Thursday, February 1, 2018

Called to Absolute Surrender.

Every time God intertwines details in my life I simply shake my head and smile. Isn't it so like Him? Isn't it amazing that He designs my life, my circumstances, and the small moments of my day to intersect just right, over and over again?

Trust me, I have days where things do not seem to be coming together quite so beautifully. Like this week, with a massive toothache/face-ache and more appointments for different activities and obligations than I would care to discuss. But looking at where He has put me today, where He has brought me this last month, I see that He is giving me opportunity to take up what I am asking all of you to take up with me: the call to Absolute Surrender.

What are we supposed to surrender to exactly?

His will. His plans. His ways.

Surrender might feel like a strong word, like He is forcing something upon you that you will not like, but I assure you that isn't the truth. Before this submission, we were His enemies. He rescued us from the enemy and put us in His camp. Still, we struggle to stay in this state of surrender. We have not fully let go of our old ways and continue to cling to the identity we had before. We fight to get out of His camp, off of His side, often without realizing what we are doing. We have no idea how good it really is to follow His plan, to be completely surrendered to His good and perfect will.

I am loving the connection God has made for me between knowing Him and obeying Him. A surrendered heart, a heart that is submitted to His plans, a heart that desires His will, is a heart that truly knows God. 1 John 2:3 says "And this is how we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments." It's the same idea of knowing believers by the fruit they are bearing. Obedience is evidence of our knowing God.

With all of this in mind, in February I'll be investigating what is means for us to be Called to Absolute Surrender.

I love that phrase! I got it from Andrew Murray's book that I have been listening to. He believes it to be one of the most important qualities in following Jesus. If we are only partially submitted to His will, it is our loss. We not only miss out on deeply knowing Christ, refusing blessing and comfort, but it can break relationships, be a bad example for unbelievers, and set us on a path that is not God's best.

Usually, when I find myself not surrendered to God and His will, I notice that I am clinging to something else. And most of the time, that something else is something very temporary, something that turns out to be very trivial just several months later. Silly, right? So here are the questions I will be asking this month to help me walk this path of God's will with obedience, being quicker to surrender, more happily surrendered, more willingly surrendered.

- Why am I not surrendered to God's will right now?
- What outcome am I not trusting God with?
- What am I afraid of?
- What is it I am hoping to gain in following my own path?

Answering these questions out loud or on paper often seems to put the truth in its place. I more easily see that God knows far better than me and following His will over my own becomes a more simple decision.

If you have trouble trusting God with the path your life will take, perhaps you do not know Him as well as you thought. Jesus tells us in Luke 9 that it is foolish to give up our life in Him in an attempt to gain what the world has to offer, that we must lose our life here in order to gain true life from Him. Jesus also makes it clear that He will make every provision for us, giving us even more reason to trust Him in response to the calls He gives us. If we think we can trust our own plans more than we can trust God, we are badly mistaken.

The better we know Him, the more willing we will be to follow Him. And the more we follow Him, the less time it will take for us to surrender our shabby plans in exchange for His glorious will. The knowing and obeying will both increase!

To help me dive deeper into this, here are the books I will be listening to this month:

Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray
The Crucified Life by A. W. Tozer
What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst
If You Want to Walk on Water You've Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg

These are all new books for me, so while I cannot recommend them blindly, I have heard good things about all of them. If you have any excellent book recommendations, please share! I'd love to hear them, along with any scriptures you find helpful in walking this path of obedience.

I pray that February will be a month where you experience the blessing of trusting God as you purposefully choose to walk in the steps God calls you to. May we all find the freedom, joy, and peace that comes in walking with God along His paths of righteousness.

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