Hungry, tired and anxious to be home, here I am… stuck.
Wavering between amazement and exasperation, I marvel as the driver two cars ahead of me yields the right of way to every vehicle exiting the rather chaotic elementary school parking lot. No joke! Literally, for what feels like forever, the parking lot overflowing with buses and cars empties itself before my very eyes as this “gentleman” yields the right of way for ALL of them.
Wondering what possesses a person to single-handedly direct the traffic, I breathe a sigh of relief when he decides to move forward. “Home! Here I come!” my heart sings. I’m only one mile away.
Yet not so fast! The next driver (which now happens to be directly in front of me) notices that another handful of cars have come out of no where and race forward to exit. Yep! You guessed it. Not to be out done by gentleman #1, he graciously brakes and yields to these few folks left behind.
“Seriously? Are we to yield to every Joe-schmoe?” I muse with irritation. <SIGH>
Most noteworthy, this incident was fresh on my mind while attending an all church staff meeting the very next day. Would it surprise you that our head pastor gently exhorted me? (Okay, exaggeration!) He actually exhorted the entire staff to “yield,” yield to the Holy Spirit.
Seems like that’s how God works. And His Spirit nudges.
God’s desire? A heart that yields… to Him.
For quite some time I’ve pondered the role of the Holy Spirit. If God lives in me, how do I maximize living in His power versus my power?
As a little girl, my church referred to Him as the “Holy Ghost.” Sounds rather spooky, eh? In her gem of a book, A Little Pot of Oil, Jill Briscoe agrees. As a child, the Holy Ghost remained a mystery, but she shares the truth she learned about Him as an adult:
…that the Holy Ghost was the Comforter, the “one called alongside to help,” the Advocate, who was actually aware of my plight and was praying for me. That He was someone who could hold me together inside and hush my fears to sleep- God Himself, able to fill the empty places in my life, to fill me up when I was running on empty. [p.15-16]
Who is He? Bottom line: the Holy Spirit is God. God is three in one: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus, sent by the Father, came, died and rose again that we might know His peace, promised His disciples that the Father would send this gift of His Spirit:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:26-27
When we believe and receive Christ, His Spirit is embedded within our hearts and provides for us in the ways mentioned above: Helper, Counselor, Comforter, Advocate, Strengthener, Supporter. He always shines a big spotlight on Jesus so that we might fix our eyes on Him, the Author and Perfector of our faith, and we might grow to become more like Him.
The Spirit, being God, has always been. He reigned at Creation:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
And He now reigns in the hearts of believers. Centuries before Christ’s death and resurrection, Ezekiel mentions this future gifting of the Holy Spirit to God’s people:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26-27
I appreciate Ezekiel’s inspired word picture. Stones are not very yielding, are they? Once, I remember falling on a cinder track. Rather than the stones giving way to the skin, the skin on my hands and knees gave way to the stones.
So a heart of flesh yields.
And the heart yields to either the desires of the flesh or the Spirit. It’s either one way or the other. There is no in between.
Paul says it best:
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:17
Billy Graham once wrote:
All believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit. This does not mean, however, that they are controlled by the Spirit.
Daily we all experience situations that remind us of this heart issue. Driving simply highlights this phenomenon. Maybe we choose to make eye contact with that merging driver who is looking for someone to give way. So with a soft heart, we humbly yield to him. At other times, we choose to avoid any and all eye contact in order to firmly hold our own position on the road.
And this can be true of any and all relationships. Remember? Hearts of stone don’t budge. We yield or we don’t. And perfect practice makes perfect. Whether I yield to the Spirit or I yield to my selfish desires, the easier it gets.
As Oswald Chambers says:
Oh! To have God reign and control over this willful spirit of mine! And so, Paul encourages the Galatians:
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25
Yielded. Pliable to the heart of God. Following the Spirit’s lead. The choice is ours. We are what we choose to be. Yielding or unyielding to Him. Flesh or stone. Humble or proud. In step or out of step.
Where is He asking you to yield today?
Friends, together let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Lord God, I praise You for the gift of Your Spirit. You are so good to us. In Your goodness and mercy, You have not left us alone, but have given us Your Helper. May my heart yield to You and give way to Your heart… forever and always. I want to be more like You, Jesus. Have Your way. Have Your way.