The Secret Power of Yield
Every once in awhile I have what some call an epiphany, a moment breakthrough when some truth suddenly snaps into much greater clarity within me and I see it in a light that I had only heard was possible before that time.
I believe there may be several factors involved in preparing a person for such a moment. There are many things that are simply too large, too expansive, too profound to be contained in the smallness of the immaturity of my brain which is why most concepts simply cannot fit into my comprehension until I have a number of other more basic beliefs in place.
But in addition to that, it is vital to also understand that these kinds of profound truths can only really have a deep impact on my thinking if they are grasped far deeper at the heart level of my being rather than just as an intellectual appreciation. It is true that a person mostly focused on left brain intellectual pursuits can have exciting breakthroughs and can assemble a large mass of sensible information and arguments and proofs about factual truths. But when the tests of life come to put pressure on my character at deeper levels where morals and relationships happen, then it is seen that all the years of amassed factual truths are helpless to prop up the weak condition of my neglected heart. Like a hollow tree that has lost its heart over years of rot and invasion by bugs, the tree may look very healthy on the outside but may suddenly collapse when a storm bursts upon it.
I have had a growing awareness over the past few years of my need for real heart work in my own life. I grew up with a great deal of head knowledge about religion, facts supposedly true about God and heaven and behavior modification that were supposed to get me in line with 'truth' and 'righteousness'. But I have been discovering lately that all of that preparation and training had almost nothing to do with growing the inner core, of strengthening me at the heart level even though most of the words were correct and the concepts provable from the Word of God.
This morning as I read the devotional for today from My Utmost for His Highest, I had a small epiphany of sorts. As I was reading words that were rather familiar, that I have heard presented in various ways over the years I suddenly saw their deeper meaning in a way that my heart could understand more clearly. For whatever reasons it seems that I now have enough other things in place in my understanding that I can suddenly see much deeper into the real purpose of these truths that has eluded me up to this point.
Here is what I read this morning.
His servants ye are to whom ye obey. (Romans 6:16)
The first thing to do in examining the power that dominates me is to take hold of the unwelcome fact that I am responsible for being thus dominated because I have yielded. If I am a slave to myself, I am to blame for it because at a point away back I yielded myself to myself. Likewise, if I obey God I do so because I have yielded myself to Him.
Yield in childhood to selfishness, and you will find it the most enchaining tyranny on earth. There is no power in the human soul of itself to break the bondage of a disposition formed by yielding. Yield for one second to anything in the nature of lust (remember what lust is: ‘I must have it at once,’ whether it be the lust of the flesh or the lust of the mind), once yield and though you may hate yourself for having yielded, you are a bond-slave to that thing. There is no release in human power at all, but only in the Redemption. You must yield yourself in utter humiliation to the only One Who can break the dominating power, viz., the Lord Jesus Christ. “He hath anointed Me . . . to preach deliverance to the captives.”
We find this out in the most ridiculously small ways—‘Oh, I can give that habit up when I like.’ You cannot, you will find that the habit absolutely dominates you because you yielded to it willingly. It is easy to sing—“He will break every fetter,” and at the same time be living a life of obvious slavery to yourself. Yielding to Jesus will break every form of slavery in any human life. (My Utmost for His Highest: March 14)
I have heard expositions on this theme repeatedly throughout my life but have never really grasped the secret of the power that I now am beginning to see here. I am also seeing how Satan has deceived all of us by convincing us of a counterfeit way of overcoming sin in our lives through effort and struggle and will-power applied in the wrong ways that leaves us exhausted and defeated time and again until we are ready to give up to discouragement. Then when we yield to discouragement we actually exercise the most power tool we have but in the wrong direction and become slaves to depression instead of using this tool to yield ourselves into victory.
It may be easier to observe the first way of how we have become slaves to some evil tendency in our character that has kept us in bondage for much of our life. But it is far more difficult to grasp the enormous but almost mysterious truth that we can just as effectively find deliverance from that slavery by making a similar choice to yield to the only Power that can spring us from that first trap.
What we generally assume from the very first is that to overcome sin in our lives we have to strive and work and resist and fight and struggle to suppress or resist temptation directly. But all of this is exactly the opposite of exercising the most powerful means of deliverance – simply yielding to the opposite of what is enslaving our souls.
I remember an amazing illustration that someone told me years ago that really helps to explain this principle. It was said that during a rodeo a cowboy got seated on the back of a wild bronco in the starting chute ready to gallop out into the arena during the competition. However the very determined horse was intent on resisting everything that was happening to it and put all of its weight into pushing itself against the side of the pen where it pinned the cowboy's leg painfully against the fence. Many of the other hands working around there gathered quickly to try to push the horse away from the fence to free the cowboy's leg but were not strong enough to overcome the great strength of the horse.
But a wise old cowboy sauntered up and said that he could take care of the situation single-handedly much to the disbelief of nearly everyone else standing around there. Instead of trying to overcome the overwhelming strength of the horse by pushing against him harder, he simply walked around to the other side of the chute and reached in with one finger and pushed on the other side of the horse.
Instantly the horse reacted by changing the direction of its pressure to move toward the other side which immediately freed up the cowboy's leg and he was able to get loose. Instead of trying to overcome the impossible difficulty by matching strength with strength, the wise old cowboy knew that the only way to get freedom was to cause the opposing force to change direction.
Though the analogy may not completely explain what I am trying to show here, it helps me to see that far too often we only consider the use of direct force against things that enslave us as the only way to find deliverance from their tyranny in our lives. But in reality we are no match for most of the things that enslave us and when we try to overcome by trying to overcome we find ourselves actually being sucked deeper into the quicksand instead of finding release.
It seems illogical to our mind that to yield ourselves instead of to fight will accomplish far more than trying to resist and struggle and seek to escape the powers that dominate our lives. But what is becoming more clear to me today is that the best way to find real freedom is to yield to an opposite power outside of ourselves, especially because it is at the heart level that we need the true freedom and it is at the heart level where the real chains are in place.
Our minds find this baffling and confusing because of the deceptive ways we have been taught all of our lives. We usually assume that what appears to be the most direct route to freedom is the one we must take and we throw all sorts of efforts into struggling our way to freedom. But our supernatural captors are fully expecting us to do this and have all sorts of ways of preventing our escape. They are also much stronger and smarter than we are and are so cunning and deceptive that we will never be able to match their ability to keep us in bondage.
Becoming an overcomer as described in the Bible is not what most of us assume it is. An overcomer is not one who has worked up enough will-power or knowledge or resistance to overcome the supernatural power of the enemy that holds us in bondage to various sins in our lives. Not even repeatedly soliciting God's help to deliver us will necessarily prove effective no matter how strongly we plead with Him for assistance. This just leads us to doubt His power to save us because we are trying to mingle human effort with supernatural power to achieve our own deliverance. But God is not interested in sharing the credit with us for our achievements and victories and will not assist our efforts to free ourselves from slavery. He has a much better way and that way is through a re-yielding of our rights to a different Master. We have to surrender to become His slaves.
You must yield yourself in utter humiliation to the only One Who can break the dominating power....
All through his writings Oswald Chambers hammers this theme home in various ways. He repeatedly talks about our need to yield our right to ourselves to God and to allow Him full access to our lives. It seems so hard for us to grasp the real power available to us that can only be accessed by yielding instead of striving. In theory we can sometimes feel like we understand it, but when it comes to actual practice we still often feel stymied in just how to make it actually work in our own situations.
What is really important in my opinion is to learn these principles and to apply them in the small details of everyday living so as to learn how they really work and then take what I am learning and reapply it to more difficult circumstances. That has been happening to me over the past few years and I can see its effectiveness in helping me to find much more freedom and peace in my life.
I find it easier now to react in difficult circumstances when I remember to turn over my fears and stress and confusion to Jesus immediately instead of trying to figure things out for myself even with His help. I have been learning for a long time that God is not nearly so interested in helping me than He is in living within me and accepting all the flak and temptations that assault me if I will turn them over to Him instantly. This exercise of yielding instead of fighting and resisting has an amazing effect to transform my life in ways that striving to overcome never could accomplish before.
Father, keep me resting and trusting and yielding to You instead of trying to resist and overcome myself. Dwell in me today and fill me with Your victories and Your resurrection power for Your glory.