Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Surrender

Surrender. That’s been on my mind quite a bit lately. I feel like God’s been pushing me to go a bit deeper in my faith and give more over to Him. I don’t surrender things very well. God has to pry my fingers off one by one. I am getting better about it, though, although I’m not to the place I need to be.

I’m reading a book right now that is using the approach of surrender very differently than most Christian books I’ve read on the subject. This woman is emphasizing the need for time and patience. Wow. Usually you hear Christians preach that we should just give it over to God and be done with it. I often hear people say that and wonder how many of them did that only to pull it back out of God’s hands later. You see I don’t think making lasting change can happen overnight, for the most part. There are some miraculous stories of people surrendering something to God in an instant and never dealing with the issue again, but I think they are the exception. And I also believe they did that because God empowered them to do so. It was through no great effort on their part, but the grace of God at work because it fit into His plan.

The truth is that it takes time and thought to surrender something to God. Even Jesus himself knew this. In the garden He sweated drops of blood during His time of surrender to the Father’s will. He told His followers in the gospels that they were to “count the cost,” meaning that there would be a price to pay and make sure you are ready to pay it. Instant surrender often means we haven’t really “counted the cost.” We don’t know what that sacrifice might really mean and what might be required of us to surrender that thing to God.

I also like what Nicole Johnson said in her book “Fresh-brewed Life.” She talks about how Christians say we need to die to self and that many people are using that adage to avoid pain. They are dying to things they don’t even really understand. There’s more to it than just giving it over to God. It means a total life-change, a 180 degree reversal of thought and action that goes much deeper than the surface. Surrender to God will mean relying on God to do His part at every moment of every day.

My problem is my life is busy, hectic, almost chaotic at times. I want to live in greater surrender to God, but He doesn’t talk above the noise in my life. He doesn’t shout, He whispers so low I can barely hear Him at times. How do you surrender each moment to God when each moment is filled with so many “to do’s” and very little time “to be.” I’d like to say I can make some changes, but I’ve given up just about everything I have to find time for my ministry. Many fun things I used to enjoy are falling by the wayside and God is stripping my life of anything that stands in His way. Yet hearing His calm voice and making Him more a part of my daily life will require more of me. I have to give more up to get more of Him.

So that’s where I’m at - understanding the value of surrender, the overwhelming need of more of God and the confusion and questions that ask how and when. In a little workbook I’m doing right now it asks me the question today if I’m willing to let God set the pace in my life. Wow! My answer was - as long as He moves fast enough! I guess I need to work on that too…

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