Abiding in Christ — Chapter 09

Chapter 9

Abiding And Yielding

 

Scripture for Meditation: Romans 6:13

I want to put each reader to a little test.  We all sing the hymn, “Oh how I love Jesus,” but how do we know if we really mean it?  Before you open your Bible and consider the subject of abiding and yielding, are you willing to make a commitment to do whatever the Bible says?  Are you willing to submit to God’s Word, or are you just playing religious games?  Are you pursuing information or a Person?  Is your study of the Scriptures an intellectual pursuit or a spiritual pursuit?  This is a good test.  Do you love Jesus?  How can you tell?  Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15).

 

Yielding of Self

In this study we have been looking at the subject of abiding in Christ and our relationship to Him as a branch to the Vine.  In this chapter we want to look at the important subject of yielding.  Are we yielded to the Vine?

In Romans chapter six (this is where we began this series of studies) there are three important words.  First Paul says that we must know something.  In verse six, he wants us to know that our old man was crucified and that we have been raised up as new creatures in Christ.  This speaks of our union with Jesus Christ.  We have been placed in Christ, and are one with Him.  We are united with Him in His death, His burial and also in His resurrection.  God wants us to know that.

In Romans 6:11, Paul uses another extremely important word: reckon.  He says, “reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  This word conveys the idea of faith.  Reckon means to count it as a fact.  It is one thing to know (intellectually) that we have been united with Christ in His death, burial and His resurrection.  It is another thing to believe it.  We are told to believe we are no longer slaves to sin, and that we are free from sin because of what Jesus did (Rom. 6:7).  We are also to believe that we are now resurrected with Christ and able to walk in newness of life.  That is a wonderfully liberating thought.  God wants us to believe it… to count it as a fact… to trust in it.

Next, Paul presents to us a third important word in Romans 6:13: yield.  He says, “yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead…” (Rom. 6:13).  He says that if you really believe that you are alive from the dead, if you really believe God has saved you and made you a new creature, then your responsibility is to yield yourself unto God.  That is the term we want to concentrate on here–yieldedness.

It is one thing to know these things.  It is another thing to practice them.  What does it mean to yield?  This is an interesting term.  It is used in lots of different contexts in the Bible.  For example, Paul tells us we are to yield ourselves unto God.  We are to yield our members, the physical members of our body–our mind, our mouth, our hands, our eyes, our tongues, our ears, our feet, everything.  We are to yield them to God.  This is the term that is used in the gospel of Luke where it says that Mary took Jesus to the Temple and presented Him there before the Lord.  That word present is the same word as translated yield in Rom.6:13.  She turned Jesus over to God.   He is yours, Lord!  It is the same word used when Paul was taken in chains by the soldiers and brought to Caesarea.  It says they presented him before the king.  These soldiers yielded Paul over and said king, he is yours.  Do whatever you want with him.  You are in charge.  It is the same term that is used in II Corinthians 11, where as the father of the bride, Paul says I want to ‘present’ you as a chaste virgin unto your new husband.  There it contains the idea of a father releasing the authority of his daughter over to her new husband.  He surrenders this young girl over to another man, a new authority.

God says I want you to do that to yourselves.  I want you to yield yourselves over to God.  That means we give full control to God of what my hands do, of where my feet go, or what my tongue says, what my ears listen to, what my eyes look at.  I have to surrender absolute control over to God.  That is exactly what the Lord is expecting of us here–total surrender.

If you look at Romans 12:1, the very same term is used again only it is translated very differently.  Paul says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”  Here Paul says we are to present our bodies.  This is the same word as yield in Romans 6:13.  It means to turn over authority to another.  In Romans 6, Paul was using the illustration of a slave yielding all authority over to his master.  Paul uses the same term here of turning over authority, presenting ourselves at someone else’s disposal.  However, instead of using the idea of a slave presenting himself or turning himself over to his master, he uses this illustration of a sacrifice that is turned over and placed upon the altar.  This is the kind of illustration God wants to get across to everyone of us.  We are to present our bodies to God.  We are to present our body, our self (all that we are and have), over to Him.

Romans 12:1 begins with the words, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God.”  What is the basis of this request?  God is not saying, I demand that you do this or else.  He is not saying that if you are not yielded, you will not enter Heaven.  Rather he exhorts on the basis of MERCY and grace. The infinite mercies of God, which results in our justification, were already described in the previous chapters in Romans.  God says to His dear child, I saved you.  I justified you by nothing other than simple childlike faith.  I have made you accepted in the Beloved.  I have forgiven your sins.  I have seated you in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  All of this was based upon the mercy of God.  None of it was because of human merit.  Now God says that because of the infinite mercy that you have received from Me, it is only reasonable to yield to Me.  It is only a reasonable service that you present your body a living sacrifice.

What Paul is saying in Romans 12 is that when God exhorts us to holy living, it is always on the basis of our union with Christ, which is eternal and unalterable.  God has placed us in Christ.  We are forgiven.  We are citizens of Heaven.  That is never going to change.  It is all because of God’s grace and mercy.  Once that is settled, once we know this, (that we are in Christ, we died with Him, we are alive unto God in Christ) then on that basis alone God urges us to present our body a living sacrifice. Yielding is ever the way of grace.  God says because you have every spiritual blessing already, obey Me.  Because I have blessed you with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places already, on that basis I want you to yield your members unto me. God exhorts us to a holy condition of life, but that exhortation is always based upon our position in Christ.  He says because you have received the mercies of God, therefore present (yield) yourselves as a living sacrifice.

Consider how God sees us.  We are to be a living sacrifice, that is, a walking dead man!  A sacrifice is something that is slain.  It is dead.  It is offered unto God–and yet at the same time it is alive.  We are living sacrifices.  Notice also that Paul says we are to present our body to God.  Paul makes an analogy–the consecration (yielding) of a believer’s life to the Lord is like the slaying and offering up of an animal sacrifice on an altar. What is it that was put on the altar when they were offered?  It was the lamb.  It was his body.  He was not there in spirit only.  He was there physically.  The worshipper slew the physical lamb and then placed it on the altar and it was burned.  Paul likens our lives to that slain animal that was offered as the sacrifice and burnt.

There is something about a burnt offering that is instructive to us. When that animal was placed on the altar of burnt offering it was totally consumed.  It was entirely turned to ashes.  With some offerings the priest got to keep and eat a portion, but not the burnt offering.  The burnt offering was placed on the altar and was totally consumed and turned to ashes.  There was nothing left for the one that offered it to eat.  When we offer ourselves on the altar, it does not mean we are to reckon ourselves sick or weak unto sin.  We are to reckon ourselves dead.  That means totally dead.  There is none of self left.

Notice that in this offering, we are both the priest and the sacrifice.  We are to offer ourselves.  Since WE present our bodies unto God, such an offering involves our will.  It means we have to choose to do this.  In the Old Testament offerings, the animal did not volunteer to have his throat slit and to be burnt on the altar.  He was grabbed and led away.  When we offer ourselves, it does involve the will.  We are saying, God I WANT to be offered unto you.  Notice also that it is a service unto the Lord.  It is a reasonable service.  We are offering everything that we have, and everything we are, unto God in order to worship Him and serve Him.

Paul tells us that we are like a living sacrifice.  We offer our whole life, our whole being, everything we are, and everything we have.  Would it not be nice if we could do it once and it was all over?  In one sense the martyrs had it easy.  They died in a moment and went to heaven. Their struggles were all over.  I am convinced that it is much more difficult to live for the Lord than it is to die for the Lord. Death lasts but a moment and ushers the believer into glory.  However, to live a selfless, sacrificial life for the Lord, every waking moment of every single day is another story! To reckon self to be dead (all our ambitions and plans) and to live exclusively for God’s service is a lifelong pursuit.  It is hard to live that way everyday.  We are to be yielded unto God moment by moment.  This is our reasonable service.  “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:19-20).  He bought us.  He paid an infinite price to redeem us from sin.  We are no longer our own.  When we offer all that we have to God it is only a reasonable service.  It is His anyway.  But note the tender way in which God approaches this subject.  God does not say I demand this of you or you are going to lose your salvation!  Rather, under grace God says, I beseech you.  That word (beseech) is sometimes translated comfort.  It is sometimes translated exhort.  It is like God is putting His arm around us and reasoning with us as a loving Father.  It is reasonable!  We put our all on the altar, not because we have to or else.  It is done rather because the mercies of God that grip our heart.  We realize that in light of what Jesus did for us, it is only reasonable that we should offer our all on the altar.  Do you know what that offering then becomes?  It is a love offering.  If I have to do it, it could be considered a heavy burden. Yet when I do it out of grace (when the mercies of God grip my heart and I realize how much God has done for me, how He has forgiven me, how He has saved me) then it is only a reasonable service.  As we abide in Christ, God demands total surrender. Total surrender is not a burden if we know Jesus Christ.  If we love Him with all our heart, being totally abandoned to the will of the One we love so much, it is not a burden at all.

It is a delight to be totally surrendered into the arms of the One we love… into the arms of One who loves us with an everlasting love!  Yet this concept of total surrender can be pretty intimidating, can it not?  When you put that sacrifice on the altar and light up the fires you lose control of it.  It is no longer yours.  You have no more authority over it once it is placed on the altar.  It is completely yielded over to the authority of someone else.  By nature we lust after authority.  By nature we crave to be the king of our own lives.  We crave to have the steering wheel in our hands, to have control of the throttle, to have control of the brakes, to be able to press all the buttons.  We like to be in charge.  We like our cars in America, don’t we?  Our cars put us in control.  We are not restricted to going just where the bus drops us off.  We can hop in the car and go anywhere we want.  We like money in America, too.  Not because the paper pleases us, but we like the power it gives us.  We feel in control, able to do what we please.

To be absolutely surrendered to the will of Another is very intimidating for us.  You see, self does not like to die on the altar.  Self does not like to lie in a casket.  It is a fearful thing.  Do you know what the Devil would like each of us to believe?  He wants to convince us that if we are totally surrendered to God, the Lord will make our life miserable.  Is not that what we think?  If I yield myself totally to God, then He is going to take all my fun, all my money, and will send me to some deserted corner of a desert somewhere for the rest of my life.  That is an awful view of God!  Do you really think God is like that?   Is not that what Satan said to Eve in the garden?  He tried to convince her that God was not really out for her “best” interest (Gen. 3:1-5).  You see, God does not want you to have that one special tree because He knows if you eat of that you will be like Him.  He is holding back some very good things from you.  If you do what He says you are not going to be as happy as if you do your own thing.  The Devil convinces us that absolute surrender of our life over to the Lord Jesus Christ results in a life of misery.  Yet what does the Bible say?  What kind of life does Jesus offer when we are totally surrendered?  It is an abundant life, a fruitful life, full of the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, etc.

Some strange views of Romans 12:1-2 have arisen.   Some look at Romans 12 and think that what Paul is really calling for here is one single act of consecration, wherein we come to a crisis point in our lives and we decide to surrender to God.  We do it once, and it is over.  Perhaps it will occur during an altar call.  We walk down to the front of the church and we have finally consecrated our life unto God.  Finally it is all over.  Do you know what those folks discover?  Two days later they are struggling with the same sins all over again.  They have to walk back down the aisle.  As you look a little closer in many of these places, you discover that the same people are walking the aisle time and time again.

In Romans 12:1, God is not saying we are to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God once and for all. Moment by moment, every day we should maintain the attitude of presenting ourselves unto God.  That is what soldiers do.  They wake up each morning and present themselves to their commander-in-chief–every single day. Perhaps you have made that decision to consecrate yourself unto the Lord.  Maybe you have decided to surrender the authority of your eyes, ears, tongue, and hands over to God.  Do you know how the old self-life will respond?  It is going to try to pull self right back off the altar.  Self does not like the feel of the flames.  Self does not like to die.  A yielded heart is one that is moment by moment yielding itself to the Lord. God requires a continuous attitude of yielding or “presenting.” During those times when the flames begin to heat up, it is not so easy to be totally surrendered to the Lord.  When you want to pull yourself off the altar and get back control of you life, that is when you need to be reminded of Romans 12:1.  We have to present ourselves as a living sacrifice and (by faith) KEEP self on the altar. There will be a constant battle to reverse that choice.  But there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, than to trust, yield, and obey.

Notice the result of a yielded life.  In Romans 12:2 Paul says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove [or practice] what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  What Paul is telling us in this passage is that as we yield ourselves to God, a transformation is taking place in our lives.  As we surrender, as we totally yield ourselves unto the Lord and to His service, we are going to be transformed.  We will not be conformed to the world, but transformed into the image of Christ.  We are going to have our minds renewed day by day, growing more and more like the mind of Christ.  That is spiritual growth.  That is spiritual progress.  It is entirely linked to absolute surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord.  It has nothing to do with becoming a Christian.  At this point I would strongly disagree with “Lordship Salvation” folks.  Yielded, absolute surrender is not how we become saved.  It has nothing to do with the spiritual birth.  It has to do with spiritual growth.  When it comes to spiritual growth, if we want to be transformed, if we want to be like the Lord Jesus, if we want our mind renewed moment by moment, then we must be totally surrendered to Christ.  Just as a branch is totally surrendered to the Vine, so we must be surrendered to the Lord.  As it yields, surrenders, and is totally dependent on the Vine, the life of the Vine flows through the branch, and fruit is produced.  Apart from the Vine, Jesus says we can do nothing.  He means it.

God demands nothing short of absolute surrender.  I suppose it is a good thing for us to think about this question.  Can I ever really be totally surrendered to God?  Is it possible?  Does not Jeremiah 17:9 say that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  We cannot even know the depth of the depravity of our own heart.  We might think we are totally surrendered, but there may be 1,001 areas in our lives where we need repentance, where we are not in factsurrendered.  Well, take heart!  There is good news. Psalm 103:14 says, “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”  God knows our frailties.  He knows what we are made of.  If God showed me the totality of the depravity of my heart all at once, if He gave me a list of the infinite ways in which I come short of His glory, I would fall over dead in discouragement!   Man at his best is altogether vanity.  Jesus said that out of the hearts come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, thefts, and blasphemies.  The good news is that God is infinitely gracious with us all.  He is a Father. God deals with us as a father pities his children.  He takes us one step at a time.  He does not show us ALL the ways in which we come short of His glory all at once. He points out just one step at a time, like a father with his son.  If you have a newborn baby, do you spank him because his English is poor, or because he drools?  I hope not.  A father does not expect instant maturity from a little child.  But if that father loves his child, he is going to lead him one step at a time.  In time, he will teach him how to speak English properly.  In time, he will teach him how to take that first step.  He will show him all these things, but he is not going to bury him with everything all at once.  He does not expect “everything” at once.  That is not how God deals with us either.

Life is God’s university.  When He corrects us in one area of our life, then it will be time to be corrected in another area. He will then shine the light in another area.  When God shines the light in some dark corner of my heart (a corner that I was not even aware of) I now become responsible to respond.  At that point, I am to yield and obey.  There may be 1,000 other areas that need to be revealed, that need to be changed, but thankfully, God deals with me one step at a time. You see, spiritual growth is a never-ending process. First God shines the light of His Word in my heart and then He expects me to change.  When I learn to take that step, He shines the light somewhere else.  When I respond in faith, obey, repent and change, He shines the light somewhere else.

It hurts all along the way.  Nobody likes to have the light shine on the sin of his or her heart.  Do you know what God does?  He convicts us.  He shows us areas where we lack.  It hurts to be convicted.  God makes us miserable over our sin, so that we will be so miserable that we will want something better.  We will want a pure conscience.  We will crave for cleanliness.  We will want to repent.  Our new nature LOVES holiness and purity.

In Psalm 139 we have the words of a man whose heart is finally yielded.  David said in verse 23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.”  David prayed this because he did not know his own heart.  There are so many failures and dark spots in our hearts that we are unaware of them all.  David is saying, Lord search me.  You know my heart.  Try me or test me, and not only my heart but my thoughts.  You know my thought life.  See if there be any wicked way in me.  God knew the wicked ways in David’s thought life much better than David did. Do you want to hear the response of a yielded heart?  David said, Show me, Lord.  That is yieldedness.  He said in verse 24, “see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  David is saying in essence, God I know my heart is wicked.  I know there is so much more improvement that needs to be made.  I know there are so many areas that need to be confessed, and I am not even aware of them all.  Lord, You show me.  Lead me.  I want to be clean!

The gross sins in our lives (those external sins) are pretty easy to see.  The sins of the heart, the thought life, the sins of our attitudes, our motives, and our intentions are far more difficult for us to discern.  God knows it all.  Therefore, David asks the Lord to search him.  Shine the light on my heart. Lord, I am dealing with some difficult  issues in my life and I am not sure if I am thinking the right kinds of thoughts.  Lord, help me!  That is the attitude of a yielded heart.  It does not mean a yielded heart is sinlessly perfect.  It simply means that if there is any sin we are willing to turn it over when God makes it known to us.  When the Holy Spirit convicts us, if we are yielded, we will respond.  We will surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our daily life.  We will yield.  We will abide.  If He shows us we have been broken off from the communion of the Vine, then we will confess our sin and come back right where we ought to be.  You see, heart attitude is everything with God–everything!

Are we willing to accept God’s rebuke in our life–and yield?  Are we willing to admit that there may be something wrong in our heart?  Are we willing to admit that our attitude may not be what it ought to be?  Are we willing to accept that our thought life is not as pure as it ought to be?  If God shines the light of His Word (and that is why we need to be in the Word daily), into any crevice of our heart, we need to be willing to say, Yes Lord, you are right.  I surrender. That is a yielded heart.

God may speak to us (through His Word) about the use of our tongue.  Perhaps we have not been using it to administer grace.  Then we should say, Lord you are right.  I surrender.

God may speak to us (through His Word!) about the use of our money.  Maybe we have been using it in selfish ways, and have not used it to help others, or to support missionaries.  Maybe God wants to convict our heart.  When He does, we need to be willing to say, Lord, I surrender.  You are right. Take my silver and my gold.  Not a mite would I withhold.

God may speak to us about the use of our time.  Perhaps we have been wasting it.  Maybe God wants us to use our time more effectively for Him in His service.  It is only reasonable.  If God’s Spirit speaks to our heart and shines the light of His Word into any part of our life, and we are yielded, then we need to say, Yes Lord, I want to change.  And by Your grace I will!

Maybe God is speaking to us about some personal relationship that needs to be changed.  If we are yielded and totally surrendered to God, then we will be willing to obey.  Maybe it is your relationship to your spouse.  Maybe there is some bitterness there.  Maybe there are some unresolved issues in your own family that need to be taken care of.  If our heart is right with God, then respond!

Now I hope you are not discouraged.  Perhaps it seems like you are always convicted. When one is always convicted, it is very easy to develop a “poor me” attitude.  Oh, poor me, I cannot do anything right.  I will never make it as a Christian.  I would like to suggest that if you are always convicted by the Spirit of God, then you should praise the Lord. You see, the heart that is close to God is sensitive to sin.  It is when we are closest to God that we are the most miserable about our sin.  However, do not just feelmiserable and walk away.  Do not be like the man in the book of James who looks in the mirror of God’s Word, sees that his face is dirty, feels terrible, but walks away and DOES nothing about it.  DO something about it.  It is good to be convicted by our sin because it can result in transformation.  The experience that Paul went through in Romans chapter seven was good for Paul.  He said he wanted to do what was right but that he always ended up doing that which was wrong.  The bad things he did not want to do, he ended up doing.  He said, “Oh wretched man that I am.”  That is a good place to be.  Do you know why?  Because when he finally discovered the wretchedness of his own heart, the total inability of his flesh, then he surrendered to Jesus Christ and trusted in Him alone to work in him.  Thank God through our Lord Jesus Christ!  He delivered me!  (See Rom. 7:24-25.)

 

Yielding and Fruit Bearing

When we are surrendered, we are like that branch that is yielded to the Vine.  Do you know what the happy result is of such yielding?  Fruit!  It is a tough job being a branch.  The Father prunes back those branches.  Do you know what pruning means?  Cutting!  Ouch!  That hurts.  You know, the Christian life ought to be a happy life.  It ought to be a joyous life.  It ought to be an abundant life.  If it is not, this is the first place to check.  Am I really totally surrendered to God?  It is not enough just to be saved.  Oh, it is enough to get us to Heaven, but more is required for spiritual growth.  God does not want us to just possess eternal life.  He wants us to lay hold of eternal life, as Paul told Timothy (I Tim. 6:12).  He wants us to enjoy the abundant life we have in Christ.  The only way to do that is to allow the mercies of God to so grip our hearts that we are willing to present our bodies a living sacrifice.

It is very possible to be genuinely saved and not be surrendered to the Lord–not living by faith, not walking in obedience.  That is the carnal Christian.  But in that condition, the branch broken away from the Vine will never produce fruit.  You do not break a branch off a vine and expect it to be healthy and fruitful.  It is going to dry up and wither. Apart from Me, Jesus said, you can do nothing.

In Galatians 5:22 and 23 Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit.  This fruit should characterize our lives. This is the normal Christian life: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, or self-control.  If this does not characterize our life there is a heart problem.  Something is not right.  Fruit is the norm–the fruit of the Spirit.  And how is it that the fruit of the Spirit is manifested in our lives?  We have to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit.  What do we have to do in order to be filled with the Spirit?  Should we have some charismatic preacher zap us on the forehead?  No!  God wants us to surrender our will and yield to Him!  That is it.  Total abandonment of self to God. If that is the case, we ARE filled with the Spirit.  When that branch is rightly related to the Vine, the life of the Vine is going to flow through the branch.  The love, the joy and everything that Vine is and possesses are going to be flowing through us.  To experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit, we have to be filled with the Spirit.  To be filled with the Spirit we have to be totally surrendered to God.

Do you know what else we are going to enjoy as we surrender to the Lord?  In John 15:7, Jesus says, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”  What a privilege this is.  Jesus says here, if you want answered prayer, you must abide in Me and My words must abide in you.  In other words, if we want God to answer our prayers, we need to be totally surrendered to Him.  We must be like a branch abiding in the Vine, yielded, continuing in that place of communion and fellowship with nothing between our Savior and us. Only then will our prayers be answered.  Does not that make sense?  Jesus answers the prayers of those that love Him and who abide in fellowship with Him.

When we are abiding in Christ, what is our attitude?  “Not I but Christ!”  How did Jesus pray?  How did the Vine pray?  As He looked at the cross and the suffering involved He said, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Lk. 22:42).  He went to the cross and experienced unparalleled agony in carrying out the will of His Father. He was obedient even unto death. He prayed, “Thy will be done.” When we are totally surrendered to God, His will is everything.  Paul wrote, “For me to live is Christ.”  John 15:7 is not a blank check to gratify the flesh.  It is rather a word of exhortation and encouragement for those that have died unto self and are alive unto God.  When we are in that relationship of communion, expect wonderful things from God, including answered prayer.  The secret of answered prayer is close, intimate, personal relationship to the Vine.

It says in John 15:11, “These things have I spoken unto you.”  What are these things?  “These things” refer to the whole illustration about the branch and the Vine, all the things Jesus had been teaching concerning the Vine and the branches abiding in the Vine.  Jesus has one main purpose for all of this, “that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”  As we abide in Christ, we can expect joy.  What kind of joy can we expect?  It is not the kind of joy that comes from winning Megabucks.  It is not the fleshly, self-gratifying kind of joy that the world has to offer–a joy that is dependent on circumstances favorable to self.  The kind of joy that we receive is His joy.  It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  It does not necessarily mean a happy, painless existence.  Remember, Jesus was a man of sorrow.  He grieved over many horrible experiences in His earthly life.  He grieved over sin.  He grieved over death.  Yet through it all He had the joy of the Lord.  It never departed from Him.  Joy and grief can coexist.

Notice that John 15:11 says that His joy can be fulfilled in us.  We are not given a set amount, which when used up leaves our tank empty. We can be filled just like that branch that is abiding on the Vine is FILLED with the life, the sap, the love, and the joy of the Vine.  It is continually filled with what the Vine has.  What was Christ’s joy?  It was to do the will of His Father.  That is all He wanted.  That is all that made Him happy, whether it was preaching the gospel, healing the sick, or dying on the cross. Jesus’ joy was to please and satisfy His Father.  It was fullness of joy.  That is what we can experience when we are totally surrendered to God.  In His presence there is fullness of joy.  Not just an ounce–but fullness!  We are filled with the fullness of God when we are totally surrendered to the Lord.

This kind of joy is not for every Christian.  This kind of joy is reserved only for those that are yielded–totally surrendered.  Read I John.  He begins that epistle by saying, “that your joy may be full” (I Jn. 1:4).  This joy comes through “fellowship with him”–the Son (I Jn. 1:6).  That is what joy is all about–communion with the Vine, fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. When David sinned, He experienced the torture and misery of the heavy hand of God pressing upon him for about a year before he finally broke.  He finally cracked under the pressure of God’s heavy hand on his broken heart and surrendered to God.  Sin was so miserable to him he cried out and said, Lord “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” (Ps. 51:12).  His soul so longed for the joy that previously existed between him and his God. That joy was gone because of his sin.  He did not lose salvation, but he lost the joy of salvation.

God demands absolute surrender, total consecration.  This needs to be our moment by moment experience with the Lord.  I wonder if any one of us has something in our heart, our thought life, our deeds, something on which God has already been shining the spotlight–something that needs to be resolved.  Perhaps there is jealousy or a grudge in our heart. Perhaps there is filthiness or covetousness in our thoughts. Maybe there is murmuring or disputing. Perhaps there is some anger, wrath, malice, dishonesty, or some bad habit that God has been speaking to you about. There is only one way to enjoy the abundant life in Christ – turn from your sin and abide in Christ!

You see, if we hold back one tiny speck, we are not yielded.  There are no degrees of “yieldedness.”   It is all or nothing.  If we say that we are yielded in every single area of our life, but are holding back in one tiny area, then we are not yielded.  A burnt offering is totally burnt.  You do not get a leg to keep for yourself.  If we hold back one tiny speck from the Lord, we have not put our all on the altar!  Others may never know, but God does. We may LOOK quite spiritual, but if we are holding back “just a little,” we are not yielded. When we put self on the altar, we are reckoning self to be dead–not sick, or lame, or almost dead, but DEAD!  Death knows no degrees. We are to put our ALL on the altar.

When we by faith abide in that place of death to self, and alive unto God [YIELDED] we will not only bear fruit, but MUCH fruit (Jn. 15:8)!  To God be the glory!