I was amazed at the amount of feedback that I received from last week’s post, Struggling. It seems that so many of us are struggling with various issues, and the many responses only served to validate my belief that life is filled with challenges, or struggles, for the majority of us.
To be honest with you, I almost felt ashamed that I was only referring to my struggles in coming up with a thought to share with you. Apparently, the very mention of the word struggling was enough to hit home with many of you.
Why do we struggle?
Why is it that we struggle with so many things, especially those things that involve our minds? We struggle with decisions in doing the right thing, in saying the right thing, in well, in making decisions.
It is this man’s humble opinion that our mental struggles are born from fear. Yes, fear.
We struggle with our decisions because we’re afraid of making the wrong ones. Many of us are so plagued by the “what ifs” in our lives that we create a neat little stack of them, only to realize that in no time that little stack has become a mountain.
Some of us only have one fear, yet that one is enough to wreck our lives. That one fear is bigger than we realize, and it quite often comes disguised as something else….
I was having lunch with a good friend last week, and while the food was good, the conversation and fellowship was even better. (I think it’s worth mentioning here that if you don’t have a friend with which you can share what’s on your heart, especially the tough stuff, then you need to go find one!)
My friend had picked me up for lunch, and our conversation continued as he was driving me back to my business. At some point, he said, “You know, Sam, I’ve always been a good provider for my wife and for my family, and I take a lot of pride in that. But it’s also the one thing that I worry about; a LOT. So much so, that I don’t sleep that well.”
I suggested that He surrender to God.
He replied, “I do! I give it to Him every morning. I ask Him to take it off of me, because I don’t want it any more. I do it all the time.”
I looked at my friend and said, “You don’t get what I’m saying. I understand that you’re giving Him this problem. I believe that you’re really asking Him to take it, that you’re really asking for help. And that’s a good thing. What I’m suggesting is that you not only give this problem to Him, but that you give your life to Him. Surrender your life to God. All of it.”
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word surrender? Giving up? Quitting? Losing everything? Being defeated? Freedom lost? How about humiliation?
What if I challenged you, right here and right now, to surrender your life to God? I’m gonna guess that fear of losing control would be your next thought. And then you’d think about what you’d have to give up, what you’d have to surrender to give your life to God. So would you do it? Would you give control of your life to Him? Would you surrender?
Here’s the thing. How can I best say this?
Surrendering your life to God is, in and of itself, a paradox. It just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense that when you surrender your life to God, whatever you’re afraid of losing will pale in comparison to what you’re gonna gain. You see, when it comes to God, the moment that you truly surrender is the moment that find freedom.
I’ll say it again. In fact, I’ll shout it out loud.
When you surrender your life to God, you find freedom.
Freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from the opinions of others. Freedom from sin. Freedom.
Oh, it doesn’t come all at once. Be patient and persistent. Offer your life to God every day. Every day. Don’t lose hope. It does come. And when it does, you’re gonna find yourself walking with something else; the strength of the Holy Spirit. When that strength joins forces with your new found freedom, look out!
I was talking to a lady just the other day about this surrender issue. This poor woman had so much resentment and anger in her heart for her ex-husband. They had been divorced for years, yet her bitterness towards him was so strong that it was palpable.
I shared with her a few tidbits about my first marriage, not in casting blame, but in describing the relationship itself, which quite simply, wasn’t a very healthy one. When I finished she asked me how I felt about my ex-wife, and I simply replied that I had no hard feeling towards her, and that I in fact pray for her quite often. When she asked me how I got to that point, I simply said, “I surrendered.”
Not bothering to wait for the question that I knew was going to come next, I continued, “I don’t have any resentment on my heart for her because I won’t allow resentment to dwell in my heart. The same can be said for anger, or prejudice, or hatred, or lust, or anything that will stand between me and my relationship with God. I just won’t allow it. I refuse to harbor anything in my heart that is not of the Lord.”
“How do you get to that point?” she asked.
Prayers are so powerful. If, while in prayer, you ask the Lord to give you the strength and the willingness to surrender, He will answer you. Don’t you think that He wants you to be closer to Him, that He wants you to walk the way of His Son? He’ll, answer, but not before you, and your heart, are ready. Just keep asking.
Be prayerful. Be persistent. Be patient. He’ll answer.
I want to share a prayer with you. Actually, it’s more of an affirmation, and it’s taken from the Bible in Romans 6:12-14. I’ve actually “tweaked” the passage by making myself a part of the reading.
I will not let sin control the way I live; I will not give in to its lustful desires. I will not let any part of my body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, I give myself completely to God since I have been given a new life. I will use my whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin in no longer my master, for I am no longer subject to the law, which enslaves me to sin. Instead, I am freed by God’s grace. Amen.
It’s not so much the prayer that’s important here, as is the fact that I can say it with conviction, with the knowing that I believe every word of it. It represents a facet of who I am, and the way I choose to try live my life.
It is freedom, and it’s the direct result of surrender.