Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Surrender: A Small Start to an Incredible Change

Some of the most pivotal points in history have centered on a surrender. Take for example the surrender of General Lee to General Grant, which ended the US Civil War. Wilmer McLean's house near the town of Appomattox Court House wasn't that much to look at, but what happened there made history. It led to the reuniting of an entire nation. All because of a simple act: Surrender.

Maybe there's something in your life that you need to surrender. It might not seem like much to anyone else, but for you...it could revolutionize your life.

I'm sure you've heard or read the story of Abraham and Isaac. (If not, check out Genesis 22!) In this passage, we read about how God asked Abraham to surrender the thing that meant most to him: his own son. Three things strike me about the way Abraham surrendered to God in this story:

1. Abraham had faith. He rested on God's promise that through his offspring, all the earth would be blessed. Isaac was the child of promise, and even if things didn't go the way Abraham envisioned them, he knew beyond a doubt that God would do what he said he would. He surrendered his son to God, knowing without a doubt that God would keep his promise to bless the world through Isaac, even thought it seemed impossible.

Are you resting in God's promises? Do you believe that if you surrender your plans and dreams into his hands, they will ultimately be better than you can imagine? Begin by learning the promises of God, and start believing that you can take God at his word.

2. Abraham was prepared. The Bible says he rose early in the morning and, without delay, went to do as God had said. He didn't argue or question, because he had already surrendered in his heart. Surrendering often means releasing our hold on those things that mean most to us. Surrender makes way for sacrifice, though it doesn't necessarily lead to sacrifice in every instance. Surrender is an attitude of the heart, and that attitude is something I believe Abraham had even before God asked him to sacrifice Isaac.

Do you have an attitude of surrender? If God asked you for something that is dear to your heart, would you be willing to let go? Are you preparing yourself now for the possibility that God may ask you to leave everything for him? Don’t be like the rich young ruler who turned away from Jesus for the love of his possessions. Prepare yourself now by having the attitude: Everything I have is just on loan from God. He can make a withdrawal from the bank of my life whenever he chooses. I am his servant.

3. Abraham set a pattern. He obeyed, to the point of binding his son, placing him on the altar, and preparing to drive the knife into his heart until the angel stayed his hand. God's response to Abraham’s obedience was "Now I know that you fear God." And now Abraham knew. It set up a paradigm in his life. God was always first.

Is God first in your life? Is there someone or something more important to you? It's great to love your friends and family, to enjoy your job and work hard at it, and to be diligent at school and hobbies you may have. But if anything or anyone starts taking higher priority than your devotion to God, that person or thing is becoming your idol. Abraham had to make the choice to unconditionally surrender the single most important thing in his life, to show that God is his all. Start now: Commit the things and people in your life, one at a time, back to God. Let go when he asks you to. Build a pattern of surrender.

The question for you is not, "DOES God want you to surrender?" but instead, "WHAT does he want you to surrender?" There is a constant call to surrender. Not necessarily a constant call to give up or sacrifice what we've surrendered, but a call to continually loosen our grasp, which is always groping for something to hold. Dr. David Jeremiah says that when we have open hands, God is free to take from them. But it is only then that he is also free to fill our hands to overflowing with more than we could ever imagine.

You know the hardest thing about surrender? We can't do it. The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is so weak. It clings to its treasure like a child to her tattered, old teddy bear. The flesh alone cannot, or will not, let go.

But this is not an excuse to disregard surrender. Though we may not be able to do it fully, we can take the first step. Sometimes, all that step looks like is a cry for help, a plea to the Lord to pry our fingers from that to which we cling so that we are free to raise our hands to him. Romans 12:2 says "offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God." Committing ourselves fully to the Lord allows Him to have His way in our lives, which includes enabling us to let go.

Lately I've been pleading with the Lord to pry my fingers from some of the things I myself am too scared to let go of. I pray he'll teach me to trust in his promises alone; that he will make me fully devoted to Him. A God who desires our undivided love and adoration cannot ignore such a plea.

So I ask you: What do you need to surrender?

McLean’s surrender of his simple house led to one of the greatest moments in American history. Abraham’s surrender on Mount Moriah was only one man’s act of surrender, yet God used him and his offspring to bring to earth his own son, who would one day die for the sins of the world on* that same mountain.

Take your hands off the keyboard and mouse.
Look around at where you're sitting.
It may not be any place special, but what you do right now could change your life…

And maybe even the world.


*Jesus’ crucifixion occurred just to the north of Mount Moriah, or the temple mount

Additional resources and references: (Available for a limited time only)

Chip Ingram's Message - Make Great Sacrifices
Chuck Swindoll's Message - A Year for Letting Go

David Jeremiah's Message - Open Hands

Recommendations:

"Surrender" - Flame ft. V. Rose

1 comment:

  1. Wow. That is really good. Very thought provoking post. God is so wow!

    -Leah-

    ReplyDelete