Archives For surrender

Jim Rohn was and is one of the great mentors in my life. One of the things he taught was to never be content to just get through the day, but rather see what you can take from the day. I’d take it one step further and ask, once you’ve taken everything you can from the day, what is it you can pour back into the day? Another way to think about this would be to determine how you can take what you gained from today and use it to help others tomorrow.

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I believe this aligns very well with the way Jesus lived. He didn’t get cheated on any day. He took every opportunity to share His message and glorify His Father. I think it’s the perfect example of taking what the day offers and pouring it back out into the lives of others. How can we do the same in our own lives?

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Jeremy Camp has written a song titled, “The Same Power”. It reminds us the same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in us. How often do we live as if this is true? We spend our days trying to solve problems in our own strength. We never want to be seen as incapable or weak. Our image often seems to be our primary concern. Jesus said He is glorified through our weakness. Indeed, it is only when we humble ourselves enough to say we can’t do it on our own that His power is allowed to manifest itself in our lives.

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He longs to fill and equip us with His strength but gives us the option to accept it or not. He leaves it up to us to decide if we will call upon the power residing within us through His Spirit, or choose to attempt to conquer this world on our own.

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Surrendering our lives to Jesus is not a trivial decision. It means leaving behind everything we have known and to place our trust in the hands of a God we’ve never seen. While “Surrendering your life to Christ” is a common phrase we hear in churches, I believe we do an insufficient job of explaining what such surrender means. Because surrender is a commonly understood word, I think we neglect to explain the ramifications of such a decision.

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Complete surrender is not conditional. There are no areas of our lives we get to keep for ourselves. There are no aspects of our personality over which we maintain control. Complete surrender is the only acceptable way by which we can be called true disciples of Jesus.

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Why do we sin? Perhaps if we could understand why we sin, we could begin to limit how often we do it. My experience has shown me all sin can be traced back to either selfishness or pride. We want what we want and we want it now. We want what we want regardless of whether it is pleasing to God or beneficial to our spiritual walk. What’s going on here is indicative of both selfishness and pride.

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We determine our personal desires are more important than God’s plans for us. This is the height of arrogance and pride. In essence, we are telling God we know better than He does. Our selfishness causes us to focus on ourselves instead of on God.

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Almost forty years ago, Keith Green recorded a song called, “Make My Life a Prayer to You”. While we could argue about how well the music has held up over time, the lyrics are timeless. “Make my life a prayer to you / I wanna do what you want me to / No empty words and no white lies / No token prayers no compromise”.

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What if we lived our lives as if they were prayers to Jesus? What if we kept Him the center of our focus in every moment we lived? Shouldn’t we all desire to live with no token prayers and no compromise? After all, this is the life Jesus called us to live.

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That there is victory in surrender is one of the great mysteries of following Jesus. Almost everything about the life Jesus lived seems upside down and counterintuitive, but perhaps nothing more than this. Who wins by surrendering? History books are not written about those who waved the white flag, but about the conquering heroes and nations. We grow up daydreaming about being the champion, the victor, and the overcomer.

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No one dreams of being the one who grows up to surrender. But it is exactly to this Jesus calls us. In fact, He makes it pretty clear unless we are willing to surrender everything, He won’t be able to do much with our lives.

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Freewill is central to my theology and in my mind is the linchpin to answering difficult questions about sin, disease, and evil in the world. After Jesus, I think freewill is probably the greatest gift God bestowed on His creation. After all, freewill is what enables us to love. It enables us to choose. Most importantly, it enables us to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.

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But here’s the irony for all disciples of Jesus: to accept Christ means the death of freewill in our lives. When we surrender ourselves to Christ, we surrender everything, including our freewill. Nothing is excluded. The very thing permitting us to accept Christ is what we must give up in exchange for His Lordship in our lives.

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Perhaps nothing reveals the state of our heart so much as our thoughts. A.W. Tozer said, “Our voluntary thoughts not only reveal what we are – they predict what we will become. The will can become the servant of the thoughts, and to a large degree even our emotions follow our thinking.” We cannot become a true servant of Christ as long as we allow our thoughts to wander into territory we know is not pleasing to God.

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As the mind goes, so goes the heart. Tozer went on to say, “We can by Spirit-inspired thinking help to make our minds pure sanctuaries in which God will be pleased to dwell.” That must be our goal: to make our mind a place where Jesus feels very much at home.

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We love Jesus and want to dedicate our lives to Him, but our stubborn old self keeps getting in the way. How do we conform our will to that of God? Francois Fenelon once wrote, “The way to have a good will that conforms to God is to give up our desires and fears and to leave ourselves completely in His hands. Those who do so… can never be moved, because their only desire is for God.”

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Living God’s will for your life necessitates a complete letting go. Too often we make the mistake of trying to figure out how to use our dreams and passions in conjunction with God’s will. That’s a totally backwards approach.

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When we have surrendered ourselves to the purposes for which God created us to do, we are as willing to be deprived of our personal dreams and happiness as we are to celebrate them. I think it’s a key to knowing whether or not we have fully committed our lives to Jesus. Are we as happy when our dreams are taken from us as when we are excelling in them?

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When we understand the character of God, we will comprehend our fullest, happiest, and most enjoyable life comes from being fully alive in His presence, regardless of what circumstances may be swirling around us. There is a confident peace and comfort when we have given ourselves fully to Christ.

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