You can't live the Christian life in your own strength. The only way to experience the fullness of God's joy and love is by abiding in Jesus. As Jesus promised: "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who remains in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
Then what does it mean to abide in Christ? One crucial aspect is maintaining a yielded heart. As Jesus promised: "If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, even as I have kept My Father's commandments and remain in His love" (John 15:10).
Here, Jesus calls each of us to genuine abandonment and surrender to God. That high call always leads humanity to a decision. Our choice, in turn, decides our identity—we become one who abides in Christ or one who neglects Him; one who "gathers with Him" or one who "scatters abroad" (see Matt. 12:30).Tragically, much of the modern Western church rarely teaches about this call of the yielded heart, opting to teach instead about ego and self-fulfillment. As a result, many Christians have forfeited their strength, forgotten their identity and lost their prophetic voice.
The Consequences of an Unyielded Heart
When the church neglects to yield all to Jesus, the desires of this present life consume it. Jesus becomes a means to an end rather than its primary obsession. In turn, human energy supplants heavenly grace. The form of godliness may strengthen, but the power of eternal life wanes (see 2 Tim. 3:5).
Many Christians and even ministers live in this lifeless state, void of the breath of eternity. Because they've neglected the yielded heart, they've stopped living from intimacy with Jesus and now operate by mere religious behavior patterns based on past instruction or experience.
We must not let this spiritual sleepiness overtake us. We must constantly remind ourselves of how Jesus calls us to live and walk. Then, we must "press toward the goal to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14).
Our mortal bodies might be landlocked because of the fall of man, but our Spirit-man is set free through ongoing and revelatory intimacy with Jesus Christ. Jesus has invited us to His table and provided us with every needed grace—our only hindrance is that we neglect to abide in Him.
The Purpose of Outpouring
The Lord loves to bless and help His children by His grace, pouring out His glory and holiness among us. But our natural response to that outpouring should always be total surrender. When the church sees Jesus as He is, the greatness of His glory and love makes us willing to abandon all for His purposes!
That place of heavenly encounter is where we begin down the path of transformation. There, we learn that discipleship is not a mere bracing of responsibility, but a response to God's ability. When we respond to God's ability in us, grace flows like a flood into our hearts, giving us all we need to yield our lives to God—even "all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Pet. 1:3).
The Cross and the Call to Transformative Intimacy
That's why Jesus gave His life on the cross. Jesus so loved us that He sacrificed His life so we'd experience His love and live in constant obedient communion with Him.
Now, as Hannah Whitall Smith said, "If we will only surrender ourselves to the Lord, and will trust Him perfectly, we shall find our souls mounting up with wings as eagles to the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, where earthly annoyances or sorrows have no power to disturb us."
As Andrew Murray proclaimed: "God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him!"
Today God is beckoning us to flee the company of those who only worship Him at a distance. He invites us to the inner-place of true intimacy where our hearts continuously burn with total abandonment to Him. I'd like to briefly share eight ways you can stay in that place.
Eight Ways to Maintain a Yielded Heart
1. To maintain a yielded heart, don't contend with the Spirit of God. Fully yield and surrender to Him daily.
2. Don't allow the enemy or your lustful appetites to lead you down the pathways of this world.
3. Be a pursuer of God, no matter where it leads or what it costs.
4. Know that God desires to pour His Spirit upon you in ever-increasing measures.
5. Guard your devotional life with fervency! Don't neglect your first love!
6. Value the call of God upon your life. Realize that He called you for His glory, not your own (though you get to share in the eternal joy that calling brings).
7. Guard your communication. Poisonous communication clogs the wells of God in our lives. We must surrender our tongues to the Lord.
8. Avoid a distracted life. Understand and embrace the fact that you have been bought with a price—the very blood of Jesus!—and live accordingly.
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