Yield to God’s Will

Even before studying to take my first driver’s license test, I was fascinated with traffic signs. The green, yellow, and red traffic signal was pretty straightforward:  green means go, yellow means caution, and red means stop.  The sign that really confused me, however, was the “Yield” sign because it was painted both red and white.  The red meant stop but what about the white? In retrospect, I better understand several principles that apply to both driving and Christian living.  For example, yield signs often appear when least expected whether on a street or expressway ramp.  In addition,  yield signs caution drivers to slow down while simultaneously viewing the surrounding traffic.  More importantly, these signs require drivers to give up their right of way to another driver who arrived sooner.  At least that’s how drivers are supposed to respond.
 
You have probably encountered people who obey the law by yielding then proceeding in the order other cars arrived at the sign.  This idea situation doesn’t always happen because some drivers are impatient:  never slowing down or coming to a complete stop.  There are other drivers who have the right to proceed but “yield” by deciding to allow another driver to go instead.  
 
These scenarios beautifully illustrate how Christians should yield to God’s will.  More specifically, we should always be prepared to yield or submit to God’s will in our lives because He should always have the right of way in our lives.  God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present.  We should yield to Him because His existence demands it, His creation declares it, and His provision defines it. Jesus offers a perfect example of yielding to God’s will in a famous passage in the Bible.  In Luke 22, we read about how Jesus and His disciples travel to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  
 
Jesus expresses anxiety about His upcoming arrest, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.  His human nature yearns for comfort from God so His prayer includes the following recorded in Luke 22:42:  “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (NASV emphasis added).
 
In order to practically apply the lessons of Luke 22:42, we must carefully review how Christ’s human and divine nature helps Him yield to God’s will and how we are expected to do the same.  
 
First, the concept of will or boulomai in this verse refers to intension or mindedness.  Jesus’ prayer wasn’t a whimsical or half-hearted request. Rather than depending on His own desire for physical deliverance from His situation, He requests to line up with the mind of God. This is no small matter.  It’s one thing to know God’s will–which Christ does as the second member of the unity–it’s another to yield to God’s will.  Stated differently, even Jesus Christ–the Son of God who shares God’s eternal attributes–recognized His complete dependence on His Father.  Jesus’ prayer ends with Him yielding to His Father’s will because–as the 1950s television program says–“Father knows best.”   
 
Secondly, Christ’s yielding to God’s will is an example for us as we often struggle to line up with God because of our human frailty.  While some might argue that it’s easy for Christ to yield because He is God, we also must remember that the passage in Luke 22 speaks of Jesus not Christ.  Such a bold claim demands more attention.  Let me explain.  
 
Christians often interchange the names of Jesus, Jesus Christ, or Christ when referencing the Bible.  In short, “Jesus” depicts His humanity and “Christ” depicts His deity.  Each are accurate references depending on the Biblical context, however, referring to Him as ‘Jesus Christ” is the most complete way of acknowledging both His humanity and deity.  This notion is pivotal for our understanding of how we should yield to God’s will.  
 
For example, Luke 3:23 records the human genealogy of Jesus Christ with these words “When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli.”  His reference as “Jesus” is Iēsŏus, translated Joshua–a clear link to His earthly, family lineage.  This is also reinforced by the fact that most Bibles introduce this section as “The Genealogy of Jesus” and not of Christ.  
 
In contrast, the name “Christ” depicts His deity and comes from the Greek word Christos which means “anointed one” or “chosen one.” The Hebrew translation is “Messiah.”  Both ideas speak to His divine nature.  Matthew 15:13-16 establishes this awesome truth as follows:
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (emphasis added).
 
Peter’s declaration not only reminds us of the reasons and struggles behind Jesus Christ’s prayer in Luke 22:42 but also reminds us of the challenges we face when trying to reconcile Jesus Christ as both fully God and fully man.  This verse reveals that Jesus Christ–the God Man–acknowledges that His will, His boulomai, should not trump that of His Heavenly Father.
 
In no way am I suggesting that Christians possess the duality of human and divine natures in the same way that Christ does.  Rather, He’s a model for the inescapable conflicts we have that often lead to the dissociation between knowing and yielding to God’s will.
 
Warren Wiersbe affirms how yielding to God’s will is non-negotiable among Christians.  In his exposition of Acts 10:14-15, he says the following about Peter’s vision and refusal to eat ceremonially unclean animals–“Even though Peter’s refusal was in the most polite terms, it was still wrong. Dr. W. Graham Scroggie wrote, ‘You can say ‘No,’ and you can say ‘Lord’; but you cannot say ‘No, Lord!’ ” If He is truly our Lord, then we can only say “Yes!” to Him and obey His commands.”[1]  Stated differently, we must yield to God’s will!
 
Practically speaking, we should yield to God’s will in every aspect of our Christian living.  We should pray that God’s will be done regarding salvation of others, relationships with our family and friends, our personal testimony, and our day to day decisions–all so He gets glory worthy of our Creator, Provider, and Sustainer.  Otherwise, we won’t truly yield.
 

[1] Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996. Print.


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