Do Not Yield

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. 

3 Things to Make Your Jaw Drop

Roller coasters are fun…for some.  Some people get on them and grin, some will scream, some get sick, and then there are those who looked bored.  The point is that it takes more to excite some than it does others.

The apostle Paul has never struck me as an especially excitable guy.  (He would probably have walked past a roller coaster without looking at it twice.)  Yet when we read his words to the churches of Galatia, I believe we are seeing him in a state of intensity:

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,” (Galatians 1:6, NKJV).

Paul “marveled.”  He was astonished.  He was shocked at the behavior of the Galatians, and he was going to let them know about it!

Whether you are excitable or not, please consider these three things from Galatians 1:4 that should make your jaw drop:

One—Jesus gave Himself for our sins.  The Son of God gave the ultimate sacrifice for someone else, even knowing that it would be unappreciated by many.  Even more astounding is that He didn’t give what belonged to someone else, or even just a portion of what He had, but He gave everything so that we might have life.

Two—He provides deliverance from this present world.  Jesus knows that while we must live in this world, we cannot remain in it.  While we remain on this Earth, Jesus has provided separation for us.  He has made us to be holy, sanctified, separate, His own special people.  It is amazing that God is willing to take us with all our imperfections and call us His own.

Three—This was all a part of God’s will.  God has always—ALWAYS—had a plan for humanity, and God has been engaged in fulfilling His plan for our salvation since the very beginning.  His will for our redemption has been proactive, not reactive.

Much like someone who has ridden a particular roller coaster a hundred times, you may be thinking, “I know all this, and I’ve known it forever.”  If this is you, that is great!  These are things that the Father and Son have done for us that we ought to well know.  But do not let your longterm exposure to the grace of God dull your excitement.  Our God is absolutely amazing, and we should never fail to be excited by what He has done.