Posts Tagged ‘surrender’

One of the things that concerns me most in the church today, especially with regard to using our gifts in creative pursuits is the concept of God’s blessing. It is crucial that we get this point. I have heard many people over the years say something to the effect of “I tried that and God wasn’t in it.” or “God’s blessing wasn’t on it.” At times, I’ve felt the need to press in and find out why they thought this was the case and almost every time the response is some variation of, it wasn’t easy.

Oh that God would make everything that He wants us to do easy, but that is often not the case. More often the things He calls us to are anything but easy, and to see ease as a sign of God’s blessing, is to disregard the example of virtually every important person in Scripture, including Paul and especially Jesus.

Consider these words from Hebrews 12:1 and 2 (NIV) “…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” Here we see Jesus, realizing there would be joy in the accomplishment of His goals, for Himself, for the Father and for us as well, and because He could see the joy that would come, He would endure the cross—perhaps the greatest difficulty faced by anyone, ever. Was crucifixion easy? Absolutely not! Was God’s blessing all over that situation? Beyond a doubt and so it is with us.

The writer of Hebrews relates this Christian life to a race. Races are likewise the antithesis of easy and so we are urged to perseverance. In other words, God is saying, He knows it’s hard, but we need to keep going, because the goal is worth pursuing.

I want to close this passage with a reminder from one of the most persevering people in all of Scripture. Paul wrote in Romans 5:2-5 (NIV) “…And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Struggle is part of this life in Christ, probably by design, because of what the struggle produces in the life of the believer. Perseverance and character are so urgently needed in our world today, and notice they bring a wonderful side effect, hope.

What God has called you to will most likely not be easy. Do it anyway. Persevere. Let God use the struggle to build you. As Churchill once said, “Never give up and never surrender.” Well maybe it’s better stated this way, “Surrender to God and never give up.”

Assignment: Look back over your life. Was there anything you gave up on because it was hard? What were the effects of your giving up? Any regrets? Now look at you current goal. What will be gained if you succeed. What will be lost if you quit.

whiteflagMy pastor is doing a series based on the classic book A Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. Each month he preaches on one of the 12 disciplines Foster outlines. For February our discipline is Submission.

There has been some question as to creating a symbolic reminder of the theme for the worship center/sanctuary. This is the idea I had for this important topic. You see for me submission to God and his will is heavily dependent on me surrendering my will to Him. To me me submission and surrender are synonymous, at least as it pertains to God.

When I thought in that way, the symbol became clear. The universal symbol for surrender is a white flag, so why not display white flags in the sanctuary. But let’s take it a step further. As the saying goes, “The biggest obstacle to God’s will being done is my will being done.” If that’s the case and I can’t speak for you, but it is far too often in my life, then this idea of submission is huge and it’s hard. It’s something we need to bring to the Lord. So what if we added something to the white flag. How about a few permanent markers so that people can write what they need to submit to God on the flags. Then we can pray over these things as a congregation. I think submission is very hard to do on our own. We need divine help. Making this a matter of corporate prayer, not to mention accountability is key!

In what areas of your life is submission difficult?