VERSE: “His servants ye are to whom ye obey.” Romans 6:16
OSWALD: “Yield in childhood to selfishness, and you will find it the most enchaining tyranny on earth. There is no power in the human soul of itself to break the bondage of a disposition formed by yielding. Yield for one second to anything in the nature of lust (remember what lust is: ‘I must have it at once,’ whether it be the lust of the flesh or the lust of the mind) – once yield and though you may hate yourself for having yielded, you are a bondslave to that thing.”- (March 14th)
MY THOUGHT: Yielding. I like to think that I’m yielded completely to God, but this week I came across a disturbing “citadel of obstinacy” (as Oswald calls the hidden rebellion of our souls).
The realization came during the first video of Beth Moore’s study on Daniel. Towards the end of the session, Beth challenged us to fast from something for the next 5-6 weeks as Daniel fasted from the Babylonian king’s delicacies.
A grand idea, I thought. A wonderful spiritual discipline. But then as I began to go through in my mind the things I might give up for a month and a half, I suddenly met resistance.
Going vegetarian as Daniel did simply wasn’t an option, my Flesh Woman informed my soul. “You don’t do well without a lot of protein,” she reasoned, reminding me of the mean, snarling beast I tend to become when I subsist on nothing but romaine lettuce, sweet peppers and black beans.
She had a lot of evidence to support her thesis. Just a week before, I’d felt called to fast in prayer for a certain situation, but rather than spending a glorious day in the presence of the Lord, I spent a weary day wrestling with my appetite from morning until night. My stomach growled, my head ached and everywhere I looked there were advertisements for delicious foods.
I made it through the 24 hours without giving in, but to be honest, it didn’t feel like a victory. Only a temporary timeout with my flesh just barely held at bay.
Oswald warns us about giving into lust: that “I must have it at once” tendency we all struggle with in some area of our lives. “Yield for one second to anything in the nature of lust,” he reminds us, “…and though you may hate yourself for having yielded, you are a bondslave to that thing.”
How do we know whether or not we are enslaved? “You find this out in the most ridiculously small ways – [you say] ‘Oh, I can give that habit up when I like,’” Oswald writes. “You cannot, you will find that the habit absolutely dominates you because you yielded to it willingly. It is easy to sing – ‘He will break every fetter’ and at the same time living a life of obvious slavery to yourself.”
What area of your life has become a stronghold after yielding to it time and time again? What area have you assumed would be easy to give up until you tried to lay it down?
There is only one answer to the slavery formed by yielding. Yield yourself to Jesus. For only He can break your captivity. But we must cooperate as well. Crucifying the flesh won’t be easy. In fact, your stomach may growl and your head may ache. I can promise you that your lower nature will find a thousand excuses why yielding to God just couldn’t and wouldn’t be wise.
But as you say yes to God, the power of the Holy Spirit will begin to do what you could never do on your own. For “yielding to Jesus will break every form of slavery in any human life.”