Thursday, March 2, 2006

Surrender. Repeat as necessary.

From Today’s Daily Light…
“For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. Now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.—But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me. Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

As Christians, we are called, Daily, to one thing…surrender. It is, indeed, something we must purpose to and consciously do each day...and more and more I feel the need to do so each moment. I am called, as Paul says, to die to myself…my thoughts, ideas, motives, hopes, dreams, plans, ways, nature, agenda, traditions, routines, habits, understanding, abilities…my everything when it comes at cross-purposes with Christ’s. Of course, self doesn’t want to die…nothing does, really. But anything that is born or blooms or comes into being is the result of death. Our pastor used a wonderful analogy of a seed and a tree. The seed must die…must stop being a seed…must surrender all its seedness…in order for a tree to grow. If only I were more like the seed and didn’t insist on holding on to what I am, what I have, what I know (or think I know), and just “let go and let God” do His thing.

A few days ago, I was having one of those moments. Fear of the unknown gripped me. I was afraid of making a mistake…or that I had already…that I would make some inalterable misstep. As I expressed my concerns (in a very emotional state, of course) to my friend, she said “You know what I am hearing? I am hearing ‘I don’t trust God.'”

Those words pierced my heart. She went on to remind me of the trust He had built up in my life…the testimony of His personal faithfulness that I have and the fear was replaced by grief…and then peace. She did for me what I could not do in that moment. I couldn’t see the forest for the shell of my own seed.

A few mornings later, I read the following in “My Utmost for His Highest:”
Unless we are experiencing the hurt of facing every deception about ourselves, we have hindered the work of the Word of God in our lives. The Word of God inflicts hurt on us more than sin ever could, because sin dulls our senses.

Sin dulls our senses…how true it is. Of course, in the moment when sin is reigning, we feel we are at the height of our senses – but that is deception. Our senses are dulled to the true reality. We are so distracted by and focused on our feelings and thoughts – our flesh, the natural – that we can not see the reality – what is going on the spirit. In those moments, I believe our estimation of God and His ability is displaced by our estimation of our own worth and ability…in so doing, we limit God…and we sin.

Yet, in what is probably the single most unfathomable and confounding thing about the Lord to me, it is precisely at these times that we are primed to have deception about ourselves revealed…to die to self…and to see more of God…and our faith is strengthened. Only the Lord could work a good and perfect and loving purpose in my sinful, wayward, and rebellious ways. But, as I’ve said before…we don’t really give Him much choice, do we?

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