Yield signs are my favorite. A yield sign means you can go when you can. If you need to stop, then you stop. If there is someone else coming, you give them the right of way. If the way is clear, you just keep right on moving into the flow of traffic. You make a decision based upon the current situation and you can immediately act upon that decision. When you see a sign, though, that says “do not yield,” then that option is taken away from you. It has already been decided for you that you do not have the right to proceed with the traffic without doing something else first.
Paul was in a pickle. He had gone to Jerusalem with some Gentile Christians, and the Jewish Christians there got caught up in the idea that everyone—Jew or Gentile—had to be circumcised to be a Christian in good standing. He had the choice: yield and go along with their ideas, or do not yield to go with the flow that was heading down a dangerous road. He chose to stop. He wrote in Galatians 2:5, “to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.” He knew that it would be easier to just go along with what everyone else was saying and doing, but he also knew that if he did that, it would keep the truth of the gospel away from the Gentiles in Galatia.
How many yield signs do you come to in a day—figuratively, if not literally? A friend wants to copy my homework. Do I yield? I could so easily shoplift this Snickers bar. Do I yield? Everyone around me is using that language or calling “them” “that name.” Do I yield? That new movie that everyone else is going to see has content that certainly does not honor Jesus. Do I yield? Scenarios like these could play out dozens of times in a day.
Paul knew—and so should you—that it is a whole lot easier to stop something wrong before it ever starts.