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Surrendering

Having been raised in church, there’s a time in my life I like to refer to as halftime. It’s a period where I chose to quit making my life about God and decided to make choices that were selfish. I lived the opposite way of what I knew to be right. It wasn’t long before God started trying to get my attention. Things in my life started to go wrong. I was losing the blessings God had given me. Stubbornly, I kept going in the direction I was headed ignoring God’s attempts to get my attention. Finally, things started getting so bad that I had no choice, but to surrender. I laid down on my living room floor one night and prayed, “God, I give up. I can’t do this any more.” The storm stopped, but I still had to live with the consequences of that period in my life.

As I read through the book of Jonah, I see some similarities. He was a God fearing man who lived the way he was supposed to. When God asked him to preach, he ran from his calling. While he was going the opposite direction in a boat, God sent a great storm to get his attention, but he ignored it. The Bible says that he was sleeping in the boat when the others had to wake him. As the storm worsened, he knew the only choice was surrender. Jonah 1:15-16 says, “Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him” (NLT).

Even when you’ve made choices to run from God, He can use it for good. These sailors would never have given their lives to the Lord if Jonah wouldn’t have run away. They saw a powerful God who would stop at nothing until one of His lost sheep surrendered and came back into the fold. If you’ve been running from God, don’t wait until the storm gets so bad that you lose everything before you surrender. If run away, but you’ve already surrendered, get rid of the condemnation. God can use that period in your life for good, plus He can still use you for His purposes. Jonah led an entire city to God after he had run away. Your choices in the past haven’t negated God’s calling on your life. It’s time to move past your mistakes and start moving towards your calling.

Photo by Jean-Pierre Brungs on Unsplash

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Complete Surrender

There was a Rich Mullins song that said, “Surrender don’t come natural to me. I’d rather fight you for something I don’t really want than take what you give that I need.” That lyric has always stuck in my head because of how true it is. We like to say we surrender everything to God until He asks us to give up something. It’s almost like we’re the rich, young ruler. We don’t mind following the commandments He gives, but when we are asked to surrender things of earthly value, we get sad. The truth is that being a Christian is truly about surrender because it’s an action of the heart. It’s an inward thing versus the outward showing of following a bunch of rules.

Since the beginning of creation, God has been concerned with what’s going on inside of us. That’s the truth of who we are, and only He looks past our outward displays to see our intention. If we truly want to be a follower of Christ, it starts with surrendering authority over our life to Him. We give up our rights to what He wants. That’s the cost of being a disciple. If God asked you today to sell everything and give the money to the poor, what would you struggle selling? That’s the barrier between you and a more intimate relationship with Jesus. Surrender doesn’t come natural to us, but I believe it’s something we can all get a little better at.

Here are some Bible verses on surrender.

1. For all who belong to me now belong to you. And all who belong to you now belong to me as well, and my glory is revealed through their surrendered lives.

John 17:10 TPT

2. When you live a life of abandoned love, surrendered before the awe of God, here’s what you’ll experience: Abundant life. Continual protection. And complete satisfaction!

Proverbs 19:23 TPT

3. All who seek to live apart from me will lose it all. But those who let go of their lives for my sake and surrender it all to me will discover true life!

Matthew 10:39 TPT

4. Likewise, unless you surrender all to me, giving up all you possess, you cannot be one of my disciples.

Luke 14:33 TPT

5. (I use everyday language because of the weakness of your natural selves.) At one time you surrendered yourselves entirely as slaves to impurity and wickedness for wicked purposes. In the same way you must now surrender yourselves entirely as slaves of righteousness for holy purposes.

Romans 6:19 GNT

Photo by Alex Woods on Unsplash

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True Satisfaction

Business guru Brian Tracy says that a person only feels good about themselves to the extent that they are in control of their life. When outside forces are disrupting their life, they aren’t in control and stress comes in. When they can afford to do the things they always wanted to, they feel good about themselves. While I believe it’s true for the most part with our physical lives, I think it’s opposite for our spiritual ones.

You will only feel satisfied with your spiritual life to the extent that you surrender to God. When you put aside your wants for God’s needs, you find a fulfillment like you’ve never known. You find satisfaction in your spiritual life. Conversely, when you know what God needs you to do, but you struggle with the decision, you find turmoil. When you ultimately pass on His request to satisfy your desires, it results in conviction and regret. 

There is a constant struggle in each one of us who are believers. Just because we have accepted Christ, it doesn’t mean that our sinful nature leaves. Instead, we have to battle it daily and crucify it. We will never be fully satisfied as believers until we surrender to the Spirit who lives in us.  Romans 8:7 says, “For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. (NLT)” It wants to do things that satisfy the flesh, so it fights against what God wants to do which is to deny the flesh. It creates a constant battle as long as we let it live.

Jesus told us to deny ourselves if we wanted to follow Him. In Matthew 16:25, Jesus said, “Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself. (MSG)” The only way to find out who we were truly created to be is through self sacrifice. We have to put our wants, our desires, our dreams and nail them to the cross. When we do that, we surrender to God’s will for our life, our spirit finds true satisfaction, our purpose is fulfilled and our lives come into harmony. Surrendering our mind and life to the Spirit is how it’s done.

Romans 8:6 says, “Letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. (NLT)” If you find that you’re not living in peaceful satisfaction, look to see who is in the driver’s seat of your life. Are you in control? If you, you’ll find that you’re constantly struggling between doing what God wants and what you want. Or is God in control? If you have let Him have free reign with your life, you will find an inner peace and satisfaction like you’ve never known. The key to being controlled by the Spirit is surrendering to His will. 

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