Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Romans 6:13 -- On Yielding to God

"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."
Romans 6:13

I think we are usually on board with not yielding to sin, but I think much less often with the whole yielding ourselves to God part.  We think somehow that we can have both... that we can live the gospel, but keep ourselves... we want to do it our way instead of God's way.  A quotation by Howard W. Hunter speaks to this: "Peace can come to an individual only by an unconditional surrender--surrender to him who is the Prince of peace."  C. S. Lewis similarly said "If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell."
"Unconditional Surrender" and "Yielding" and even giving up our souvenirs... it's all scary.  So much of our lives are about figuring out who *we* are and what *we* want, juggling our own tasks and managing our own stress levels.  Yeah, sometimes we can't handle it and at those times it is a relief to turn to God and let him take our burdens, but the rest of the time, no.  We fight for them, and think that our "selves" are in danger if we let go all the way.
What we don't realize I think is that we are constantly at war with God.  Every day we are fighting him about so many things.  We know this or that isn't good, but we want to anyway.  We know we should be nicer, but... hey, that's just how I roll.  We're willing to give up those sins that we think hurt us or get in our ways, but the rest of them can wait.  We're not finished playing with them yet.  And we know... we *know.*  In the back of our minds we know that we have to give it all up at some point.  Let it go, grow up, whatever it is... but it seems horrible and scary to have to do that.  It's like sins are LEGOs, and we still want to play with them, and why should we have to give them up anyway?  We're trying to hold onto fun or childhood or a little immaturity or whatever.  And we don't want to be robots or go to boring heaven or join the stepford wives' club anyway.  So many things that we say to ourselves to justify.
The thing is, if we actually do it... if we actually let go of ourselves and surrender in our war with God unconditionally... if we let him win... we find out that all of that worry and drama was just a tantrum.  We're fighting over nothing at all.  Because giving into God doesn't take our selves away.  Instead it enables us to be our best selves.  "As those that are alive from the dead" ... he gave us new life, and all that newness and goodness in his hands can be so much more.  Yielding doesn't take fun away at all... in fact life is usually a lot *more* fun.  Sins are like playing with battery acid, not like LEGOs at all, and God wants us to be creative and imaginative and to enjoy life.  God isn't turning us into robots.  He is helping us grow and learn and excel, and the more we let go and allow him to do that, the more we learn to be like him.  Not in a Skynet or Borg way, but in a parent-child way.  Today, as hard as it seems... as hard as the words sound in our society... let's surrender in our war against God.  Unconditionally.  Let's yield our wills and our selves to him, and watch and see how he makes us so much better than we could ever make ourselves.

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