Tag Archives: Surrender

5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part V) – Surrender

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)As mentioned in Part IV of this series, Jesus was not released onto the ministry He was called to fulfill until He had passed the test set for Him by the Holy Spirit.

Now, while being equipped, prepared, tested, and released onto ministry is one thing, actually fulfilling the purpose to which we are called is quite another. The essential quality we must have to run a good race and so win the prize of greatness that is set before us is the quality of surrender. We must have a heart and attitude that thinks nothing of ourselves but thinks everything of God. We must not rely on our own ability but wholly depend on His ability.

Jesus had this heart and attitude. The bible tells us that although He was equal to God, He made Himself of no reputation (thought nothing of Himself) but out of love and in humility and obedience took the form of a man and sacrificed Himself on the cross (see Philippians 2:5-9). Wow! How incredible that is for so many reasons. What a love driven surrender to purpose!

See, surrender was behind every single thing that Jesus did while on earth; surrender to the will of the Father as revealed by the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus said ‘I only do what I see the Father doing and I say only what the Father tells me to say (John 14:10, John 5:19 paraphrase).  This is why He stayed behind to spend time with the biblical scholars in the temple at the age of twelve; why He chased out the money changers and traders out of the temple; why He willingly chose to die on the cross for us instead of choosing to let the cup of wrath that we deserve pass from Him.

Indeed, Jesus has shown us that surrender is the final ingredient needed to achieve true greatness that the previous four keys simply give us a chance of attaining.

But there is more! He not only showed us the key to greatness through His life, He also taught us. He taught us that the greatest person in the kingdom of heaven is one who becomes as a child and humbles himself (see Matthew 18:4). Just as a little child is wholly dependent on his/her parents for every single thing and those parents are the center of the child’s world, so does the Father desire to be the center of our world. He wants us to center our life around Him so He can lavish us with the very best that He has planned out for us. He wants us to center our life around Him so He may grant us life and grant it to us more abundantly.

Lightbulb MomentWhen we are most helpless is when Christ is most helpful.

So here is my question to you: Are you living the abundant life of love, joy, peace and so much more? If not, it may well be that you are holding onto something that should be surrendered to God. What is it? Offense, past experiences, past hurts, a person, a relationship, an idea, some fear, pride? Whatever it is, it is time to surrender it so that you may move forward towards greatness!

Now is the time for you to once again commit to a life of surrender to Christ. There is no better Christmas present to give you than Jesus. He is the present that will deposit all other presents you could ever imagine onto your lap.

Lightbulb MomentSurrender your life to Christ who is calling you today and He will take you on an adventure you will never forget.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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What Love Has to Do with It – Why Is My Faith Not Working?

John the Apostle tells us that whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God (see 1 John 5:1). He then goes on to say that whatever is born of God overcomes the world (see 1 John 5:4). Thus, as believers who have been born of the Spirit of God, we have the power to overcome every obstacle and challenge that life throws our way. We have the ability to attain victory in every area of our lives because Jesus, the One who has overcome the world (see John 16:33) lives in us.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” – Galatians 2:20

Even though endowed with the ability to overcome in Christ, too many of us are being overcome by the world rather than overcoming it. Why? We do not overcome because not every part of us has been born of God. Although our spirit has been born of God, portions of our minds have not yet been born of God (for we fail to renew our minds) and so that portion does not overcome but instead is overcome. Hence, the only reason we ever experience defeat in our lives is because we fail to surrender all of who we are and all of what our experiences have turned us into over to Him so that He can remold us and make every inch of us new.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Surrender is the first step towards victory. Every part of ourselves we surrender to Him, He is able to crucify and resurrect (born it again) into His image

If we do not surrender an area of our life to Him, it is because we do not know how much He loves us in that area. If we do not know how much He loves us in that area, it is because we have not thoroughly searched for His love through His word there; for the word says that if we seek, we shall find (see Matthew 7:7).

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: When we seek God by immersing ourselves in His Word, the Holy Spirit reveals to us how much He loves us. It is this revelation of His love that prompts us to surrender fully to Him

The truth is that we only trust the people that we know truly love us and so would not do a thing to harm us. Indeed, the bible says that faith works through love (see Galatians 5:6) or in other words, true trust is based on love. Therefore, when we tell God, ‘I cannot trust You with this area of my life’, we are telling God that we doubt His love. We are telling the God who offered Himself as a sacrifice for us and drew us to Himself that we cannot trust Him! Good Lordy! It is doubt, which is the opposite of trust (faith) that leads to defeat in life.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Any faith (trust and belief) that is not born out of love is not born of God (for God is love). It is not faith at all and so will not work

So there it is. When we surrender ourselves because we trust (or have faith) that His love for us is true, we overcome the world!  Simply put, faith is the ‘whatever’ that is born of God that produces victory.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world –our faith” – 1 John 5:4

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Since faith is the victory that overcomes the world, it can be said that the defeat that overcomes us is our doubt of how much God loves us.

So how do we know that our faith is born of God? To know that what we are holding onto has been promised by God and not a counterfeit, we first have to take a look at how faith comes.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” – Romans 10:17

This passage does not say that faith comes by hearing the word of God. No! Many have heard the word of God without ever developing faith. Rather, the word of God must speak to us in order for it to produce faith. For the word of God to speak to us, our hearts must be prepared to receive it. This is what happened when we got saved – the word of God cut through to our hearts and spoke to us so that we developed the faith (belief) to confess Christ.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment:  To truly have faith, we must truly believe in our hearts that the specific word is for us. Head or surface knowledge does not mean faith has been produced

When we study and meditate on the Word, the Holy Spirit reveals and confirms to us that the specific word (verse) we are reading is for us…we hear from the Holy Spirit. Now, knowing that the word which He has spoken to us will not be altered (Psalms 89:34) and cannot return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11) for He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19), we are assured that it shall come to pass; all of our doubt is removed and real faith that we can hold onto in obedience is produced!

Anything we hold onto that has not spoken to us is simply not of God for the Holy Spirit has not confirmed it. For example, if God has not spoken to us that we will win the lottery while studying His word, then we can say we believe it and confess it all we want – it is likely not to happen since it does not come from God but from our own desires (see James 4:3). Conversely, it is prudent to hold onto everything that God has spoken to us – that will always be confirmed as we spend time in the Word. In this light, we are wise to hold onto every promise that is written in the scripture for the bible is the word of God spoken to us. We are also wise  to hold onto everything that He has told us specifically as we fix our eyes on Him.

Food for Thought: If we want our faith to work, we must grow in love

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Wilderness Experience – Are you missing God’s oasis by remaining a victim?

Are you missing God's oasis

It is impossible to go through life without hurting someone or being hurt by another person….even if it is unintended. Regardless of whether we are the “hurter” and the “hurtee”, as believers, it is likely we go through a rough patch – experience some wilderness – until we are restored.

This wilderness experience is not simply reserved for the victim but also for the perpetrator of the hurt. While the victim may land in the wilderness as a result of anger, resentment, bitterness and so forth, the perpetrator may experience their own wilderness because of perpetual self- condemnation and an inability to grant self-forgiveness. Here is the thing, whether we are the hurter or the hurtee, our ability to escape the jaws of the wilderness depends on how determined we are to fully surrender our hurt to Christ.

  Lightbulb Moment  Light-bulb moment: Irrespective of what befalls us, we choose whether we are victor’s in Christ or victims of life. We prolong our wilderness experience by choosing to remain victims.

Just as it is important to know what to do when in the wilderness to survive, we must know what to do to move past our hurts.

When I got hurt, I chose to remain a victim. Instead of surrendering my hurts to Christ, I took matters into my own hands and purposed in my heart and mind that I was never going to put myself in a position to be hurt again – so I guarded my heart and built a fortress around my mind. I ensured that nothing moved me deeply and so segregated emotions, feelings, and sensitivity from all things. Nothing was going to penetrate my shield…….not even God! In effect, I told God, “You can control everything else, but I control my heart, so shoo…go away”. I was at the wheel and I almost drove my life right off a cliff by making decisions based on my hurts. As a result of choosing to be a perpetual victim of my past hurts rather than surrender it to Him, I ended up victimizing the people I came into contact with.

Lightbulb Moment     Light-bulb moment: I should not be driven by my life experiences or emotions, but only by Christ!

Whilst the natural tendency after being hurt is to take control and guard our own hearts out of fear, the bible shows us a better way for our hearts to be guarded.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6 – 7

Thus it is the peace of God which comes through prayer  and supplication that guards our hearts and keeps us alive until we escape the wilderness and are restored to our oasis.

Upon learning how to survive, we must become action minded and start to look for a way out. We pick up the trail back to our oasis when we stop our self-pity, self-righteousness, and self-focus but instead focus our attention on our guide, Jesus. When we pay attention to what He tells us though His word, we get jolted with the  reality that all have hurt and all have been hurt. That no one has been hurt more than God (through our sin and disobedience) and no man more than Jesus when he lived. But then we also get jolted with the truth that He has paid the price for all we could ever do, say or feel. That through Him, we are restored and are the head and not the tail. When we focus on Jesus, we start to trust Him and allow Him to lead us out of our wilderness.

This is exactly what Jesus did as a man when experiencing His own wilderness. What if Jesus had not trusted God but allowed His experience and emotions to lead Him? What if He had focused on all the wrongs that were done to Him – the insult, the ridicule, the scourging, and the betrayal – none of which He deserved? What if He had not surrendered fully to God? He would not have been glorified and would not be sitting at the right-hand side of God now, and we may still be living under the law.

But He did fully surrender to God and won victory for all the hurt that could ever come our way!

The trust we build in Jesus is what allows us to lay all our hurts and burdens on Him in humility and prayer while taking all the necessary steps to find closure as He leads us – perhaps through counseling. In time, we find that our ashes are turned into beauty and have been made into new beings – with the muck of the past and its impact on our lives washed away. Truly, the old passes away and everything becomes new.

“If only my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

So, why surrender our hurts to God? He alone can heal us and will refine us. No one else can.

Food for Thought: I find my oasis when I choose to focus on God rather than on my hurts

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