As we near the end of our week long focus of why spending time alone with God is so important, today we’re going to look at the value of living in surrender. Every day there is an opportunity to hand over the burdens and cares of this world that we might pick up the peace and joy of relationship with God. And for me, that opportunity has presented itself most often in the rhythm of spending time alone with God. So I hope today that we both learn a little about the value of living in surrender, and experience the life that comes through actually dying to ourselves, that we might live in Christ more fully.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” MATTHEW 7:13-14
Have it All | Brian Johnson
There is a life available to us as believers that few find—a life free from burden, fear, boredom, and emptiness. The problem is that the road to life requires a complete sacrifice of ourselves. The road to purpose, passion, joy and freedom requires that we die to ourselves every hour of every day. Jesus made the way to freedom open and clear for us. Scripture serves as the perfect practical handbook to walk that narrow road. And the Holy Spirit serves as the perfect guide and friend along the way. We have everything we need available to us, however, most of us lack a willingness to sacrifice fully so that the seeds of our surrender lead to the fruition of an abundant life.
Jesus charges us to lose our lives in order to gain life with God. In Matthew 10:39 he says, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” The only way for you to truly find abundant life in God is to surrender your life for his sake. In fact, all of creation testifies to this truth. Think for a second of those trying to find their lives on their own instead of in God. Humans have an insatiable lust for affection, purpose, security, and love. No matter how loved a person is by society, it’s never enough. No matter how much money a person makes, they could always make a little more. No matter how driven a person is, there is always more they could be doing. We are lost without God.
Seeing these people makes me evaluate my own life and search for areas I haven’t surrendered to God yet. Thinking about their insatiable lust for more makes me look for my own. I need my life to have purpose. I need to be loved, to have freedom, and to feel satisfied. I experience satisfaction only inasmuch as I have surrendered my life to God. God will not fill what is closed off to him. He does not force his will upon us. Rather, he waits patiently, quietly beckoning us to lose our lives so that he can lavish on us a life greater and more filled with his goodness than we could have ever imagined.
Our Father longs for us to be loved completely. He longs for us to be completely secure by trusting him. He longs for us to be fully satisfied. Will you answer his beckoning today? Will you choose to trust him? He is so faithful—more faithful than you will ever fully know. You cannot count all the ways in which he desires to love you. The immense depth of his love is bottomless. But will you spend your life trying to search it out? Proverbs 25:2 says “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” Will you search out the depths of God’s love today? Will you make as much room in your heart as possible for him to come dwell? Will you lose your life today so that you may find it in him? The road is narrow. It will take work. It will take sacrifice. It will take everything. But you will gain immeasurably more in return.
Listen to the Spirit today as you enter into guided prayer and respond in whatever ways he leads you.
1. Take a minute to quiet your heart and mind. Open your hands as a sign of being ready to receive anything God would show you.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
2. Ask the Lord to show you anything in your life that isn’t in his will. Pay attention to anything that comes up in your mind. It could be a person, place, thing, habit, recurring thought, etc.
3. Surrender anything in your life that isn’t God’s will for you.Confess any sin that’s holding you back from the fullness of life available to you in Jesus. Ask God for wisdom on how to end a relationship or a commitment. Ask him for grace and help to mend any relationships that he desires to heal. Surrender the entirety of your heart that you would be fully his today.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
You can only experience the fruit of the Spirit through things born of the Spirit. God cannot bless sin and selfishness because it isn’t good for you. If God were to bless something that wasn’t best for you, you would keep doing it! If a dating relationship isn’t blessed, if it isn’t born of the Spirit, get out of it. If a friend leads you away from God instead of to him, stop hanging out with him or her. If a lifestyle choice you are making doesn’t have the peace of God in it, quit doing it. Surrender seems to cost so much at the time, but it will be the best decision you ever make. Set your life on the narrow path God has laid out for you. Live your life in response to the Spirit and to his word. The life you find in God will be immeasurably greater than any life you could find on your own.