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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Surrender Is Not Defeat

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for me
and for the gospel will save it.”
Mark 8:35 NIV

For me, surrender is often one of the hardest things for me to do in my Christian walk. Every fiber of my being wants to buy into the messages of the world. Messages that tell me I am in charge of my life, if its to be – it’s up to me, and I deserve to have all I want no matter the cost. At times I so want to “save my life” for my good pleasure, my desires, and my purposes. I want to believe that it is my goals that God should honor. I want to believe that my choices are to be mine and mine alone. I want to write the plan for my life and then wait for God to bring those plans to fruition. To me, surrender at times feels like I am giving up or loosing control. It often feels like failure, and defeat. Who wants to go there? There is no wonder that Jesus issued this warning, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:35 NIV
God often reminds me that he is the one who made me. He made me just as he wanted me to be. I was created with talents, flaws, and special needs. It is important for me to believe that God has no plan to change me into anyone other than the person he created me to be. I simply must trust him with my life. I must believe that he has greater plans for me than I can ever imagine. He wants only that which is good for me. Isn’t that how we all feel about the ones we love? I must not fear his plan for my life but I must surrender to that plan. Why? Because he loves me!
I find it amazing that God is able to take my gifts and talents and use them to the max! But the sad truth is that when I take charge of my gifts and talents and try to determine the outcome of their use and purpose, I interfere with his perfect plan for me. My plan may be good but it will never be the best until it is surrendered to God. This is not defeat but it is trusting God to use me for his glory as he sees fit.
You see, all gifts and talents have a dark side. This dark side of any gift or talent is manifest by our own selfish desires, our pride, and our extreme need for control. Surrender says Lord, I want my desires to be pleasing to you. Lord, I only want to boast in you as my Savior. It is God who enables us to do all things great or small. Surrender turns loose of control and trust that God will always be more than enough in all things. Surrender knows that I will be a better person regardless of the outcome because I trust my Creator. Surrender knows beyond a shadow of doubt that the moment I surrender my life to God, my life has been saved!
I must never assume that just because I have given my life to Jesus Christ that all my minutes, hours, and days have been automatically surrendered to God. Constantly I am being faced with new circumstances, challenges, lusts, and fears. I give my life to Christ but I surrender my will for my life over and over again. Each problem, situation, test, challenge, and desire has to be sifted through God’s heavenly sifter. The good will automatically sift through without effort, but the lumps of selfishness, pride, lust, anger, and fear must be surrendered. God sees all of my imperfections and he goes to work purifying that which is not good when I lovingly surrender each day every sinful imperfection to him for his sifting and refining.
Surrender is the open door whereby God comes into our thinking and ministers to our emotions. When God sees that we recognize our need for him, and when he sees us lift our hands in downright “God, I give up” surrender, he will then begin to work in our life to bring about his purpose for us. God’s plan is not to destroy who we are but to mold us into all that we were meant to be. Our temperament and our personality will shine for Jesus when we walk the path of surrender. Our talents and giftedness will blossom and bring glory to him! Surrender also allows us to experience peace of heart and mind regarding our future.
Total surrender is not defeat. It is victory! Surrender to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the key to living the abundant life both now and in eternity. No matter how many days we struggle with getting to the point of total surrender on any issue, the end result is always the same. Sweet peace is the prize that is waiting for us at the end of total relinquishment. We will also discover that joy will fill the void that was previously filled with our controlling, selfish, fearful will.
Every day we face struggling with our own “precious” will. Our emotions always seem to get in the way of our spiritual progress. In our head we know what we must do but in our heart we often struggle. We will always have choices to be made. God wants us to make righteous, holy choices. No way can we do this without the power of God in our lives. The Holy Spirit is always there to help us in our hour of need. Without a doubt God knows that we are dust. Out of dust we were formed into a fragile jar of clay. Inside that jar lives all our gifts and talents. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit also lives within you. He is there all day, every day waiting to be summoned. When we recognize our need and call upon the Spirit he responds, and wonderful things happen. Our mind-set changes, our burdens are lifted, and sweet peace is ours. The result of our surrender is nothing short of amazing!
Our God is awesome in every way. There is never a moment that he does not have our best interest close to his heart. He loves us all with an everlasting love and he calls us by name. I do not understand why surrender should be so hard. Under his wings of protection is the safest place any of his children could ever be. Surrender is not to be feared rather it is to be embraced as an open door that will lead to all that God has created us to be! Surrender is the path to blessing.

  1. What are you are struggling with today that needs to be surrendered to God?
  2. Have you called upon the Holy Spirit for his help in your time of need?
  3. Do you really believe that God is good all the time and always has your best interest at heart?
  4. Can you identify what is keeping you from surrendering?
  5. Will you choose to relinquish your _______ to your loving Heavenly Father?
Dear Father,
I am so tired of struggling. Father, I do not know what is best for me. Help me to trust you with my life and the lives of all those I love. I thank you that you continue to call me to come to you, and humbly bow before you in surrender. Father, please take away the ____________ in my heart that keeps me from surrendering to you. Lord, I am weak but you are strong. Thank you Holy Spirit that you are always available to help me in my time of need. Lord, I want to surrender ____________ to you today. Father, I give up, I can not do this alone. I know now that I desperately need your help. Lord, I choose this day to trust you with my life. Thank you for loving me and wanting only what is best for me. Lord, I relinquish to you ___________. Please fill me with your peace and use this struggle in my life for my good and your glory. Father fill me with your peace and give me your joy.
In your name I pray. Amen.