“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others……” James 3:17 NLT
We spent this weekend relaxing & my husband having the opportunity to take some time off around the Veteran’s Day holiday. Enjoyed some great family time, resting and even a trip over to Seattle. A number of opportunities presented themselves as I was reflecting on this concept of “willing to yield to others” to put this truth in action and to watch my kids struggle with not wanting to yield. It is not an easy thing for us to do. It is hard. It requires choosing to look past ourselves, remembering that there are other people walking through life with us. I can be stubborn and this is an area that God has been massaging and working with me on for a long time.
I wrestled with the question is there a difference between “willing to yield to others” and obeying the Father? Maybe a slight difference, the Father gives a choice on whether we obey or not but if we don’t obey then that is sin. I think as we are “willing to yield to others” we obey the Father better and vice a versa, obeying helps us to be “willing to yield”. That is my current thought walking through life and working on this area.
For example, which ferry do we take to head to Seattle for the day? Perhaps I have an idea and my husband has an idea but they are not the same; what do we do? One of us is going to have to be okay with not doing their idea, yielding to the other. I know for me, if I am not careful my pride wants to quickly rear its head and go – well my way of course, because its best. But really is it? If I am willing to talk it through and step back, it could be that my idea is better OR it could be that my husband’s idea is better OR (this may be a shock to some) neither idea is better – but something better comes from the discussion OR we simply need to make a decision and neither idea is necessarily better. That is the “willingness to yield to others” emerging.
This truth of “willing to yield to others” is one that my boys are still learning how to navigate. They can be quite stubborn about what they want to do and not very willing. Who knew playing a game or a TV show could cause such a stir, but it can.
I think we miss the word “willing” and we head straight over to the “yield to others”. The word “willing” indicates to me a heart attitude. Am I willing? Am I willing to change what I think, what I want to do, for what others would like? I need to care more about them. The benefit to living this out allows me to love my husband and family so much better. Ultimately when this is hard to live out is when our hearts are being prideful, hard, selfish and stubborn – not willing to be flexible or pause. The consequences and damage to relationships is a hard to repair.
The early church provides us a great example of what this looks like lived out. We see them selling their possessions and sharing everything they had with each other. (Acts 4: 32-35) Later in the book of Acts, we see the apostles figuring out how to take care of the basic needs of the church and their call to teach; and we have the calling of the seven men whose job was to serve the church. The early church was willing to yield to the leadership of the apostles and the solution provided. (Acts 6)
I don’t think that James meant for us to always yield to others. Discernment and wisdom are needed to know when to yield and when to not yield; that’s why its a component of the verse but not the only part. One thing that is very clear to me is that there are situations, issues for each of us that are closed hand issues; meaning that they are non-negotiable. We won’t yield or move on those. Examples might be issues of the faith or basic boundaries in a relationship. A great example of not yielding on matters of the faith is Stephen over in the book of Acts (6: 8-8:1) Then there are those situations that arise that are negotiable; like where to eat for dinner or what ferry to take. They seem trivial but learning with the small will help when I am faced with something bigger, like a move for a job or maybe a dietary change.
If I am able to learn to be willing to yield in the small than when I find myself facing a bigger situation its easier. My default is stubborn but God is replacing that stubbornness with a desire to be willing to yield and willing to stand firm to the right things. It’s a work in progress.
- Do you find this area of following Jesus easy or hard?
- Is it easier in some situations but not in others?
- Where today can you choose to be willing to yield in the right, healthy way?
- How do you keep from this becoming a trap of people pleasing?
- Do you agree with this concept of being willing to yield with others?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Today…..learning to follow, listen and obey; trusting in the ONE who loves me and HE loves you too.
“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentler at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. ” James 3:17 NLT
Visual reminders help me remember what I am learning, I have a free 8×11 of James 3:17 or Bookmark available to download & print out.
DOWNLOAD HERE: James317FullPage
DOWNLOAD HERE: James 3:17 BookMark
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