Last weekend, we wrapped up an exciting Cell Month campaign for the month of July. Here are some follow-up thoughts in line with the theme of Discipleship, taken from Derek Prince’s book entitled, “The Grace of Yielding.” We’re often taught concerning the price of discipleship; but there’s also grace and reward in responding to God’s call.
1. The Test of Yielding
The more willing we are in yielding our all to the Lord, the easier it becomes for Him to reveal His will and ways. It’s possible to maintain a firm grip on activities or position that results in having a work for God, rather than an all-consuming focus for God Himself. As Corrie Ten Boom puts it, “We must not grasp things too tightly, lest our fingers get hurt when He prises them from us.”
Sacrifice, surrender and submission become natural responses when we come to know the depths of our Heavenly Father’s love. This measure of love must be understood. It’s a love which conforms to God’s standard, a love that’s sacrificial and purged of self-seeking.
“Sacrifice” reveals a positive colouring and purpose from its origin. It comes from two Latin words – Sacr and Sanct, which means to “make holy”. Abraham passed the test of faith by proving his love for God in his willingness to offer Isaac at Mount Moriah. God said to him, “Now I know that you love Me, because you have not withheld your son from Me” (Gen 22:12).
2. The Joy of Yielding
The ability to yield with joy demonstrates a love that’s tested and proven, especially through times of difficulty. Such yielding can be likened to a candle melting in the process of giving light. “Certainly virtue is like precious odours, most fragrant when they’re incensed or crushed.” (Francis Bacon, “Of Adversity”)
“Glad self-denial” is the aroma of George Mueller’s Calvinism. He said, “Whatever be done… in the way of giving up, or self-denial, or deadness to the world, should result from the joy we’ve in God.” How can there be such a thing? He answers, “Self-denial is not so much an impoverishment as a postponement: we make a sacrifice of a present good for the sake of a future and greater good.” John Piper writes in his book, “A Camaraderie of Confidence” – “Therefore, happiness in God is of ‘supreme importance’ because it’s the key to love that sacrifices and takes risks.”
3. The Fruit of Yielding
Paul teaches us a paradoxical truth in 1 Cor 15:36: “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” Jesus illustrated this same principle as expressed in John’s Gospel. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” (John 12:24-25) There’s an example of a minister who developed an exceptionally-strong burden to help young people. The time came when this calling led him to devote his life towards this work. This minister tendered his resignation from his denominational organisation. As he and his wife were driving back from this difficult meeting, they met with a horrific accident. The minister’s wife was now lying lifeless alongside the road.
Within the space of a few hours, this man had lost the two most precious things in his life – his wife and his ministry. How many of us can identify with these moments of contradiction where there appears to be a death of a vision, dream, promise or even a loved one? It was at this moment of utter desolation where he heard the voice of the Lord in a way he had never known before. “Will you still follow Me?” This was similar to the question the Lord asked Peter at a time when many turned back due to the cost of following Him. Like Peter, this minister reaffirmed his willingness to follow the Lord, no matter what the cost was.
The Lord then spoke to him a second time: “Pray for your wife.” A desperate battle ensued, before life began returning into his wife’s body. Eventually, she was fully restored. Does the name “Loren Cunningham” sound familiar to you? Together with his wife, Darlene, the Cunninghams went on to found Youth With A Mission (YWAM); an organisation that has reached millions of young people around the world.
We may not have the dramatic experience and global impact of a Loren Cunningham. As a disciple of Christ, how’d you respond to such challenging and defining moments? Will you be able to respond to the Lord favourably when He asks, “Will you still follow Me?” May God help us to experience the joy and fruit of yielding daily to His grace.