Romans 6:16 – “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”
Ephesians 5:18 – “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.”
When you are driving and you come to a yield sign, you understand that you are giving the right-of-way to traffic that is on the road you are turning on to. You must slow down, or if necessary, stop in order for the oncoming traffic to have the right-of-way. You are giving your car and your right-of-way over to the coming car. When you miss the yield sign and you blaze into the intersection assuming you have the right-of-way, if a car is coming, you will crash.
In Romans 6 and Ephesians 5 and many other places in the New Testament, Paul describes the problem of sin and disobedience and rebellion as being the fact that we are giving our right-of-way over to our sinful flesh. When you get drunk with wine, you are yielding to the control of alcohol. When you lust, you are yielding to the passions of your flesh. When you scream and shout in anger at your spouse or your children, you are yielding to sin. On the contrary, when you yield yourselves to the Spirit’s work in your life, you are giving the right-of-way to God.
What happens when you give the right-of-way to God? The fruit of the Spirit is seen. A sensitivity to the Spirit’s whisper and work in your life is heightened. A longing to see Jesus glorified in your life is intensified. An appetite for God is enhanced while your appetite for things of this world dissipates. Miracles are done through you and in you and around you. Your faith will be deepened. Your vision of the possible will be God-sized and not man-sized. Your marriage will grow healthy and your children will feel loved. Evidence of God’s blessing will be obvious to you and to others. Opposition may increase as the enemy sees God’s power in you. Victory over temptation will seem more frequent. The light of Christ will be seen by others. Like Moses, you will appear to others as having been with the Lord. I could go on and on and on.
Paul commands us very clearly: “Be filled with the Spirit.” This is an imperative. This doesn’t presume that before we yield to the Spirit, the Spirit is absent in us. When we are adopted as children of God, God gives us the Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance. To be filled with the Spirit is to yield to the Spirit. It is to quit giving in to the world and your flesh, and instead to give in to the Spirit’s work.
So what does it look like to yield to the Spirit’s work, seeking to be filled with the Spirit? It is to press into the Lord. It is to be aware of the distractions of this life that pull us away from a genuine, life-giving relationship with God. It is to forsake the mindless, numbing entertainment that our culture loves so much that simply distracts. It is to press in and find your life and strength in the Lord. Let’s give the right-of-way to God.