Bible Study, Spiritual Formation

Constant Active Yielding

The end of James 4 challenges not only our world view but the integrity of our world view.

There are basically two world views–at least two major categories.
A world view that excludes God–the universe/world is a closed system.
A world view that includes God–the universe is a system created by and controlled by God.

But many of us who claim that our world view is theistic or even monotheistic, can at times live as though there is no God.

This is the challenge of James 4:13-17.

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”–14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance.  All such boasting is evil. (ESV)

Several basic observations.

  1. The statement in v. 13 is not a statement against planning or even making a profit.  What James will challenge is planning, even assuming the outcome–without a thought for God.
  2. Verse 14 not only shows that man is temporal, with a limited time frame, but a limited perspective.
  3. Verse 16 identifies the root issue–arrogance.  Here we could define arrogance as the assumption of independence from God.
  4. Verse 15 gives us the antidote for this belief of autonomy–a willing submission to the will of God.

The passage ends with a great summary statement (probably a summary of James 3:1-4:16 at least).

17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (ESV)

Our lives are not independent from God.  We are not autonomous.  Therefore, since we know that God is involved, we must live with Him in clear view.  We are not simply to avoid active engagement in sin but we are to also be actively engaged in doing what is right.

So what should characterize our world view and our daily living? Our goal should be: Living a life of constant active yielding.

A life of constant active yielding
This involves our whole life–every dimension, every facet
It is not just when we need something from God–but a moment by moment acknowledgement of His right over our lives
It is not passivity–“let go and let God”
It is active surrender. 


Author: Steve

Steve Kilgore joined the staff of Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA in the fall of 2002 as the Pastor of Discipleship to facilitate the equipping ministries, which include Adult Bible Fellowship and other adult discipleship ministries, and work with the rest of the education ministries. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Ministries with a focus on providing ministries that facility individuals taking intentional Next Steps for growing and participating in the leadership and administrative aspect at Calvary. He has also taught part-time at Lancaster Bible College in the area of Spiritual Formation and New Testament. Prior to coming to Calvary he served in two churches as well as taught part-time at Philadelphia Biblical University. He was born in Dallas, Texas, but spent the first 13 years of his life in Guatemala where his parents were missionaries. It was there at the age of four and a half that Steve placed his faith in Christ as his Savior. Steve received a Bachelor’s degree in Bible from Philadelphia College of Bible and a Masters of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve and his wife, Mary Anne, have their two boys, Andrew and Nathan (both in college), and live in East Lampeter Township. Steve lives and ministers by the personal motto, Know what you believe and why, live it, be able to defend it. His hobbies, other than playing with his family, include tinkering with computers, reading, drinking coffee with his wife, playing and watching basketball. Steve and Mary Anne are looking forward to exploring new hobbies as they transition to life as empty-nesters.

2 Comments on “Constant Active Yielding

  1. Yes, moment by moment, second by second by second…

    A friend shared Psalm 25 with me. Interesting to observe–
    1. The attributes of God
    2. Are attitude toward God
    3. Our “asking” /requests of God

    God has a plan (way, path, leads, teaches)
    He is merciful, has steadfast love, faithful, forgives,
    He is good, upright,
    He keeps his covenant and testimonies
    He is a friend of those who fear Him

    Because of who he is, we must
    Wait, rest, trust, fear….
    All these terms have the concept of yielding, dependence

    And because of who He is and what we need, we can ask for him to
    lift up our soul, not allow us to be put to shame, nor allow our enemies to exult over us,
    we can request that he lead us the humble, forgive us sinners,
    request that he turn to us, would be gracious to us, bring us out of distress, consider our situation, guard and deliver us, protect our integrity because of our connection to him.

    His is able
    We are needy
    He can supply we need

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 × 4 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.