The Christian walk is a myriad of crossroads. Every single day, without exception, we wrestle with a host of choices: right or wrong, yes or no, faith or feelings, self or selflessness, belief or unbelief, repentance or pride, autonomy or submission. At each junction, regardless of how the decision is decorated, passivity has proven to be more of a pipe dream than a viable option for growth and intimacy with The Lord.
⚠️: “Authentic Christianity cannot be donned on occasion,
merited or inherited”
Walking with The Lord is a grind. It’s a life willingly submitted to counter-intuition; resisting social norms and putting all of your hope, trust and faith into an omnipresent, though unseen God, an omniscient Saviour who’s heart and depth of knowledge the human mind couldn’t possibly fathom, an omnipotent Father who works all things for good, in a world that seems to corrupt and desecrate good things on sight. Yet in all things, He provides us with abounding grace for the grunt-work!
The common denominator between every choice, big or small, is the reality that they are all underpinned by God’s will; which is to be sought, found and submitted to. Thankfully, every believer has been graced with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who pleads with us through wordless groans, and implores us to substitute our current disposition for what God has promised to give us.
The bible is replete with an excess of 8,000 promises, all of which appease the pragmatic needs of our daily lives, as well as the common worries of our hearts. But every promise has a purpose that far exceeds meeting our earthly needs. Beyond the signposts (promises), lies the true answer to our deepest longings, the ultimate good thing- God Himself. When driven by our natural desires for instant gratification, autonomy and good things, we concede to labouring for a created thing instead of the Creator; lusting over good things instead of seeking the Kingdom, and serving the signposts instead of The Source.
⚠️: “We celebrate His promises while resisting His rule”
You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to do! I didn’t believe it until the Lord gracefully unveiled the patterns and cycles to which I have, and often do fall victim to this vice. For more than 10 years, soccer had been the chief signpost that I served. It was what I thanked God for the most, the foundation upon which I related to the Lord, and to a certain degree, the only thing that tethered us together. Soon enough, I took a God ordained gift that was given to me and mercilessly wrung it dry with my expectations for fulfilment, value, identity, glory, a career/future, security, love, adoration, friendship and contentment. That’s a lot to ask of anything in this world, especially a game?! But I was all in- fully committed and unshakable. I had selected my lens and had adamantly chosen to view, and consequently live my life out of that rose tinted perspective. In every season of life, soccer promised to provide all of the above, and in certain seasons, it skimmed all bases… all except the depth to which true contentment resided.
In more recent seasons, I have sought to BE the signpost for others, toiling in vain to the point of self-sabotage in order to be perceived as, and feel useful, seen, wanted, needed, valued, irreplaceable, worthy and loved. In my pride, I endeavoured to be the counterfeit source for those around me, be it as a listening ear, a sacrificial friend, a valiant defender of dignity, a provider, a protector and whatever else was asked of and expected from me. And I failed, miserably. I failed because my greatest efforts are pitiful in comparison to God’s power, character and perfection. My sin, my nature and the depth of my brokenness disqualifies me from being and doing anything that is purely good outside of my union with God. Ultimately, I am unable to adequately function as anything/ anyone other than who the Lord has designed and is refining me to be. I’ve corrupted good things, knowingly and unknowingly robbed God of His solely deserved glory and placed Him in the passenger seat of my life whilst cranking up the volume of the worship music to tune out His voice. But He has been so, so gracious, loving and patient with me. He truly is a good Father.
On all accounts, signposts are to be heeded, not worshiped. We are ALL, looking for God. Some know it, others despise it, yet all are bound to the innate longing for the shalom that the most supreme efforts of this world cannot afford us (Ref: Ecclesiastes 3:11).
A Call to surrender
Surrender isn’t a new concept.
Adam and Eve lived in a continual state of worship and surrender, withholding nothing for the glory and praise of God. Their bodies, minds, souls, time, affections and talents were willingly submitted for the exultation of The Most High. satan, as a created thing, does not hold the power to create a thing, thus, he resorts to corruption. He couldn’t nullify the concept or power of surrender, thus he preyed upon what was most glorious about human existence, and tempted Adam and Eve to deviate from their original, focal point of surrender- anything other than God would suffice.
In the most subtle but ultimately most destructive transition of focus, their bodies and lives were given over to the glory of a created thing. Through temptation and deception, they were willing to sacrifice their entire selves on somebody else’s altar because they stopped believing that God was THE worthy One. This same reasoning is in all of us, and that’s why surrender scares us; because we think that if we give up what God is telling us to give Him, if we dare to venture across the chasm of open handedness to empty handedness, handing over the very thing(s) that mean too much to us, we’ll end up disappointed with the exchange.
⚠️: “We have bought into the lie that surrendering to God equates to relinquishing our joy.”
This lie, in its most nurtured and functional state says that once my hands are open, and empty, that God is not big enough or good enough to fill them up again, that the creator of ALL things either cannot or simply does not want to gift me with good things. Ultimately, our fear of surrender is really our unbelief that God, in and of Himself, is better than EVERY created thing.
Surrender is a word that demands a response. However surrender is not (in spite of how much we would like it to be) trusting God 100% with 99% of your life. Total surrender is your ALL on His altar in exchange for ALL that He is, has and says. Total surrender is the daily, moment by moment engagement of your mind (2 Corinthians 10:4-6, Romans 12:2, Philippians 4:8) body (Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 9:27, Ephesians 5:3) and will (James 4:7, Jeremiah 17:10, Job 22:21, Matthew 26:39) in the war against your flesh that so vehemently opposes the things of God (Galatians 5:17, Romans 8:7).
The Word and prayer are our arsenal, and in the moments where we fail, REMEMBER that His grace abounds MUCH more” (Romans 5:20).
Nothing in all of creation is designed or able to bear the weight of your hope, faith and expectations. The only One who can is your Heavenly Father, who knitted you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139), rejoices over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17) and has predestined you for adoption to sonship (Ephesians 1:5).
My deepest hope for us all is that we would allow the Creator to restore His masterpiece… Thats You.
- What areas of your life are you unwilling to TOTALLY surrender to the Lord? Why?
- What is at the root of your reluctance? (Pride/Unbelief in The Gospel?)
- What does active repentance look like in your endeavour for total surrender? (What practical steps will you need to take?)
Millsey’s Challenge of the Week:
Tell God something that you’ve never told Him before in prayer. Let Him in, and fight to TRUST that He will do exceedingly, abundantly more than you can ask, think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)