Today is my birthday!!!! It is pretty special because it is the first birthday I’ve celebrated in the USA in the past three years. This has been an amazing day full of love and blessings from friends and family not only in the USA, but also South Africa and even Taiwan!!!
I’ve started a little tradition of writing a very special blog every year on my birthday while living in South Africa, and even though I am back in the States I hope to keep that tradition alive. So I asked God what He had in store for me this next year of life? What did He want me to accomplish? How did He want me to grow in this new season?
I really sense God calling for me to surrender more and more of my life to Him, and for me to just watch what He would do with my life! He gave me the scripture in Ephesians 3:20 which says:
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
I felt God saying that He has greater things in store for me this year! Things I can’t even conceive of in my wildest dreams! My response was awe and deep reverence of His power, but also an exclamation of: “Daddy, you’ve already done this for me while in South Africa! You mean there is more?!”
God: “Baby! You have not seen nothing yet!”
All God was asking of me was to give Him more of me. Give Him all of me. Surrender all of those areas that I still try to manage and control. Surrender everything to Him continuously and completely!
But what does a ‘surrendered life’ look like? I believe it is saying, “God my life is not my own. It belongs to You. But here it is anyways. Do with it what you please.” It is relinquishing all control to the Father, the one who created you. It is dying to yourself daily and following Christ. Scripture says:
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
If we are serious about living for Christ then we must be willing to surrender our all to Him. Not because Jesus wants to take something away from us, but because He wants to give us something so much better: Himself. Jesus wants us to look, act, walk, talk, think, and be just like Him. He wants to transform us into God’s initial plan for man. But we first must be willing to surrender.
Why is living a surrendered life (a life devoted to following Christ) so hard?
I believe there are three main reasons we struggle with this:
This is an obvious reason. Fear is a powerful weapon that the enemy loves to use to keep us from following Christ. Fear can cripple the strongest of the strong and keeps many people in chains. Following Christ is not always so easy. Many times Christ asks us to follow Him to places that are not so popular and do things that just don’t make sense. Fear of the unknown keeps many Christians and nonbelievers from trusting Christ fully. Lets be honest, we all like to know every detail of every move Christ wants us to make. We want to know the what, when, where, why, and how! But many times God only provides answers to a few of these, and sometimes He just tells us to go!
We must begin replacing fear with faith! God has called us to walk by faith and not by sight! Scripture reminds us to:
Proverbs 3: 5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Fear is powerful, but faith in the one, true God will take you places you’ve never imagined. Keep fear in check and let your faith lead you into a life of surrender.
Control is as obvious a barrier to living a surrendered life, but it is a bigger factor than people think. This was certainly an area God had to break (and continues to deal with) that kept me from truly following Christ. I like to be in control, but Christ has called me to deny myself. To relinquish all control of my life to Him. The world (especially western societies) project the complete opposite.
These days the society tells you to be true to yourself, do what feels right, and anyone or any thing that prevents you from “living your truth” is wrong, and in some cases infringes on one your rights. But this notion is completely against what Christ preached. It goes completely against the gospel and you cannot truly follow Him and still please self. This seems radical, but even Christ himself had to relinquish all control to the Father in order to do His will.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I know live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Christ is not asking us to do anything He has not already done. He had a moment on the cross when He wanted to reclaim some control when things got too hard, but even He had to surrender it all to God. Pray and ask God to show you what areas in your life you are trying to control instead of surrendering them to Him.
3. Lack of Knowledge about Who God Is
I was shocked when a friend pointed out that a reason I was struggling with trusting God with my all was because I really did not know His character. This shocked me because I viewed myself as someone who knows God and has seen Him work. But maybe I was lacking a deep knowledge of His character.
When times got hard and we were no longer able to see God or even feel Him working in our lives, if we truly trusted Him with our all then we would not doubt and stress. We would keep pursuing Him because we truly knew the God we served. We knew He is a God of making the impossible possible. He is a God who parts seas and causes really thick walls to crumble to the ground. He is a God that is good and can only do good things. He is a God that nothing is too hard for.
We stress when things get hard because we believe that if it is too hard for us to handle that must also mean it’s too hard for God too. Absolutely wrong. Nothing in our life is ever too hard for God. Nothing surprises Him or frightens Him. God is never caught off guard or without a plan. God is sovereign. God holds all power in His hands. Nothing is too hard for Him.
“And looking at them Jesus said to them, ‘With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
If we truly believed that with God all things are possible and nothing is too hard for Him, how would your life change? How would your response to hard situations change?
Are you ready to live a life of surrender?
I have tasted and seen just what God can do when you surrender your life to Him. I witnessed first hand His goodness and power. A surrendered life is not a life of lack but great abundance. When you place your life, future, past, present, hopes, dreams, and plans into the Father’s capable hands…immeasurably and super abundantly more is yours!
Happy Birthday to me!!!