What Makes Us Resist Yielding? (Y1.T1.D16)
Pexels, "Valeria Boltneva"
Have you ever had someone’s demanding tone change your desired actions?
I can recall a time when I was leaving a room with my hand raised to turn off the light when my brother barked, “Turn off that light!”
With indignation, I stubbornly lifted my hand from the switch and walked away. My obstinate refusal to be “told what to do” altered my desire to do what I believed was right.
Turns out I’m not alone. Elizabeth Dorrance Hall, PhD explains this phenomenon in a Psychology Today article:
Psychological reactance is our brain’s response to a threat to our freedom. Threats to freedom include any time someone suggests or makes you do something. Health communication experts note that reactance sometimes happens in response to health campaigns that tell people to quit smoking. Rather than reducing smoking behavior, these ads sometimes cause people to want to smoke more!
I know a man who refuses salvation because he wants to maintain personal control over his life choices. He believes there is a god but would never step into the role of a repentant servant.
The religious leaders of Jesus' time struggled to yield their positions of power or knowledge to the message from John the Baptist. Their stubbornness blinded them to the joy they'd spent a lifetime hoping for.
Instead of judging these men, we should understand our own reactance. I want Jesus to help me yield when my mind desperately wants to do the opposite. The last thing I want is for stubbornness to continue to block my view of the eternal.
What Does Yielding Look Like?
4 John came baptizing[a] in the wilderness and preaching the baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. 5 All the country of Judea and all those of Jerusalem went out to him. They were baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins. (Mark 1:4–5)
5 Then people from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him. 6 They were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. (Matthew 3:5–6)
24 The ones who had been sent were from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, “Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” (John 1:24–25)
10 The multitudes asked him, “What then must we do?”
11 He answered them, “He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none. He who has food, let him do likewise.”
12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what must we do?”
13 He said to them, “Collect no more than that which is appointed to you.”
14 Soldiers also asked him, saying, “What about us? What must we do?”
He said to them, “Extort from no one by violence, neither accuse anyone wrongfully. Be content with your wages.”
15 As the people were in expectation, and all men reasoned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he was the Christ, (Luke 3:10–15)
18 Then with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people, (Luke 3:18)
1 A shoot will come out of the stock of Jesse,
and a branch out of his roots will bear fruit.
2 Yahweh’s Spirit will rest on him:
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh.
3 His delight will be in the fear of Yahweh.
He will not judge by the sight of his eyes,
neither decide by the hearing of his ears;
4 but he will judge the poor with righteousness,
and decide with equity for the humble of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
and with the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his waist.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
and the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
the calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow and the bear will graze.
Their young ones will lie down together.
The lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child will play near a cobra’s hole,
and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
9 They will not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of Yahweh,
as the waters cover the sea.
10 It will happen in that day that the nations will seek the root of Jesse, who stands as a banner of the peoples; and his resting place will be glorious.
11 It will happen in that day that the Lord will set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13 The envy also of Ephraim will depart, and those who persecute Judah will be cut off. Ephraim won’t envy Judah, and Judah won’t persecute Ephraim. 14 They will fly down on the shoulders of the Philistines on the west. Together they will plunder the children of the east. They will extend their power over Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon will obey them. 15 Yahweh will utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his scorching wind he will wave his hand over the River, and will split it into seven streams, and cause men to march over in sandals. 16 There will be a highway for the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, like there was for Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt. (Isaiah 11:1–16)
Help me give to others from my abundance. You said, “Do not withhold good when it is in your power to give” (Proverbs 3:27). Open my fisted hands, and help me yield my time, resources, and energy because it all comes from you (Romans 11:36). I don’t want to be stuck in selfish resistance; instead, show me how to humbly value others above myself (Philippians 2:3). You alone can guide my actions and change my heart.
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