Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Sword of Change

As I read my Bible this morning and thought through the ideas of justification (initial salvation) and sanctification (the working out of salvation), the word, "yield" came to mind.

The Bible word, "yield," is "to present: to place an another's disposal." In other words, it's to make one's self available, ready, useful. When I yield to my own desires, I do what I want to do. I use my resources--my body, time, money, energy--to reach a task or goal. It might be exercise, strawberry milk, time on Facebook, or lying on the couch. When I yield to God's desires, I give myself to do what He would have me do: help others, read His Word, take a difficult step of obedience.

The fabulous thing about God is that He doesn't leave us to ourselves. He has given us grace to obey, grace to yield, grace to walk in righteousness. That grace is primarily available in the Holy Spirit: "If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness." (Romans 8:10). The Holy Spirit gives me the want to and the to do (Philippians 2:13), but I must yield. I choose whom I will serve, what I will give myself to, where I will spend my resources, what I deem important.

And this is where the word, "wield," comes to bear. Wield is the opposite of yield. When we had small children, a voice came from under the bed one night, "My name is Gladys. My sword shall wield for me." We still laugh when we tell the story and remember our spinster friend, Gladys, who never wielded a sword in her life. But God's Word wields great power--it commands, takes charge, works on the offensive.

As we yield to God's Word and way in our lives, we will find He wields more and more influence over our hearts, desires, choices and character. Little by little, we will become like Him, "being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. (Romans 6:8-19 NASB)

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