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Question

What does it mean to yield to the Spirit?

yield to the Spirit
Answer


Although there is no specific verse in the Bible about “yielding to the Spirit,” the idea is present. Romans 6:13 speaks of being yielded to God, and Romans 6:19 of yielding our bodies as “servants to righteousness unto holiness” (KJV). This is in contrast to yielding to sin and the flesh.

To yield is to give something up or to give way to a demand of some sort. A person yielded to the Spirit will accede to the Spirit’s will and submit to His authority. Scripture mentions walking in the Spirit—following His lead and living in cooperation with His plan. Scripture also mentions being filled with the Spirit—being fully possessed by Him and functioning in His power and freedom. Both walking in and being filled with the Spirit necessitates yielding to His control.

Yielding to the Spirit finds its opposite in grieving Him (Ephesians 4:30), quenching Him (1 Thessalonians 5:19), or resisting Him (Acts 7:51). Those who are yielded to the Holy Spirit will not be doing that which offends Him, they will not dampen His influence in their hearts, and they will not oppose His will.

Some good examples of believers yielding to the Holy Spirit are found in the book of Acts. The believers gathered in a house in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost were there in obedience to the risen Lord’s command to “stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). That power came in the Person of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:4, when “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues a as the Spirit enabled them.” These disciples, yielded to the Spirit, proclaimed the gospel to the multitudes, and the church began.

The first foray into foreign missions began when the church in Syrian Antioch was “worshiping the Lord and fasting, [and] the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’” (Acts 13:2). Yielding to the Spirit, the church “fasted and prayed, . . . placed their hands on them and sent them off” (Acts 13:3).

On the second missionary journey, Paul and his companions, Silas and Timothy, were traveling through Asia Minor preaching the gospel. But then the Spirit began to redirect them: “Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas” (Acts 16:6–8). That night in Troas, Paul had a vision that guided the missionaries to Macedonia. The gospel was brought to Europe because Paul and his companions were yielded to the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit would have us “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), do good works (1 Peter 2:15), and “be sanctified,” avoiding sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3). The Spirit desires that we count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ (Romans 6:11). He desires us to know the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18–19) and be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). He wants those who trust in Christ to be assured that they are God’s own children (Romans 8:16). As we yield to the Spirit, allowing Him full control of our lives, we will see the fruit of the Spirit being produced in us (Galatians 5:22–23), and we can look forward to “a harvest of righteousness and peace” (Hebrews 12:11).

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What does it mean to yield to the Spirit?
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This page last updated: May 20, 2021