We love so many things in this world. And before we became followers of Christ, these were things we lived for. So how do we come to the point where we can surrender the things we love to God and model this lifestyle to those we are helping to follow Christ?
A sweet lady in her early twenties reached out to me recently. She sent me a message on Facebook to say that she stumbled upon my blogs, and as she read them, there were a few things about what I wrote that resonated with her. She took a chance and asked me if we could set a Zoom meeting sometime. We’ve never met in person, but she wanted to ask questions she’s been grappling with lately about her journey of faith.
So we did. We had a Zoom call one evening. She was sitting in her bedroom in Spain, I was sitting in my living room in the Philippines, and we had a good conversation about faith.
There was one question that she asked me on the call that lingered in my head after we said our goodbyes. She asked, “How did you come to a point where you can give up and surrender the things you loved to God?”
I didn’t really know how to respond to her at that moment. So I told her that I am still sometimes in the process of learning that, too. When I had time to think about her question, there were two things that became clear for me: obedience and devotion.
When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, we declare and acknowledge that He is the Lord and Savior of our lives. We used to live on our own terms, but now we live under His authority, under His Lordship. Colossians 2:6 says, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”
Submitting to the Lordship of Christ wasn’t an overnight process for me. And I know it wouldn’t also be for you. In fact, I’m still submitting and surrendering to Him every day!
I was sixteen when I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. For sixteen years, I was living in sin and making decisions based on what I know is good. So when I gave my life to Christ, all of the ways I’ve lived for sixteen years weren’t easy to change at once. It was a process—a daily renewing of the mind and a daily preaching of the gospel to myself. Maybe that’s why we call it a walk of faith.
When the sweet lady asked me how I was able to give up and surrender the things that I love to God, I also told her that I didn’t wake up one day wanting to surrender. But when I was her age, I learned to practice obedience in my daily life, even in the smallest of ways.
Our walk with Jesus Christ is a daily and constant surrender. We will always be asked to take up our cross and follow Him daily. I hope you are no longer shocked about that. So if anything, practice it every day. That’s how you build the muscle of faith, the muscle of trust, the muscle of letting God be the Master of your life. And so when the time comes that you experience the hardest tests of life, surrendering to and obeying God will make sense as a response because you’ve been doing it all along.
Every time we obey, we grow in trust in God and we build a deeper understanding of His authority. We realize that we don’t really want to be the one in control of our lives because we always mess it up. I mean, why would we want to be in control anyway? We can’t even manage to keep our plants alive sometimes.
God is called our Lord because He is the ultimate authority of our lives. He is Lord because of who He is and what He can do. He is in control, He has gone ahead of us, He is sovereign, He is perfect, and so He deserves to be obeyed.
I want you to think about one thing you really love doing. Something that makes you lose your sense of time when you do it. Something that you are willing to sacrifice for and lose sleep over. Something that, even against all odds, you still find joy doing.
What is it for you? Is it art? Is it serving others? Is it honing a craft?
Devotion is often defined as love. We devote our lives to something when there is love for it. Like that one thing you really love doing, you devote yourself to it even to a point of sacrifice.
Isn’t it always worth it to surrender and give up something for what you love?
My question for us today is this: How much are we devoted to God? And if we say we are not yet at a point where we are willing to give ourselves as a living sacrifice for Him, I want us to examine the cross again and see His unconditional love for each of us.
1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” The only way that we will love Jesus more and live our lives devoted to Him is if we understand how much He loves us—even when we were still sinners.
It is in understanding that God loves us, even in our most messed up moments, that we learn to surrender to and obey Him daily. It is in knowing that He gave His life for us, even when we were His enemies, that we make a choice to give Him our all because He is worthy of it.
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