the life of our God already within us. We do not gain Christ by yielding; Christ gains functional, moment-by-moment control over us as we yield to Him. We do not become united with God by yielding; our union with God is unfettered by the flesh with our continual emptying of our self-living.
This yielding is necessary because the scriptures teach that just as it is with our love for God, yielding to Him represents a daily habit of mind and way of being. Yielding as a habit of mind and way of being is the way in which we live daily by the life of Christ indwelling us.
Without yielding we cannot respond appropriately to our God’s life and initiatives in us. Though we are redeemed by the blood of Christ, joined into union by faith in Christ, and in Christ put to death regarding the Law, we are still living in the flesh. As Paul stated, “I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully agree with the law of God in the inner person, but I see a different law in the parts of my body waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin, the law which is in my body’s parts” (Romans 7:21-23).
We have a cooperating role with the Holy Spirit in the death of our self-life, that self-centered and rebellious life we all inherited from Adam’s rebellion. It is our God’s work to put self-life to death, and ours to cooperate with His work. Our cooperation is expressed by a life yielded to Him.
Love for our God is our motivation for our yielding to Him. This is why loving our God is the greatest of all the commands our God has ever given to us. Love and self are antithetical concepts, and oppose each other. Maintaining an attitude of yielding to our God will form the foundation for fulfillment of the great commandment to love Him. Our love for Him will energize our yielding as well. And by these two habits of mind we will come into the fullness of the life of our God in us.
Yet there are some who will say that the practice of yielding is not something we need to pursue or even that we should pursue. Such a view flies in the face of the New Testament teachings on yielding and surrender to the Spirit of Christ. That we have a cooperative role with the Spirit is crystal clear in the scriptures, just as we have a cooperative role in loving our God. Look for the the next post on the topic of our new heart, “The New Life is a Yielded Life.”
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