Three of the scariest words in the English language are surrender to God.
Come to think of it, when they're translated, they're the scariest words in any language. The last thing we want is to give up control.
And yet, we're often smart enough to realize that we've messed up our own life--big time. We know we've made major mistakes. Nothing is going right. Our life, our very existence is miserable.
To let God take over, though is the most frightening, distasteful solution we can think of. We fight it every way we can. Usually we have to hit rock bottom before we'll give in and let God take charge. The problem, really, is one of trust. We just don't trust God to do what's best for us.
In this twisted world, there's another problem.
It's the word "surrender." We usually associate it with defeat, humiliation, and losing. Our world never considers surrender a good thing.
Fortunately for us, God is above this world, yet still intimately involved in it. Somewhere along the way, we got the wrong notion that things happen that even God has no control over, like hurricanes, tidal waves, or genocide. "If he's so good," we think, "why doesn't he intervene and stop them?"
Good question, but you can't sneak out of it that easily. We were talking about your life, remember? About why you're resisting surrender to God.
If we're completely honest, it's that we just don't trust him. Oh, we say we do, but when it comes to running our life, we'd rather stay in control, even if we're doing a lousy job of it. Some people, like drug addicts and alcoholics, turn to God only when they figure he can't do any worse running their life than they did.
When you think about it, it's sort of funny. Not only do we not trust God to do what's right, we think he's incompetent as well. He couldn't possibly do things better, could he?
We're also scared because this requires obedience. That's a pretty offensive idea too, isn't it? We don't like anyone telling us what to do. Like a spoiled two year-old, we want our own way.
Or maybe we think that if we surrender to God, he'll immediately ship us off to Africa to be a missionary. If that were true, Africa would be pretty crowded, because millions of people have reached the point where they've scooted over and given God the steering wheel.
One of the things I learned in college (and learned rather painfully), is that there are many, many people who are smarter than me. I may have been a wiz-kid in my high school, but that was a tiny little world. There are professors, doctors, attorneys, and computer programmers who are certifiable geniuses. Even so, I wouldn't trust any of those people to run my life.
Compared to God, the smartest person on earth is like an amoeba.
Got a good therapist? God's better. Got a wise life counselor? God is wiser. Got a good mentor? God is more experienced.
To surrender to God, you have to accept three truths:
Jesus Christ himself shows us the way to surrender to God, in Matthew 26:30:
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
It was God's will for Jesus to be sacrificed on the cross for the sins of mankind. As a human, Jesus did not want to go through this torturous death, yet he surrendered his will to his Father's. And that's what we do when we surrender to God.
We each have our desires. Some are legitimate and some are sinful. However, God may not desire the same things for us that we desire for ourselves. The first thing God wants us to do is obey these two commandments:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mark 12:30-31)
That's a major task; we can't do it on our own strength. We need the help of the Holy Spirit. But we often ask God for things in prayer that he doesn't desire for us. We need to be willing to accept his "No" answers. That's another part of surrendering to God.
We will always have our own ego, our own desires, and our sinful tendencies. It's very difficult to surrender completely to God, but out of love for Him we can make our best effort and ask the Holy Spirit for strength and guidance.
When we reach the point of being satisfied with what God gives us, asking only for more of him, then we're on the right path.
The ironic part about such surrender is that it actually leads to freedom. As Jesus said in Luke 9:24:
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
He was talking not about physical death, but surrender to God, to Him, Jesus, who will grant that person eternal life with him in heaven. We learn what God wants us to do by reading the Bible, praying, and knowing God better.
Don't wait until you hit rock bottom. Be smart. The sooner you surrender to God, the sooner he can start getting your life straightened out.
He can do it, but he won't step in until you ask him. But if you do, you'll be amazed at what happens.
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