We began this morning by singing together: “Come Holy Spirit and set me on fire, burn all the dross in my life….” What is this dross? It will be different for each of us as we are all unique.
The fire of God never goes out on the altar.
The apostle, Paul, warns against building on the foundation of Jesus Christ with a work of “wood, hay and stubble” ( 1 Corinthians 3: 12-13),the things which keep us from following the Lord whole heartedly and need surrendering to Him. Our heavenly Father does not require us to live an ascetic lifestyle as some have sought in a monastic lifestyle, but He does require that first place in our lives. His word declares: “Charge them that are rich in this world, not to be high minded nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy”, 1 Timothy 6:17. God wants us to enjoy life, not endure it miserably.
Happiness is no substitute for the joy of the Lord. Happiness depends on happenings. The joy of the Lord is found in the person of Jesus Christ and can be experienced in every circumstance, if a person has an undivided heart to follow Him. “……for the joy of the Lord is your strength”, Nehemiah 8: 10. This strength is a God-given equipping and ability to be who God made us to be in Him, and do what He created us to do, to His glory.
If we entertain selfish thoughts, doubt and unbelief found in our old nature and the world’s view of events, we will lose sight of God’s perspective and will for our lives. Jesus declared: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you”, Matthew 6: 33. Why do we struggle with surrender when God’s heart is to bless us with what He knows is best for us?
Surrender is only painful when we refuse to yield. We may believe we want God’s will for our lives, but sooner, or later, that belief will be put to the test, the fire of God. Struggling against God’s will reveals our unwillingness, but do not be discouraged, God has prepared a way for us to breakthrough. As we choose to surrender our unwillingness to Him, He works His will in us, for His good pleasure. “……work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will, and to do, of His good pleasure”, Philippians 2: 12-13. Even our Lord Jesus had to surrender His unwillingness to take the path His Father had ordained for Him. As He agonised in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion, He begged His Father if there was some other way for Him. Finally He chose God’s will for the redemption of mankind saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me,nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done”, Luke 22:42. Immediately following His choice, an angel strengthened Him as He continued to agonise.
As we surrender our unwillingness, our self life, God will work His will in us. Here we discover the joy of finding God’s good pleasure becomes our good pleasure. You cannot do the will of God miserably. God’s will operating in our lives has the hallmarks of His joy and His peace that by-passes our understanding because the supernatural source is from Him.
We have often quoted that “Our emotions make great servants but bad masters”. It is needful to learn that the emotions of our will can be so strong we can be deceived into thinking that something is God’s will. This can be dangerous ground if we allow our emotions to rule and dictate direction. As we choose to put these desires on God’s altar, (surrender), we will then discover God’s peace, a consequence of surrender. Surrender is abandoning our lives to God’s choices for us. In His wisdom, He may open a door in a different direction, His best for us. Anything that takes first place in our lives becomes an idol. That place belongs to God. When He has pre-eminence, He can work with everything else in our lives that has been so important in the past. Some desires will fall away unwanted, others will take their rightful place in godly order. All other relationships, or concerns, we learn to surrender to His hands and trust His timing, working and sovereignty.
In our Christian walk, surrender is a daily requirement. Surrender is always in the now. We do not live our lives in a box, but in ever-changing circumstances. Thus our wills are constantly being confronted. If I learn to walk in humility, trusting the Lord whatever challenges a day may present, surrender to Jesus can become my lifestyle. Why hang on to the right to myself, (refusing surrender), when the fulness of God is offered to me in the birthright of my inheritance in Christ Jesus?
Do I try and bargain with God? Surrender does not count unless it is unconditional. In World War 1 the Germans surrendered with conditions which enabled them to eventually re-build a war machine under Hitler. He instigated World War 2 with all the ensuing atrocities. In finality, Germany was forced to surrender again, but this time unconditionally. Surrender to God must be unconditional, but when you have a measure of who our heavenly Father is, when you know how much He loves you and only wants His best for you, the knowledge of His love behoves us, draws us to submit, and trust. Letting go brings a liberty in Christ that can only be experienced by those who surrender and are ushered into that wonderful place of God’s rest and trust.
Surrender has no agenda!