Have It Your Way

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Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God…For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.
Hebrews 3:12-14

I have to admit that writing about surrender has really flowed from my heart. I am desperate to die to myself and let Christ live through me. My heart literally breaks with the want but surrender is no small thing. It takes a courage that is unknown to the intellectual man.  An act so foolish to the common Christian, to find a comrade to walk the journey or a mentor to encourage the process is a rare thing.  In a country where you can have it your way, surrender confronts the most dearly held Western ideals of rights and individuality.  Surrender has truly assaulted me.

The writing about surrender has definitely been easier than trying to live it out. I seem to be existing in Romans 7:15, “I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want.” I have to confess that it’s been awhile since I have even tried to write about surrender, because I’ve been so challenged with living it out – and failing – that I didn’t feel adequate.  My flesh will not die. I still want my wants so much that I repeatedly choose them over the life of Christ.  My rights are “my precious,” and despite knowing they are killing me, my flesh still rules with an evil so very deep.

My inability to walk in surrender and to actually submit myself to His leadership is born of fear and unbelief.  My life is so riddled with unbelief.  I need to go back to when I was 6, and in my childish way, I simply and purely just believed who He was and what He said.   I hadn’t let doubt eat holes into my faith.  I understood God more in my innocence, and even in my ignorance, than I do in my maturity and intellect.

As an adult, I’m afraid of losing my sense of personhood, afraid to give up what I think I have to offer the world, afraid that the exchanged life will actually be the short end of the stick for me.  I grew out of my trust as I grew up.  Yes, I left behind the KNOWING that God is altogether good, and let the fear of His mysterious ways feast on my childlikeness.

I will not choose to lose my life at a perpetual rest stop of self-condemnation. I will not run myself ragged on the loop of fear and unbelief.  I choose to let the Lord show me my fear, my unbelief.  Instead of denying it or shying away from it, I will own it—only because it is the first step to being rid of it.

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.

Comments:

Posted by Annalie du Toit
May 31, 2014 at 12:35 am

He is the Bridge to get me from where I am to where I know I need and long to be.Holy Spirit supplies the grace to gaze at Him in childlike adoration.And then, somehow…we are changed, step by little step, into His beautiful image along the jouney.

Love.

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Posted by Cindy Pollard
May 30, 2014 at 7:46 pm

God is safe. You can trust Him. The spirit of hospitality, the spirit of welcome is all over Him. You are always welcome “in Christ.”

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Posted by Pauline
May 30, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Thanks for being real, Mike. I used to think that surrender was like a flu shot — do it once and He’ll keep you immune to your ‘self’ until maybe you need one the next year. Then, I didn’t even want the ‘flu shot’ kind of surrender because, like you, it conjured up all negative stuff and once you say it, look out!
The whisper of the Holy Spirit through Martha, John, Jennifer and others has made me see the foolishness of that and actually made it appealing because, as told, it’s one surrender at a time. Might be 100 times a day — the small, insignificant, mundane stuff that only we know about; a choice to bow (or not). That truth has been encouraging. I thank God that He is FOR us — “to do you [us] good in the end!” (Deut 8:16, specifically, but all of that chapter is . . . whoa!); also, that though we make the choice, this chapter is clear that it will not be by our own power. Where would we be without His Holy Spirit?!

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Posted by lori
May 30, 2014 at 5:09 pm

From Jim Elliot: “I walked out to the hill just now. It is exalting, delicious. To stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coattail and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and to give oneself again to God, what more could a [Christian] ask?

Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth. I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him. Perhaps, in mercy, He shall give me a host of children that I may lead through the vast star fields to explore His delicacies whose fingers’ ends set them to burning.

But if not, if only I may see Him, smell His garments, and smile into my Lover’s eyes, ah, then, not stars, nor children, shall matter—only Himself.”

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    Posted by Wanda
    May 30, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    That’s beautiful, Lori. You truly have a poet’s soul.

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Posted by Tina
May 30, 2014 at 11:19 am

By a choice of will, not of emotion, not in threat of fear, not out of reason, but because God is either God and I must trust Him or life has no hope or meaning. I made a decision this morning regarding believing and standing for all that God has promised, in believing for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
I will not relent to fear and unbelief. I will not bow to the lies and counterfeit of the enemy of God. I will stand in faith and trust God will all that I am, all that I have ever believed Him for and hoped for. I will see the salvation of God. I will see the power of His love. I will see His goodness in the land of the living. I will see His victory. I will receive His love. I will receive His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. I will see His restoration. I will believe Him, PERIOD! May God be true and all of His enemies stumble and fall before me. It is God’s work. It is His power and authority. It is His glory. I simply take my stand and believe Him! I cannot do nothing else.

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    Posted by Tina
    May 30, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Correction: “I can do NOTHING else”

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    Posted by VIRGINIA
    May 30, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    THANK YOU DEAR SISTER FOR THIS WORDS, I HAVE HAD A SITUATION THAT I TOO HAD TO TAKE THE STAND THAT YOU HAVE TAKEN. PRAISE GOD FOR GODS TRUTH AND ABOVE ALL HIS PERFECT LOVE. HE WILL GUIDE US, SHELTER US, AND FINISH THE GOOD WORK HE HAS BEGUN. I WILL KEEP MY EYES SET ONLY ON HIM, AND CONTINUE TO ASK HIM TO HELP ME GROW DAILY IN MY FAITH. I AM BEYOND BLESSED. “BECAUSE HE LIVES WE WILL LIVE FOREVER” IN HIS LOVE

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      Posted by Tina
      May 30, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      Virginia I am beyond ecstatic! God has been so near and powerful in me. His river of life and love a long awaited joy. His resolve is so strong in me….!
      I now know the FREEDOM journey that He called me to when watching Braveheart some years ago when it first came out. I AM FREE!!
      This is a move of God’s Spirit in His people. It is much bigger than just one or two of us.
      Thank you LORD~!

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    Posted by Sam
    May 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Love!

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Posted by Irene
May 30, 2014 at 8:56 am

“I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.” (Romans 7:24-8:1, 2 MSG)

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    Posted by Sam
    May 30, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Amazing, Irene.

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Posted by Jackie
May 30, 2014 at 7:15 am

Thanks Mike.

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Posted by Tammy
May 30, 2014 at 6:41 am

“My heart literally breaks with the want but surrender is no small thing.”

I can not do it…I just can’t – only He who lives in me can bring me to this place I so long to be. And that, I must also surrender to Him. Romans 7:15 stays constantly with me!

As I listened to Martha’s CD of the month yesterday “Experiencing an Open Heaven”, I came to understand that sometimes my idea of surrender left a “bitter” taste as I swallowed it. I have been surrendering out of “compliance” much of the time. Oh how this must break His heart. I praise Him for His unending mercies and longsuffering with me – an often wandering sheep.

“…surrender is no small thing.” This is true on more levels than I ever new existed.

“Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

Thank you Mike…God is ever so timely.

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Posted by Sam
May 30, 2014 at 5:43 am

“Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

Just so wrapping up of the Mystery! Both at the same time!

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Posted by Sam
May 30, 2014 at 5:41 am

Oh, this brought tears Mike. This came to my mind reading you this morning: “What men cannot achieve (have not power to do), God can do.”

For me, “exchanged life” is this: “God can and will, I cannot and I will not.” I so relate to your words today.

Bless you Mike

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