In Eph 5:17 to know the will of God we must be yielded to God, His Word, and His Holy Spirit.
Rom 6:13, “And do not go on presenting (yielding) the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present (yield) yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
The word for “presenting” and “present” is the Verb PARISTEMI, παρίστημι,. It come from the Preposition PARA that means, “beside,” and the Verb HISTEMI that means, “to place or stand.” Combined it meant, “cause to stand, place beside or present.” In addition it was used for, “put at someone’s disposal, yield, offer, provide, etc.” In this passage and doctrine, it carries the meaning of “put at someone’s disposal, present,” and therefore, “yield to someone or something in your life.”
The concept of the “yielded life” in both the positive and negative sense is noted in Rom 6:16; 19; 12:1; 2 Cor 5:14ff; 1 Peter 2:24.
“Yield,” in the English language, has many different meanings. The term “yield” means, “to stop resisting,” that is, to stop opposing or resisting and agree to somebody’s demands or requests. It means, “to surrender,” to admit defeat. It means, “to give something up to somebody else or allow somebody else to take it over.” It means, “to produce something naturally or as a result of cultivation, work, activity, or calculation.” It also means, “to gain an amount as a return on an investment.”
The most familiar analogy that we have regarding “yielding” today, is the red triangle signs we see on roads, highways, or freeways when we need to merger with other traffic. If you have the yield sign, it means you do not have the right of way, and must wait on the timing of others, and then follow in behind them. That is the concept of yielding to God. We recognize that we do not have the “right of way” in our lives and must wait on God and His timing, and then follow His leading and guiding ministry. This is accomplished when we have the Word in our souls and remain filled with the Holy Spirit, as well as humbling ourselves to know and walk in God’s will for our lives. We yield to the sovereignty and wisdom of God to determine the courses of our life.
Therefore, in this doctrine, and the passages we will note, it is talking about the aspect of giving way to someone else. That someone else for the believer is God, His Word, and the Holy Spirit, by being filled with Him, as we will note in Eph 5:18. In this regard, yield, yielding, or yieldedness means, “to stop resisting or opposing God and agree with Him, to surrender our lives to His leading, to give ourselves over to the filling of the Holy Spirit and let Him take control of our lives, to replace the Old Man nature with the New Man nature that is empowered by the Holy Spirit, and to let the Holy Spirit take the reigns of your life so that there is profit and gain called Divine Good Production or the Fruit of the Spirit or Light.
To yield to God means to give way to His power, love, and wisdom for our lives. It means to allow Him to design and execute the position and effectiveness of our life, as He alone can do this. As we noted in the Doctrine of God’s Will, of all the numberless paths in which we could walk, He alone knows which is best, and He alone has the power to place our feet in that path and to keep them there. He alone has love for us that will never cease to prompt Him to do for us all that is in His wisdom, power, and love to do. If we yield to God’s will, we will be blessed by His love, power, and wisdom.
As a result of the fall of Adam, man received an independent human will toward God along with a sinful nature. Yet, even with that free will and sin nature now in man, we were originally designed by God to conform to His nature. We achieve harmony with His nature, when we are yielded to His Divine will.
We cannot be rightly adjusted to God or be spiritual, until we are yielded to the mind and will of God that includes being filled with the Holy Spirit during this Church Age we are in. Therefore, our daily lives will be helpless and a failure apart from yielding to God’s will through the leading ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Rom 12:1 says, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual (reasonable – LOGIKOS), service of worship.”
When we fully dedicate our lives and bodies to be a “living sacrifice,” it is the “reasonable service” God is looking for, and is the first most important issue in the life of the child of God.
The words “I urged you” are far from being a command. They are a pleading for that manner of life which becomes the children of God. It is not something that we must do to be saved: it is something we should do because we are saved.
This is the appeal from God for the manner of life that becomes one who has been saved from the guilt of sin and for whom salvation has been provided from the power of sin. With the issue of sin and salvation taken care of, God now looks for an ongoing daily relationship with His children, which is only accomplished through the yielded life.
Rom 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
This is an exhortation for dedication of the whole body as a living sacrifice. It is a call for self-dedication to whatsoever God may choose for us, now, or ever. It occurs when we are not conformed to this world but when we are transfigured by the filling of the Holy Spirit and the renewing of our minds through the intake and application of Bible Doctrine. When we are yielded to God in this way, we will show our lives to be “good, and acceptable, and perfect,” inside the will of God.
James 3:17, NKJV, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield (reasonable – NASB), full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”
“Yield” here is the Adjective, EUPEITHĒS εὐπειθής that means, “obedient, compliant.” The force of this adjective includes the sense of “agreeability.” It is more than mere acquiescence. Vine says it comes from EU, “well,” and PEITHOMAI, “to obey,” and indicates a “readiness to obey” (Expository Dictionary, “Intreat”). James used it to describe the availability and attributes of the “wisdom that is from above”
Romans 6:16-19, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present (YIELD) your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in (experiential) sanctification.”
Three Principles of Yieldedness.
1. Yieldedness to the will of God implies first of all, yieldedness to the Word of God and the standards of moral excellence, which are set forth in the Scriptures.
However, many issues we face are not taught explicitly in the Bible.
2. Therefore, the second principle of yieldedness is there must be yieldedness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to the individual to provide guidance in these matters. That is, His purpose is to apply the general principles of the Bible to the particular issue which is facing the individual. Yieldedness to the Holy Spirit begins with the confession of our sins post-salvation after any sin we have committed, 1 John 1:9, which results in fellowship with God, and “being filled with the Spirit,” Eph 5:18. Then we are in a position to be guided by the Spirit in application of Bible Doctrine resident within our soul. The Holy Spirit is the supreme Teacher, and as truth becomes known, a believer must yield to the truth as he understands it. Refusal to submit to the Word of God renders the filling of the Spirit impossible.
Rom 8:14, “…those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
In some cases the Spirit may command a Christian to “do” something and on other occasions may “forbid” him to follow a course of action. An illustration is the experience of Paul, who was forbidden to preach the Gospel in Asia and Bithynia early in his ministry and later was instructed to go to these very areas to preach, Acts 16:6-7; 19:10. The fullness of the Spirit involves following the guidance of the Lord.
3. In addition to being yielded to the Word of God and to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, yieldedness implies adjustment to the providential acts of God, whether it be of the nature of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” or anything else which might prompt rebellion against God’s dealings with His child. Accordingly, a believer must understand what it is to be submissive to the will of God, even though it involves suffering and paths that in themselves are not pleasant.
Therefore, the believer must be willing to accept Divinely appointed situations, although he is still free to pray and ask God to change them. The role of the Spirit in comforting the believer is often related to providential situations in which, contrary to the believer’s own desire, God is fulfilling His purpose in providing a means and context for life, which ordinarily would not be the situation of human choosing.
Christ is the Pattern for the Yielded Life.
2 Cor 5:15, “And He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”
One of the human perfections of the Lord Jesus was His complete yieldedness to the will of His Father, Heb 10:5-7, Luke 22:42.
Heb 10:5-7, “Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for me; 6in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure. 7then I said, ‘behold, I have come (in the roll of the book it is written of me) to do your will, O God.'” Cf. Psa 40:6-8.
Luke 22:42, “Jesus saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done’.”
The absolute yieldedness of the Son to do the Father’s will is the supreme example of a normal attitude of a child of God toward his Father. This same attitude is imparted and maintained in the believer’s heart by the Word and Spirit, after the first act of dedication has been accomplished, (i.e., faith for salvation). But if the believer is not yielding to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit cannot impart and maintain that attitude in him.
That is why we are commanded in Phil 2:5 to, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.”
“Have this,” compresses all the teaching in the Bible into one principle concerning the believer’s responsibility toward the possible manifestation of Christ in our daily lives by means of the filling of the Holy Spirit. We could not produce such a manifestation, but we can let it be done in us by Another.
This does not come from “resolving to do anything,” it is rather that of an attitude of willingness that Another may do according to all of His blessed will for us and through us. This is the attitude of a servant’s heart.
Phil 2:7-9, “But emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.”
Phil 2:5-9 is not given to us so that we can merely be at awe of Jesus Christ, but it is given so that we are fully aware of what is to be reproduced in us and what we are to let Him do in us and through us.
Yielding is the Sacrificial Life.
The highest motive for yielding to the will of God is not the mere desire for victory in life, or for power, or blessing. It is that we may live the sacrificial life which is the Christ life. Sacrificial does not mean painful; it is simply doing Another’s will. Some pain may be in the path, but as we will see below, the prevailing sense is joy, and the blessing of the heart is one of peace.
Three things are shown about Christ’s life that can be manifested by the Spirit in our lives.
1. Christ was willing to go where His Father chose. He was obedient to the Father’s geographic will for His life. His attitude may be expressed by the words: “I will go where You want me to go, dear Lord.”
2. Christ was willing to be whatever His Father chose. He was not only willing to lay aside the garments of His glory, but He was willing to be placed in humility, to be spit upon, and to be crucified. His attitude may be expressed in the words: “I will be what You want me to be.”
As Paul stated in 1 Cor 9:22, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.”
3. Christ was willing to do whatever His Father chose. He became obedient unto death, and in so doing, His attitude may be expressed in the words: “I will do what You want me to do.”
Like Christ, believers in the will of God may have unpleasant tasks to perform which require yieldedness of heart and the sustaining grace of the Holy Spirit. Like Christ, the believer must say, “Not my will, but your will be done,” Luke 22:42. Therefore, yieldedness is making the will of God final in your life and being willing to do anything, whenever, wherever, and however God may direct.
There is no true spirituality until this surrender is made in the life of the believer. But when it is, God imparts all sufficient power for the realization of all His will, Phil 2:13.
Phil 2:13, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
The Divinely produced manifestation of the “Christ-like nature” in the believer’s life will be, “the mind of Christ,” and Scripture assures us that this will be attained by the power of the Holy Spirit.
When dealing with the believer’s responsibility in being wholly yielded to God, our Lord spoke of it as “abiding in Him,” John 15:1-17.
The results of an abiding life are threefold:
1. Our Prayer is effectual, vs. 7.
2. Our Joy is heavenly, vs. 11.
3. Our Fruit is perpetual, vs. 16.
These results include all that is vital in a spiritual life and are conditioned by obedience to all that Christ has said, vs. 10. Therefore, abiding is simply yielding to the known will of our Lord, just as He was yielded to His Father’s will.
Yieldedness to the will of God is not demonstrated by one particular issue. It is a matter of having taken the will of God as the rule of your life. To be in the will of God is simply to be willing to do His will without reference to any one particular thing He may choose. It is electing His will to be final, even before you know what He may ask you to do.
Therefore, it is not a question of being willing to do something. It is a question of being willing to do anything, when, where, and how, it may seem best in His heart of love.
Yieldedness then, is taking the normal and natural position of a childlike trust that has already consented to the desires of the Father, even before anything of the outworking of His desire is revealed.
Many believers say, “If God desires me to do something, let Him tell me and I will then determine what I will do.” This is not yieldedness to God. God will reveal nothing to the person with that attitude in their heart. Instead, you must have a faithful relationship of trust in God, where His will is agreed to in advance once and for all, without reservation. That means, no “if, ands, or buts,” in your attitude.
The Opposite of Yieldedness is Grieving and Quenching the Holy Spirit.
In yieldedness to God, we make no promises that we will never sin or violate the will of God again. And we do not promise to change our own desires. The attitude we have in yieldedness to God is, “I am willing to be made willing to do His will.” This means we trust whole heartedly that in every detail, He will work in us that which is well pleasing in His sight. He will “work in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure,” Phil 2:13.
Sometimes we may have to wait a long time to ascertain what His will may be, but when it is clearly revealed, there can be no room for debate in your heart that would grieve or even quench the Spirit, Eph 4:30; 1 Thes 5:19, which we are commanded not to do.
The Spirit of God is “grieved” in a believer when he enters into sin. At that time, the fellowship, guidance, instruction, and power of the Spirit are hindered; the Holy Spirit, although indwelling, is NOT free to accomplish His work in the life of the believer.
The Spirit is “quenched” in the believer by any unyieldedness to the revealed will of God. It is simply saying “no” to God in many different ways, either directly or indirectly, including saying “no” to Divine appointments for service and resistance to the providence of God in your life. That means, when God creates an opportunity for you to act, you do not act, or when God provides for you in a certain way you say, “no thanks, I’m good,” or “I’ve got this one God.”
Quenching the Holy Spirit is to suppress, stifle, or otherwise obstruct the ministry of the Spirit in your life. In a word it is saying “no,” and replacing the will of the Spirit with your own will.
The word “quench,” when related to the Spirit, does not imply that He is extinguished or that He withdraws, although that is the affect that occurs in your life. The Spirit does not remove His presence. He has come to abide. Quenching the Spirit means acts of resisting the Holy Spirit, i.e., saying no to His leading and guiding ministry.
On the other hand, a yielded heart toward the will of God has no rebellion or rejection towards Him, and is one that realizes His will is always infinitely best, therefore I will be led by and follow it. This is the life of no regrets because you have done the will of God.
“It is God who works in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Therefore, we must learn God’s Word and the reality of the indwelling Spirit and what it means to “walk” in Him.
The Yielded Heart Knows the Will of God:
1. God’s leading is only for those who are already committed to do as He may choose. To such it may be said: “God is able to speak loud enough to make a willing soul hear.”
2. The Divine leading will always be according to the Scriptures. We go to His Word with prayerful expectation as to what His will may be.
a. Be careful not to treat the Bible as a magic lottery. We do not learn the meaning of a passage by “casting lots.” We do not find out the will of God from the Bible by opening the Book and abiding by the sentiment of the first verse we may chance to read. It is not a matter of chance, nor is our relation to His Word so superficial that we expect to find His blessed mind for us by blindly reading one chance verse. We are to study and know the Scriptures that every word of His testimony may instruct us.
3. He does not lead His children by any rules whatsoever. No two of His children will be led alike and it is most probable that He will never lead any one of His children twice in exactly the same way. Therefore, rules are apt to be misleading. True spirituality consists in a life which is free from law and legalism. It is a life which is lived to the minutest detail of individuality, by the power of the Spirit.
4. The Divine leading is by the Spirit who indwells the believer. Therefore, it follows that true leading, in this dispensation, will be more by an inner consciousness than by outward signs. After we have faithfully met the conditions for a spiritual life, we have “the mind of the Spirit.” He is both able to convince us of what is wrong and to impart a clear conviction as to what is right. Because of our present unique relation to the Spirit, it is hardly necessary, or wise, to depend much on “fleeces” or a “pillar of cloud;” although sometimes, He may lead providentially through these external things.
Yielding to the mind and will of God is a definite act which opens the gate into the Divinely appointed path, whereon we may walk in all fellowship and service with Christ. A child of God cannot consider himself to be in the appointed path, if he has no consciousness that he is subject to the will of God. This pattern of yieldedness as revealed in Christ is seen in John 4:34, 5:30; 6:39; 9:4.
John 4:34, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.”
John 5:30, “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
A Warning Regarding Unyieldedness.
Satan’s sin against God in the primal glory was a five-fold expression of two defiant words: “I will,” Isa 14:13-14. This original act of rebellion against God on the part of Satan was extended to the human race in the Garden of Eden. The conflict of the ages is accordingly between the will of the creature and the will of the Creator. Every unyielded life is perpetuating the crime of Satan.
To be spiritual, we must not say “no” to God and “yes” to our own wants, lusts, and desires. That would be quenching the Spirit.
In our day, Satan, appearing as “an angel of light,” 2 Cor 11:14, will seek to confuse the mind of the unyielded heart by presenting his counterfeits for the leading of God. Every believer should be aware of this danger.
As you know, Satan makes use of a morbid conscience, (doubtful and disbelieving), a mistaken impression as to duty, (legalism), or a lack of understanding as to the exact teachings of God’s Word (ignorance, including willful rejection), to misdirect the believer’s life.
Nevertheless, Satan’s misleadings are to be detected since they are irritating, painful, and disagreeable, in contrast to the leading of the Spirit, which is sweet and satisfying to the heart of the one who is yielded to God.
We must remember that the will of God is “good, acceptable, and perfect,” Rom 12:2, and that when we are walking with Him, He works in us “both to will and to do of his good pleasure,” Phil 2:13.
If we walk with an unyielding heart, on the Divine side, the Father cannot suffer rebellion in His household, nor can He realize His blessed designs for His child until His judgment is freely acknowledged to be best. As such, in love God must bring discipline to His child, Psa 119:75; Prov 3:12; 1 Cor 11:32; Heb 12:6; Rev 3:19.
Prov 3:12, “For whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights.”
Rev 3:19, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.”
As such, we need to be aware of the distinction between chastisement for correction, which may often be repeated, and the once for all “scourging” which every son must receive, Heb 12:6.
Heb 12:6, “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”
Discipline is unto correction as often as it is needed; but scourging is the once for all conquering of the human will.
When our will is conquered, it does not mean that our will is weakened in relationships with our fellow men. It means the will has been yielded to God.
Not all afflictions are to be counted as scourging. We will know it is scourging because we will be conscious of our own stubbornness in not yielding. There will be no uncertainty. Unfortunately, many have suffered years of scourging because they would not be yielded in relation to the mind of God for them.
Every child of God, then, must definitely yield to the will of God, not concerning just one issue or another of the daily life, but as an abiding attitude toward God in everything. Apart from that there can be no true spirituality and no escape from the Father’s scourging hand; for He cannot, and will not, suffer His child to live on without the priceless blessings that His love is longing to bestow.
“It is God who works in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Therefore to avoid discipline and scourging, we must learn God’s Word, the reality of the indwelling Spirit, and what it means to “walk” in Him.
When an individual is spiritually renewed by being born again, he is prepared for a life in the will of God. The believer has: 1) A new nature, 2) The life of God in him, 3) A vital relationship to God and to other believers in the baptism of the Spirit, and 4) The presence of God in his body and consciousness. This sets the stage for an effective expression of a life yielded to God in keeping with the character of God.
The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer provides an inexhaustible and constant source of spiritual direction and empowerment. However, the ministry of the Spirit is not automatic and is not effective without cooperation on the part of the individual, hence the command in 1 Thes 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.”
By understanding God’s Word, thereby having the wisdom of God in your soul, and being filled consistently with the Holy Spirit, you are yielding to the leading and guiding ministry of God and will execute His will and plan for your life, being a good and faithful servant of God. To be an imitator of God as His beloved child, Eph 5:1, we must live the yielded life.
Heb 13:20-21, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”