04 Jan SURRENDER – Turning Hopelessness Into Freedom
A friend and I were recently talking, and she said, “I don’t want to surrender, I don’t want to be weak.” You may identify with this, but the thing is, surrendering to God doesn’t make us weak, it makes us strong. Strong in the Lord, dependent on the Lord, seeing that we can do nothing apart from the Lord (John 15:5) but that in Christ we can do all things (Philippians 4:13).
Surrender is a word that Adam and Eve did not know until the Fall. They lived in peace and joy having complete trust in the Lord until Satan, the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) entered. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, we are all born into a sinful world. We are all now in a position that requires us to surrender and trust (Romans 5:12).
We reach a point in our life where we have to make a choice to seek God or to continue to follow our sinful flesh apart from God. Have you come to that moment? Do you believe that there is nothing you can do to be good enough for Christ? Have you put your trust in the truth that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, the Perfect for the imperfect, and 3 days later was resurrected from death to life, in order to bring us to God? (1 Peter 3:18) Salvation happens in a moment – Jesus saves us all at once. We are forgiven and called a child of God, and we receive an inheritance. You will never be more forgiven or loved than you are right now. Unconditionally. But freedom and sanctification work differently. Little by little.
Freedom is our choice, no one can do it for us. God sets us up, but we have to make the step in faith to lay down our self – our flesh – and align our hearts and desires with the Lord’s. He refines us and gives us everything we need. He led the Israelites to the “land of milk and honey,” but they had to go and get it for themselves. Our success doesn’t depend on our abilities as much as it depends on our obedience and trust in the Lord. The freedom comes, the promises fulfilled. When Moses led the Israelites to the Red Sea they doubted God’s protection and sovereignty (Exodus 14:14-15), but Moses tells them not to be afraid and to stand firm – that they would be delivered. Reminding them that the Lord would fight for them, they needed only to be calm. But God steps in and says, “tell them to go forward, move on,” and then He parted the Red Sea for their safe exit from the Egyptians.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Paul tells us that God’s grace is sufficient for us, and we gain power in our weakness. How does this make sense? When we rely on Him and not ourselves, we gain strength. We gain wisdom and clarity as God refines us through our weakness and hardships. God chips away, little by little, at the worldly things we are living for, our self destructive habits we have, to make us more Christ-like. Paul tells us, “to delight in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties. For when [we are] weak, then [we are] strong.”
Matthew 5:3 says “Blessed are the poor in spirit for they will see the kingdom of God.” Poor in spirit means that we see our need for something outside of ourselves. In Luke 23:46 it says, “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.” His last words should be our first words. Obedience and surrender. How do we do that? Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
When our desires and heart align with His, we see our need for Him and that He has already supplied all that we need. He is already the Sovereign Creator over us and all things in our lives, but until we have the perspective to see that, we tend to think we can do it all apart from God. I am telling you this is exhausting. Juggling all those plates, anxious and fearful of what will happen if one falls. Do you feel like you just can’t do it anymore? CRY OUT TO GOD! Acknowledge God’s hand in your life and surrender to Him. Allow Him to take the reins. God allows us free will and He won’t do it until you have asked Him to in utter dependence on Him. He even gives you your breath.
He sees your tears and frustration, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8). We cannot control people and circumstances, but we can trust HIM. HE is working things out and HE has a plan and a purpose for you. He controls everything, He can wipe out our enemies and He can bless us.
Whether you need help with your work, marriage, kids, family or health, being desperate is where God wants us. We can see him clearly when we are looking up for him. Without getting on our knees and looking up from that pit, we think we can do it all on our own, but we can’t. Surrender. Let grace flood in and let go of the control you are trying to have – it is an illusion. You can only do what you can do and you have to let God do the rest. Hopelessness can turn into freedom when we surrender. There is no situation that is hopeless to God.
“I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.”
God will come through. Expect great things from Him – low expectations allow failure. Don’t accept a cheap version of the good God has for you. Focus on the unseen, not the seen.
Pray your worries to God and admit you can do nothing without Christ. Take your eyes off yourself and look to your Lord and Savior, be confident in His goodness and provision. He will deliver you into a spacious place. It might look different than what you imagine, but if your heart is surrendered, you will find Him there and it will never be lonely.
We are protected, positioned, and prepared. Don’t let the enemy steal your confidence little by little. God’s promises are fulfilled through the process of surrendering. He promises we will find Him when we seek Him with all that we have (Jeremiah 29:13), but then it is up to us to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23).