Life on the Highest Plane
Vol. 3: The Believer's Response to the Holy Spirit's Inworking

Chapter Twenty-Six
The Believer's Part in Becoming Spirit-filled — Yielding

In the two wondrous gifts of His Son and His Spirit, God has made perfect provision for a life of true spirituality. God's twofold gift to us was not a partial gift. When He gave Christ He gave all of Christ; when He gave the Holy Spirit He gave all of the Holy Spirit. He withheld nothing from us. Love not only gave its best but its all. When God gave Christ to us He gave Him in all the fullness of His perfect life and His perfected work. When God gave the Holy Spirit He gave Him to indwell, to infill and to empower. God is not a niggardly, grudging giver. In the glorified Christ through the fullness of the Holy Spirit He has given all that He has to give to make us spiritual. This is the perfection of grace, the acme even of divine giving.

God has made the provision but you must make the decision whether you will be Spirit-filled or not. There is a place in God's dealings with men beyond which He cannot go. He Himself set this boundary line in man's right to will. He sets the feast before you but He cannot compel you to eat. He opens the door into the abundant life but He cannot coerce you to enter. He places in the bank of God a deposit that makes you a spiritual multimillionaire but He cannot write your checks. God has done His part, now you must do yours.

The responsibility for fullness or lack of fullness is now in your hands. He will be limited in the giving of the fullness of His Spirit by one thing only — the room given to Him to fill. "You may have all the fulness you will make room for." To be Spirit-filled requires your active, hearty cooperation with God. You have a very clearly defined part in becoming spiritual.

 

YIELDING — THE BELIEVER'S PART IN BECOMING SPIRIT-FILLED

The basic principle in a spiritual life lies in its control. The life of the natural man is wholly in the control of "the old man"; the life of the carnal Christian is partially in the control of self. If one determines to become a Spirit-filled Christian the right to reign must be taken altogether from "the old man" and given into the hands of the Lord Jesus. What the Holy Spirit wishes the believer to do and what He works to bring him to do is to cooperate with Him in this matter by refusing deliberately the further reign of self and by choosing voluntarily the sovereignty of Christ over his life, yielding to Him as Lord and Master.

Romans 6:16, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

Romans 6:19, "I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness."

To yield the life unto God is the first step in a continuous walk in the Spirit. This step takes us by our own choice out of the realm of self-will into the realm of God's will. It takes us back to our God-intended, God-provided center. It gives us a base for all future growth in spiritual things. It furnishes us with new headquarters from which all our future life will be directed. In yielding to Christ we definitely align ourselves with the perfect will of God and choose it to be the rule of our lives in all things forever afterward. We adopt the language of Christ which, whether in the great crises of life such as those in the wilderness, in Gethsemane or on Calvary, or in the ordinary walk and work of daily life in the carpenter shop and the home, was invariably "Thy will be done." In yielding to the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ we deliberately choose from that time on to do His will instead of our own in all things and for all time.

 

THE LIFE YIELDED — WHY?

There are two quite diverse motives that lead people to yield themselves wholly to the Lord. Some make the approach to a yielded life along the avenue of their own need. They hunger and thirst for more of Christ. They long to realize more perfectly their inheritance in Him.

Ephesians 1:11, "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."

Others come into a yielded life over the pathway of Christ's claim. They recognize the loneliness and yearning of Christ's heart for more of them. They desire to have Him possess to the full His inheritance in them.

Ephesians 1:18, "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints."

Both our need of Him and His of us call for the yielding of our lives to Him. Every relationship which Christ bears to us is made ineffectual in an unyielded life. It is impossible for Christ to become all that He designs and desires to become apart from a wholly yielded life. He is handicapped and hindered in all He would do in and through us by our unwillingness to have it done; as Saviour He cannot save us from sin we insist upon retaining; as Head of the Body He cannot direct a stubborn member; as Lord He cannot reveal His will to one who does not want to know it or to obey it; as Life He cannot fill what is already filled with a totally different substance; as Sanctifier He cannot separate us wholly unto Himself when we prefer to live unto self and the world; as Captain He cannot use us to defeat the enemy when we ourselves already have allowed him to defeat us. Christ is checked at every turn in an unyielded life and rendered practically impotent. The realization and enjoyment of our precious inheritance in Him and of His purchased inheritance in us depend upon our unconditional yielding to Him.

There is a basic motive in the yielding of the life to Christ which when discovered is both convincing and compelling. To His glory may I share with you the way in which God graciously led me to this discovery and the revolutionary change it wrought in my relationship to the Lord Jesus.

Becoming a Christian when a girl I experienced deep and real joy in the consciousness of the forgiveness of sins and in the fellowship of Christ. I truly loved my Lord and longed to live so that others, especially members of my family, would see that He was indeed my Saviour. Though born again I knew nothing of a yielded life and consequently some of the old sins continued to manifest themselves in the same old way. One of the most outstanding was temper. Over and over again it was lost and hasty, unkind words said even to those nearest and dearest. Having what often accompanies a quick temper, a sensitive, affectionate heart, I would go apart after an outburst and cry as though my heart would break. Times without number the resolve was made never to lor to lose my temper again and the attempt was made to conquer it by willpower, but all to no avail, and I continued in a life of constant defeat and miserable failure. Conscious of the evident hypocrisy in such a life, all the joy experienced in conversion left me. Truly loving the Lord I hated myself for the caricature of Him I was giving to others.

One day, thoroughly discouraged and disheartened by an overwhelming sense of defeat, I sought the quiet of my own room and shut myself in with the Lord, determined to stay until something happened. I told the Lord that either He must show me what a truly Christian life was and how to live it or I would renounce my profession of Christ and ask to have my name taken from the church roll. I was desperately in earnest and God always meets one who truly seeks Him. He graciously met me that day and answered both my questions.

Two verses from His Word He used to flood my soul with light. My prayer is that again He may use them to bring similar joy and peace to others discouraged and defeated.

1 Corinthians 6: 19-20, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."

Through three unforgetable invincible statements of truth God unveiled the essence of a yielded life and revealed its basic motive.

"What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?" No, until that day I did not know that my body had any relationship whatsoever to my conversion neither did I know that the Holy Spirit had taken it to be His temple. That God laid claim to my body for His habitation and that the Holy Spirit had already made it His home was to me a startling revelation. Think for a moment what that means — God, the Holy One actually dwelling in your human body! Suppose some earthly king would send word that he wanted to spend just one day in your home. What a housecleaning would take place! How all the best and loveliest things would be taken out to use! What preparation would be made that everything would be exactly fitting and worthy of such an honored guest! But oh! what an unclean, unfit, unworthy place we often ask the King of kings and Lord of lords to live in, not for a day but for a lifetime! What an unholy, desecrated temple we offer to the Holy Spirit!

But I have given the Lord my soul, what need hath He of my body? was the question that came into my mind. I saw faintly that day but with growing clearness every day since why God asks for our bodies. Dare we say it — it is His need of a channel through which He may give to a world that knows Him not a revelation of who He is and of His yearning love for men. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and men saw and knew who the Father was by the presence of the Son on earth. Christ is now in heaven. But oh! is His presence not needed here on earth? Is He not needed in your city? In your church? In your school? In your office? In your social circle? In your home? And how is the glorified Christ to presence Himself here on earth? In what way will He reveal Himself to men now?

Christ has just two ways of making Himself known; one is through His Word. But countless thousands do not even possess a Bible, and countless millions could not read it if they did. The other way is through us in whom He dwells as the Life of our life. Oh! do you not see how He needs your body to be wholly His? Today He needs eyes, ears; lips, hands, feet, minds, hearts, wills and all that makes up a human personality for the manifestation of Himself on earth as truly as these things were needed when He dwelt as the incarnate Son in a human body. When Christ was upon earth it was not merely His teaching and preaching that won men to Him. It was His life, His personal presence, Himself. So today men need to see Christ; to feel His presence; to be brought face to fac His presence; to be brought face to face with Him. The Lord Jesus showed me that day that He wanted and needed my body with my entire human personality to indwell and to use as a medium of revealing Himself to others.

There was something wondrously beautiful in the thought that the Lord of glory could ever have need of me. I knew only too well how desperately I needed Him. Moment by moment I needed to draw all my life from Him as the branch lives in the life of the vine. But to think that He needed me! that there was fruit to be borne that could only be borne on a branch! that some life somewhere would need to see Christ in me! It was a marvelously convincing appeal, yet I am ashamed to record it even now so many years afterward, I hesitated to yield.

Was my life not my own? Was it not asking a great deal to turn it over to the absolute sovereignty of another? Should I relinquish all right to its possession and control? Was it safe to do so? Was it reasonable? Was it needful? Oh! the feasible, plausible arguments that self advanced to retain the kingship over my life!

All this reluctance was anticipated by the Lord and He was prepared to meet it. "What? Know ye that ye are not your own?" Like a sharp two-edged sword these words penetrated to my innermost being and lodged there. How they cut into shreds every argument advanced against such a wholesale yielding of myself to God! "Know ye that ye are not your own?" How they severed the undergirding beneath all my thinking concerning my rights in myself! "Know ye that ye are not your own?" How they brought to light the hitherto disguised hypocrisy of my profession as a Christian in saying that I belonged to Jesus Christ yet all the while retaining in my own hands the reins of government! "Know ye that ye are not your own?" How these words went straight to the very heart of the issue like an axe laid at the root of the tree — the enthronement of Jesus Christ as Lord over my life or the continued reign of self!

A flood of light entered my soul through that simple but imperative question of the Lord. I was convinced of the rightfulness of God's claim upon me but I was not yet constrained to yield to it. Oh! the incredible, unthinkable stubbornness to resist and refuse in the light of such clear conviction! Oh! the infinite, unwearying patience of the divine heart to continue to woo and to work in the face of such willfulness!

I was not only stubborn but fearful. If I let go and put myself wholly and unconditionally in His possession and control what might He not take from me? What might He not ask of me? I was in the same state of mind as was the college girl who said she would like to yield herself wholly to God but she was afraid He would take advantage of her. To put the truth very bluntly I would have been glad to have turned over to the Lord for His possession and control all the unpleasant, unmanageable, uncontrollable part of myself if He would have left the rest to me!

But God dealt very gently and tenderly with me, drawing me closer and closer to Himself by the cords of love. To master my will He had to melt my heart. "What? know ye that ye are not your own for ye are bought with a price?" Bought! Not my own because bought! Here again was something new. I had been thinking that by yielding to Christ I would be conferring the ownership of my life upon Him, that I would be making an outright gift to Him. But God showed me that day that I already belonged to Christ by the right of purchase and that Christ's claim to the undivided possession and control of my life was an absolutely legitimate one. Who could deny one the right to that which He had purchased?

Convinced again and still not constrained to yield. "Ye are not your own for ye are bought with a price." Oh! That price! "Redeemed not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." The precious blood of Christ the price paid for me! The life of the spotless, stainless, sinless Son of God laid down for my paltry, insignificant, sinful, selfish life! A Life given for a life!

2 Corinthians 5:15, "And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again."

A LIFE FOR A LIFE

"Oh, hands, outstretched upon the tree,
Nail-pierced by shameless cruelty!
Why, blessed Christ, had this to be?
A voice most loving said to me:
'Dear child, these hands of Mine were bruised
That thine in ministry be used
In loving service such as Mine;
My hands were given to purchase thine.'

"Oh, feet of Christ, so rent and torn!
How could such suffering be borne?
In life, so often spent and worn,
In death, must they be given to scorn?
'On mercy's errands thine may go,
A free, glad helpfulness to show;
It was for thee,' the Saviour said,
'My feet for thine so sadly bled.'

"Oh, head of Christ, with thorn-wrought crown!
In grief and agony bowed down;
Why didst Thy heavenly renown
Exchange for earthly jeer and frown?
'My child, beneath those thorns I bought
Thy intellect and all its thought;
The glory-crown was left for thee,
That thou mightst give thy mind to Me.'

"Oh, heart of Christ! Oh, wounded side!
Oh, Man of Sorrows, crucified!
Who in such anguish, sinless, died,
Hast Thou done aught for me beside?
'Ah, child of mine, my heart was riven
That thou mightst live and love in Heaven;
That all thy heart, thy life, might be
Surrendered joyfully to Me.'"

I had been saying "Must I give myself to Him?" But on that day kneeling in spirit at the foot of the cross of Christ I said from the depths of my heart "May I yield all that I am and have for time and for eternity to Him who gave all for me?"

And what was the basic motive in the yielding? It was the joyous response of love to love following the spiritual apprehension of the reasonableness and rightfulness of Christ's claim upon my life and the use He desired to make of it.

Then let us define yielding. Yielding is the definite, deliberate, voluntary transference of the undivided possession, control and use of the whole being, spirit, soul and body from self to Christ, to whom it rightfully belongs by creation and by purchase. In yielding to Christ we crown Him Lord of all in our lives. "Consecration does not confer ownership, it presumes it. It is not in order to be His, but because we are His, that we yield up our lives. It is purchase that gives title; delivery simply gives possession. The question is not, 'Do I belong to God?' but 'Have I yielded to God that which already belongs to Him?'" (J. H. McConkey, The Surrendered Life, p. 17).

In a city in north China there was a girls' school. The students grew in numbers which necessitated more buildings. Adjoining the school were just the buildings needed, the property of a Chinese family. After much bargaining a sale was effected. The papers were drawn up and the purchase price paid. In the autumn the school fully expected to open work in the new buildings. But they were unable to do so. Why not? The Chinese family had not moved out. Purchase gives title but only delivery gives possession.

Christ has the title deed to your life. The price was paid nearly two thousand years ago. It is His by the right of purchase. Have you moved out that He may move in and occupy what He already possesses?

Christ has the right to exempt you from His property; He is Lord and He has the right to command you to yield. But Christ's way is to constrain by love rather than to conquer by force. So He beseeches us by the innumerable mercies of God of which we are daily the recipients to yield ourselves to Him.

Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

Yielding is the glad, joyous, willing response of love to love. "We love him because he first loved us." Bought with a price, "therefore" we gladly glorify Him in our body and spirit, which are His. "I beseech you" — I have given My life in death for you, will you not give yours in life for Me? True yielding is the utter abandonment of love. It is the call of the Bridegroom "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away," to which the Bride joyfully responds, "I am my beloved's and his desire is toward me."

Oh! my friend, does this not take the "must" out of surrender for you? Does it not answer the question "Is it safe?" Have you only thought of yielding in the light of what you would have to give up? To yield does involve a giving up but it means giving up what really is not yours; it means giving up something only to get something of infinitely greater worth; yes, it means giving up something that He needs for His use to the One we love best; more than all it means giving up something to the One who loves us with a love so great that He died for us and now waits to bestow upon us all the exhaustless treasures that are ours in Him. Can we not trust "the Man who died for us"?

Romans 8:32, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"

1 Corinthians 3:21-23, "Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's."

"Surrender taken alone is a plunge into a cold void. When it is a surrender to the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me it is the bright home coming of the soul to the seat and sphere of life and power."

 

THE LIFE YIELDED — WHAT?

We have seen what yielding is — the transference of the ownership and control of the life from self to Christ. But self will relinquish nothing except under compulsion. So it is necessary to understand at the outset just what the full measurement of a yielded life is.

May we clear the atmosphere by saying what yielding is not? It is not mere subscription to a creed; nor is it a giving of oneself to a certain kind or field of service; nor is it merely stripping the life of certain evil or questionable practices. How many a person has said, "I am afraid to yield myself wholly to the Lord for I know He will make me believe something I can't believe, or will ask me to go somewhere that I do not want to go, or will rob me of something that I want to keep." To such, yielding is altogether a negative thing while in reality it is essentially positive. God wants us. It is the whole of ourselves that He asks us to yield to Him that our whole life may be lived unto the will of God.

Romans 6:13, "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."

2 Corinthians 8:5, "And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."

1 Peter 4:2, "That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."

Then God specifies the measurement a bit more explicitly lest we be satisfied merely with "the saving of our soul" or "the giving of our heart to the Lord." It is the easiest thing in the world to use the phraseology of consecration while missing the reality of it. It is possible to deceive ourselves by surrendering the invisible and intangible thing while holding on to the visible and tangible. So God asks for the body as well as for the spirit and soul. Read again Romans 12:1.

God leaves no loophole in this matter of yielding. He knows full well how the beauty of a life may be marred and its testimony nullified by the unyieldedness of even one member of the body. Who can read the epistle of James and not know that many a life fails of complete surrender through an unyielded tongue? What possibilities for covetousness through an unyielded eye? What paths of wickedness and worldliness are open before unyielded feet? What a catchall for gossip, slander and idle talk, is an unyielded ear! What a loss to God in His service is an unyielded voice! God specifies the measurement of surrender and it reaches out to include every member of your body. "Yield your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."

1 Thessalonians 5:23, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

1 Peter 3:15, R.V., "But sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord."

The measure of our yielding is the measure of our human life. It includes everything inside, spirit, mind, heart, will, affections. It includes everything outside, home, children, possessions, occupation. It includes everything allied, friendships, time, money, pleasures, life plans.

It includes our past, present and future. No matter what the past has held of sin, sorrow or self it is all handed over to Christ in a once-and-for-all committal. But some can surrender the past who find it difficult to yield the present to Christ's control. There is the desire to reserve a bit of ground. Others can surrender the past and present because driven to it by disheartenment or desperation but they are fearful to put the future wholly into His keeping. How do they know that God can be trusted to be faithful or that they desire to live under His absolute sway for all time?

When givithe yielded life at a conference I noticed the anxious, troubled face of a woman on the front seat. I said, "You are able to trust July to God but fearful to put September into His keeping." Her face lighted up with a smile which was in truth an acknowledgment of being caught in the very act of worry. After the meeting she said, "That remark about committing September to the Lord hit me. I could be very happy here now but I must have an operation in September and I have only half enjoyed this beautiful place because I am worrying over September!"

Yielding includes our worst and our best. Some find it very difficult to believe that God can accept or want them because there is so much of "the worst" that persists in their lives. But "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" is an invitation extended to the sinning saint as truly as to the sinner. Grace abounds from the beginning clear through to the end of our lives. So no matter how often we have repeated the same sin if we come yielding ourselves unconditionally to Him He waits to receive us, and the blood of Jesus Christ is equal to any demand made upon it for cleansing.

Others find no difficulty in bringing to God the dregs of sin in their unyielded lives but find it extremely hard to yield their best to Him. In fact they see no necessity to do so. Here is someone with very excellent judgment. The superior quality of it is recognized by the possessor who almost believes in his infallibility on all matters. The result is a domineering, overbearing person with whom it is exceedingly difficult for others to work. This point was mentioned once before a group of Christian workers. Afterward a missionary said, "You talked about me this morning! I am that person with the good judgment and I am sure I have made things difficult for my fellow missionaries. I see now that even my good judgment must be yielded to the Lord."

Here is another who is very efficient and she holds the same opinion of herself that a young businesswoman held who said, "Why do I need to ask the Lord how to do something when, if I use my own good sense, I know as well as He how to do it?" That is putting it very crudely but is not our failure often due to a similar self-trust?

Perhaps here is one with a charming personality who is extremely popular and easily draws a crowd about her. She can see the need of some homely, unattractive person yielding herself to the Lord to be made inwardly beautiful. But why should she do so? Does she not attract people already? Oh! but to whom? To herself or to her Lord? Our best can hinder the revelation of Christ through us as truly as our worst.

In taking the measure of our surrender to the Lord Jesus it should be a settled matter that there can be no reservations. We cannot set aside any part of our lives and earmark it "reserved." If Christ is to be Lord, He must be must be Lord of all. We must let Christ begin at the center and go to the circumference of our lives, laying hold of all in His path and bringing it under His dominion.

It should also be understood that there can be no substitutes offered to the Lord. We cannot buy God off with money or bribe Him to accept our time, talents or service in lieu of ourselves. Having once offered ourselves in a glad, willing yielding to the Lord, all that we have in the way of natural endowment, acquired skill or bestowed wealth will accompany such surrender but can never be accepted by God as a substitute for it. God wants first of all "not yours" but "you."

Let it be understood also that we cannot bring just the troublesome, unmanageable parts of our lives to God, asking Him for spiritual repairs while we withhold the will, the heart, the mind. How much we are like the man who took the hands of his clock to the jeweler and asked him to regulate them as they did not keep time. "Bring me the whole clock," said the jeweler, "the cause of the inaccuracy is not in the hands." "No!" said the owner, "you will take it all to pieces and it will cost me a lot! It is the hands that go wrong!" The measure of our yielding is the measure of our life; the refusal to yield any part of it, however small or insignificant it may seem to us, is an act of rebellion and will make impossible the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives. These lines we would do well to repeat frequently:

"Have Thine own way, Lord,
   Have Thine own way;
Thou art the Potter,
   I am the clay.

Make me and mould me
   After Thy will,
While I am waiting
   Silent and still."

 

THE LIFE YIELDED — HOW?

Perhaps some reader has been brought to say, Lord, I will yield to Thee. I see why I should yield, and what but now tell me how. Because salvation from beginning to end is through God's pure grace, He always takes the initiative in bringing us into a fuller experience of our inheritance in Christ. So the Lord Jesus stands outside every unyielded part of your life and knocks and waits for your response. He wishes to come in and fellowship with you in every part of your spiritual life but in between the knocking and the entering something must take place, for Christ never forces entrance. If He enters, the door must be opened.

Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

Yielding to Christ is a definite act. It is not a mere expression of a pious desire but it is the declaration of a purposeful determination. It is not an often-repeated wish but it is a decisive act of the will. To yield is to acknowledge Christ's claim to the perfect possession, complete control and unhindered use of one's whole being and then to act upon such an acknowledgment by a definite surrender of it to Him. Desire becomes decision and decision crystallizes into action.

In A Memorial of a True Life by Dr. R. E. Speer is recorded such a definite act of surrender by Hugh Beaver, a young man of rare spirituality whose life was very marvelously used among college students in a few brief years of service before God called him Home.

"Kutztown, Pa., Nov. 16, 1895.

""Just as I am, — Thy love unknown
   Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone
   0 Lamb of God, I come, I come.

This 16th day of November 1895, I, Hugh Beaver, do of my own free will give myself, all that I am and have, entirely, unreservedly, unqualifiedly to Him, whom having not seen I love, on whom, though now I see Him not, I believe. Bought with a price, I give myself to Him who at the cost of His own blood purchased me. Now committing myself to Him who is able to guard me from stumbling and to set me before the presence of His glory without blemish in exceeding joy, I trust myself to Him for all things, to be used as He shall see fit where He shall see fit. Sealed by the Holy Spirit, filled with the peace of God that passeth understanding, to Him be all glory, world without end. Amen.

Phil. 4:19.

HUGH BEAVER."

Have you by such a definite decisive act of the will yielded yourself, all that you are, and all that you have, to the Lord Jesus? If not, will you not close this book for a moment and do it now?

Yielding to Christ is a voluntary act. We do not yield because we have to but because we want to. It is not a matter of coercion but of consecration. The Lord Jesus stands outside the door of that unyielded portion of your life and knocks but He will not force an entrance. It would mean very little indeed to be allowed to enter if He did not find fellowship and comradeship with the one within. It is love that desires to enter but unless love is met by love the entrance would bring heartache rather than joy. "What fragrance is to the rose, colour to the sunset sky, spotlessness to the falling snow, voluntariness is to the surrender of the life." Of His own free will he joyously, gladly laid down His life for us. With a smile and a song He wants us to open the door to Him.

Yielding to Christ is a final act. Such a yielding of the life as-we have been considering is irreversible; it need not be repeated. If it has been done honestly it is for time and eternity. Great perplexity of heart has come to countless souls over this matter of repeated surrender so let us be clear as to what has been done and then we shall see how irrevocable the act has been.

Through yielding to Christ we have acknowledged that we are not our own and we have transferred the ownership of our life from self to Christ. Henceforth the life is no longer ours. A resurrender implies that the transfer had not been honestly made.

Of course one does not know all that is involved in this initial act of surrender or all that it will require of one. When you begin to live only and wholly for God there will be constant revelations of portions of the life still virtually held by self as its own possession. The heart will be made conscious of unwillingness to relinquish certain rights and privileges so long enjoyed. What, then, must one do as these revelations come? Does one need to make a surrender of the life over again? No, that was done once and for all. Simply say, "Lord, this thing which I am still claiming and holding as my own was part of that whole which I yielded to Thee. It, too, belonged in that initial surrender. I thank Thee for Thy faithfulness in showing me that it is unyielded and just now I give it into Thy possession and place it under Thy control."

There is an initial act of yielding that is to be followed by a continuous attitude so that as we come to know God and His will better through daily communion we yield instantly to Him any unyielded place or thing. Someone has tersely said, "Surrender is a crisis that develops into a process."

May I use a very homely illustration? A man and woman through mutual faith and love yield themselves to each other in marriage. Neither of them knows then all that is involved in this surrender to each other. The wife knew that her time must be given to making the home but she had not realized how little opportunity would be left for the things she had formerly done. She rebels and uses time for things which necessitates neglect of home duties. Misunderstanding and estrangement follow. Or the husband knew that money would be required to care for his wife and supply the needs of the home but he did not know what extravagant tastes she had or what a poor manager she was. So he has to use money he wished to spend on his business or his own pleasure. He rebels and trouble ensues. What do this husband and wife do? Do they remarry each time such a misunderstanding or disagreement comes? Even the idea is absurd. If they are sensible and truly love each other they will acknowledge that there was more in the marriage vows than they realized at the time; each will recognize that all, not a part, was given in the mutual surrender and each will be willing to yield unselfishly and gladly to whatever makes for mutual interest and welfare. Happy and harmonious married life demands not only an initial act of yielding but a continuous attitude of yielding.

We who have loved the Lord and believed in Him are united to Him. "Ye also are become dead to the law, by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead." But no one of us ever knew when he entered into oneness with Christ all that would be involved in such a union. But as we live with Him we learn more of His desires, His will, His purposes, His plans, and we see many things in our lives contrary to these. This does not, however, necessitate another surrender but only as instantaneous yielding of the thing to Him.

From the human standpoint the first condition for a life lived on the highest plane is the definite, voluntary, final yielding of the life to Christ as Lord. The primary requirement for the fullness of the Holy Spirit has been met. "When we surrender our sins and believe we receive the Holy Spirit; when we surrender our lives and believe, we are filled with the Holy Spirit. The receiving of the Spirit is God's answer to repentance and faith; the fulness of the Spirit is God's answer to surrender and faith. At conversion the Spirit enters; at surrender the Spirit, already entered, takes full possession. The supreme human condition of the fulness of the Spirit is a life wholly surrendered to God to do His will" (J. H. McConkey, The Threefold Secret of the Holy Spirit, p. 43).

I once visited a college to conduct evangelistic meetings. I was entertained in a home in which the guest room was over the kitchen and was approached by an outside stairway. Very soon my trunk arrived. I was alone in the house. As it was raining very hard, I decided to have the trunk put into the downstairs. I started to open one door but could not — it was locked. I went to another door as there were three in a row, and put my hand on the knob to open it but could not — it too was locked. I tried the third door but with no better success — it also was locked.

Suddenly seized with a strange sense of aloneness I rushed upstairs to the little back-room guest chamber — the only place in the house I was expected to use. To be a bit more conscious of the warm, living, loving presence of my Christ I kneeled by the bedside to pray. Instantly He spoke to me, saying, "Do you not know that is the way thousands of people treat Me? They invite Me into their lives and then they put Me away in a little hack guest chamber and there they expect me to stay. But I long to enter into every room of their lives and share all their experiences."

Oh! my friends, where have you put the Lord Jesus Christ in your life? Have you any locked doors? Have you put Him away in some little hidden corner and given Him no freedom in your life? Has He longed to get into the social hall of your life where all your pleasures are? Has He put His nail-pierced hand on the door, longing to enter, but could not — for it is locked from the inside? Has He wanted to enter into the room where your business was carried on and share in both its projects and profits? Has He been denied entrance because shady, crooked practices went on there which His all-seeing eye would detect? Has He longed to enter into the room where life plans were being shaped and to help in the fashioning of them? And He tried the door but entrance was denied — locked from the inside? And has He who longs to fill and to bless you gone back to His little upstairs back room with a grieved and sorrowful heart?

I went from that college town to another. My hostess there was a dear widow. Her home was very humble. We ate in the kitchen but oh! such hospitality I have seldom enjoyed. Every good thing which her frugal means would permit her to provide she had for me. The first day she said to me, "Miss Paxson, my home is very humble but while you are here it is all yours. Go where you want to and do just what you want to — just make yourself at home." And I, who traveled constantly, oh! how I spread out over that whole house and made it mine the few days I was there!

Oh! friends, is the Lord Jesus living within you? Have you ever said to Him, "Lord Jesus, I have only a very simple life to offer you as a dwelling place but while you are here it is all yours. Go where you want to, do what you want to — just make yourself at home!" He waits for just such an invitation. How quickly He will accept it when once honestly offered and how He will spread out over the whole life — truly making Himself at home. If you have not unlocked all the doors from the inside and given Him a gracious and glad invitation to enter, will you do so today?

Diagram 12: The Unyielded Life

     "I believe on the name of the Son of God,
     Therefore I am in Him:
     Having redemption through His blood
     And life through His Spirit.
And He is in me, and all fulness is in Him.
     To Him I belong
     By purchase: conquest and self-surrender.
     To me He belongs for all my hourly need.
There is no cloud between my Lord and me.
     There is no difficulty inward or outward, that
     He is not ready to meet in me to-day.
     The Lord is my keeper."

 

Chapter Twenty-Seven

 

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