“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” (Psalm 28:7)
“Crisis” is simply a decisive turning point. Sort of sounds like a u-turn, doesn’t it? And that’s exactly what the Christian needs who has gotten out of phase with the Spirit. To reconnect, for the power to surge, you must yield unconditionally to the will of God. No fine print in the contract, no reserve clauses—unconditional. To do that may be cataclysmic if you have resisted long and hard, pushing your resistance ever deeper into the sub-conscious, or if you are of a temperament to feel intensely. But it can be a matter-of-fact transaction of turning everything over to the Master: past, present, future, successes, failures, relationships—everything.
Are you stalled out, slipping back maybe, in your spiral with Jesus? Then you need to go back to the initial transaction, you need a crisis of turning. If that is your present condition and heart-longing, why not list in your spiritual journal all the things you need to yield up to your Sovereign Lord? Don’t hesitate, don’t delay. And be very honest and thorough—don’t leave anything out or rationalize it away. There’s no other way to connect with the Spirit’s power or to experience intimacy with him.
That’s the “yield” part of faith and it can be accomplished in an instant. It never has to be re-done. You can enter that contract—or re-enter it— and never have to do it again. Oh, of course there’s the daily, even constant, reaffirmation of Jesus’ Lordship, all the little “yesses” of life. But never again need there be the crisis of “who’s boss?” What about obedience—don’t we grow in that? True, we’re in process of ever more perfect obedience, but growth in obedience is in understanding the will of God more perfectly, in growing stronger against temptation, becoming more Christlike. So there’s growth in obedience, but not in yieldedness. It’s either a “yes” or a “no” to God as the basic heart orientation. And don’t forget, “maybe” or “later” or “why” qualify as a “no”!
So, in a basic sense we don’t grow in “yield.” The trust pole of faith, however, that’s another matter. Of course we’d never yield in the first place if we didn’t trust him, so the two can’t be separated. But seen from another angle, trust must grow. And that means a process, a spiral.
I don’t trust the panhandlers that come to my door. I don’t know them. Oh, I may trust them with a dollar or two, or a sandwich. But John— that’s a different story. I’ve walked with him for many years. We’ve agonized together, laughed together, worked together. I’d trust him with anything I have. I do, in fact. He’s my power of attorney — he could liquidate my assets and move to Hawaii. I trust him. And so it is with the Spirit. The more I companion with him, the greater my trust. I can believe him for greater things today than I could ten years ago. Trust grows.
Sometimes I have a hard time believing that God will do what he says he will do. Can he get me out of the mess I’ve worked myself into, putting things together so this will really work out for any kind of good — mine or God’s? “All things work together for good?” Really, now, all? Or giving me the victory over a weakness — I’m reluctant to call it what he probably does, “sin,” something that has plagued me for years. “Thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph in Christ?” Really, now, always? Perhaps there’s some sin-bully that has you on the run, some persistent temptation like a loose tongue or volatile temper or irresistible craving. Can God really give victory? Or perhaps you struggle with other promises like “my God will supply all your needs” or “I will be with you always” or “my peace I give to you.” Maybe the promised fruit of the Spirit just doesn’t ripen: Love for that particularly unlovable person in your life, or joy when things are truly miserable. You wish you could see the touch of Holy Spirit power on your witness or ministry—the way he promised. Sometimes it’s hard to believe the promises.
If it’s sometimes hard to believe absolute promises, what about trusting him to do something he has not promised? Like healing arthritis? Showing you plainly which option you should take in a decision? Protecting a son or daughter who lives at the edge? Those are all unpleasant or scary parts of life. Oh, He has promised to heal in answer to prayer, to guide, to protect. But heal this illness, now? Guide you infallibly in this particular choice? Protect all believers from all harm? There are no guarantees. Sometimes it’s hard to trust him with the outcome when he doesn’t let us in on what he has in mind. If it’s sometimes hard to rely on God when he hasn’t revealed his will, what if he has revealed his will and you trust him not to do it? Now, that would be some kind of faith!
But to trust him you must companion with him. And in companioning with him, thanksgiving, praise, adoration—worship, to sum it up—builds the trust bonds best of all. How about setting apart next Sunday afternoon, or a few hours on your next day off, and write out all the things you like about God and all the things you are grateful for that he’s done for you?