Episode 8: Choose Surrender Part 2, taking it further.
Surrender in our faith is a involves a process. A sometimes long and difficult process.
Join me in this episode as we explore 4 components that help us in this process.
Together let’s look to God’s word for an example, and learn the why behind our need. God says it’s worth our while.
If it is to be – it is up to me! If ever there was a statement that could lead to two radically different results. it is this one.
Depending on the circumstance we might take them strap them as a badge of honor – slap it on our chest and think – Shew! Those are some empowering words… feeling strong – and in control. I love to be in control. Knowing the next step, being able to look at something and feel pride sweep over me with a thought that says — hey I did that! I love that feeling…the one where we are beaming with pride over what we’ve accomplished.
Other circumstances however lead to a completely different place where rather than pride, and accomplishment, or a badge of honor – we’re swarming in regret, thoughts of inadequacy and failure thinking – ugh… hey – I did that… again… I can’t stand that feeling, and never want to experience it again… like ever. And lots of you are just like me…finding yourself feeling stuck in the never-ending cycle of, “why can I not get it right!?!”
So here we are, those of us inclined to perfect ourselves, will our way – and forge our own path – we’re laying it all out – coming to terms with our imperfection in exchange for God’s perfection by looking to his example.
Last episode, I described a moment when God opened my eyes to the truth that I cannot be the perfection in my home, but I can ask the God of perfection into my home, and we were just about to dig into the four steps of surrender. We’re going to get there today, but before we do I want to dig just a bit further… last time I mentioned Jesus as demonstrating to us the epitome of surrender.
For those of you thinking that’s a tall order feeling like that’s too unreachable, I want keep Jesus surrender on the table and I also want to look at another example God lays out for us. Which is the example we see in the life of Abraham.
We find God’s call of surrender to Abraham in Genesis 12:2 – where He tells him to get out of the land of familiarity… his family… everything he’s always known and follow God into a land that God will show him. Verse 2 says, “and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.”
This is a call that’s transcended time with an open door for all who are willing to step into relationship with God. If you’ve answered that call – you’ve stepped into covenant with Him. Which is the same covenant that God made with Abraham way back in Genesis – the one we just read…
In this verse we see four statements laid out
- I will make thee a great nation.
- I will bless thee.
- I will make thy name great.
- And YOU shall be a blessing.
Understanding this covenant is just as much ours as Abrahams – we can look at this verse knowing God is saying the same thing to us.
Now that it’s personal, here’s what we can take away. It is God who does the making and the blessing.
Too often we get confused into thinking we’re responsible for the making of ourselves, as well as the blessing of ourselves – leaving Him out of it all together. We either skip over this truth, are ignorant to it, or reject it. But when it comes to learning to surrender, and living for His plan – it’s a truth that we’ve got bow down to – and get our self-will out of the way of… because there’s another point that God’s trying to get us too – the 4th point of that verse.
God wants to do the blessing and making – and through that process… His purpose isn’t only to serve us.
It goes beyond us – It’s bigger then us. His desire is to do these and set us up to be a blessing to others. God’s plan is bigger and higher than ours. We want to bless ourselves – God wants to do that and MORE. Our motive often stalls out focusing on ourselves – God’s motive – is His kingdom. Which involves taking our life – and using it to draw others in. His kingdom is an open door to all who are willing – ours typically has gates, walls, doors, boundaries – which we need His Spirit to open up, tear down, stretch, and reach through.
Our self-focused mindset likes to focus on the blessing, and making of ourselves. We have this idea of what is going to bless and make us, don’t we? And that’s where you find us strategizing, DIYing, and self-willing our way. We get those things set – and we start working our own plan to our imagined idea of satisfaction…and then we find ourselves failing – like I did in my car the day I described to you…
God’s plan though… His plan leads to our ultimate truth feeling satisfaction, one that can be felt way down in our gut… that soul satisfaction that we all think we know how to get ourselves to, but fail at miserably every crazy time – because it’s a soul satisfaction that can only be found by allowing the creator of this earthen vessel we exist in to use us to bless those around us…
Here’s where our individualistic mentality does us such a HUGE disservice. Individualism if not kept in check feeds selfishness which blinds us from seeing God’s desire is for there to be an overflow from our life pouring into the lives of those we live with, those in our realm of influence… ultimately leading to a soul satisfaction that we never realized could exist.
Allowing God to make Abraham, and Bless Abraham – required surrender – A HUGE step of surrender. One that required him to leave everything he thought would be, everything he knew, everything his culture taught him, every element of safety and protection that he had seen as he grew up – and willingly choose to follow God to a land…where the location would be revealed at a later time. Who packs up and goes on a road trip where the destination remains to be seen —- not a lot of people. Who packs up their home – uproots their family to move to a place that will be determined along the way– there’s probably some radical people that have done this – but I don’t know them, and chances are a lot of you don’t either.
This is astonishing faith – and an example of extreme surrender.
The same sort of surrender that God calls us to – No, I’m not suggesting you need to pack up and do what Abraham did. But what I am suggesting is you do a deep dive to see… God is calling you to surrender something so what’s stopping you from doing it and allowing God to make you and bless you? What stops you from the surrender God calls us to?
Another way to look at it – What idea of perfection is holding you back from allowing God to bless you, and make you?
- Is there a mentality that has to shift?
- Is there a tradition that needs change?
- How about a plan or idea that has to be released?
- An imagined future that you need to lay down?
- A habit that needs broken?
- What emotion needs harnessed?
In a lot of instances where we’re struggling to surrender its because we’ve got this big idol of control standing in our way blocking our view of God. We’re so busy bowing down to it, that we’re blinded to the promises of God.
You better believe there were some things that Abraham had to come to terms with throughout his life, And there are some we’ve got to as well.
Looking at Abraham often we focus on that huge step of faith and forget that his life shows us a progressive transformation. His path to the promised land was not perfect – and he did his own bowing to an idol of control when he concocted his plan to protect himself when they traveled through Egypt. God didn’t tell him to lie to Pharoah and tell him his wife was really his sister – he did that.
Was Abraham perfect – No, what he had though was an understanding for his need for God. Which is where we need to get to. Which is what God opened my eyes to in my car that day. And it’s what God is working to open your eyes too.
We cannot be everything we need. But God is.
Abraham’s transformation was progressive. Our transformation is progressive.
2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
This is a powerful verse, one that has taken my simplistic mind some time to try to wrap my brain around, but as God has opened my eyes- I’ve fallen in love with what it shows us about our steadfast consistent, faithful, Heavenly Father. But to see it, we have to ask ourselves a couple of questions about our current state,
- What is the glass we’re looking through
- What is the glory we’re beholding?
Too often the glass we’re looking through is our imagined perfection –
and we’re distracted by our own perceived glory.
This verse right here tells us it’s not our glory to perceive but we should be looking for God’s glory, and as we do – His desire is to change us to that same image – not in a one and done moment but a progressive one where he’s taking us from Glory to Glory… from Glory to Glory… which is gradual, progressive, it’s process…a leveling up of sorts, a transformation… something that takes time. Actually, a LIFETIME of TIME.
And it requires we do one of those seeming nonsensical things God consistently asks us to do… by Stopping the focusing on ourselves – and starting focusing on Him.
Glory to glory —
We can’t get from glory to glory with out him… there is no diying our way to it. it’s that annoying to our flesh hard to take pray, seek, wait sorta method where we’re willing to see this awareness of our inability to be perfection not as an opportunity to be lost in swarming self-shaming thoughts, but as a direct invitation from the Lord saying, “Chin up daughter, Let’s go to another place of glory.
Because that is every bit of what that moment is… A hand extended, open invitation from Jesus Himself saying, you’re not going it alone… I’m here. I’ll take the lead… you’re going to follow…
So with that let’s dive on in… Admit, Acknolwedge, Ask, allow
4 Steps to Surrender
- Admit our imperfection by standing transparently before God. Confess our failure or feelings to him. We cannot do it all, but we serve a God who does.
God is omniscient. He’s all knowing. There is nothing that has ever happened, or will ever happen that he doesn’t already know. It’s sobering reality to accept that he sees the good – but he also sees the not-so-good, the things we shove into our closet and don’t want anyone to see.
It makes me think of my children. I can watch them do something wrong with my very own eyes. I can confront them in the moment it happens and BOOM! they’re mouth is shut and they pretend as though they have no idea what I’m talking about.
I laugh as I recall a few instances of this, and wonder how on earth do they think they’re going to get away with this? And then my question turns into sobering truth as my thoughts turn inward and I remember God’s omniscience and my shortcomings…
Confession – is necessary and good for the soul.
We already mentioned – it isn’t God that needs our confession, it’s us, we need confession and the humility that it brings.
James 4:6, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
It’s pride that stops us from admitting our sin. James 4:6 tells us directly God opposes the proud. How appalling is it to think that holding in our sin makes us an opponent of the Lord? I don’t ever want to stand against God, and I’m certain you feel the same – but that is exactly what we do when we cover things up, and pretend we’ve done no wrong.
I need his grace daily, we need his grace daily. It is only by his grace that we are saved… and his grace is only given through humility – so that tells me, this admitting when we’re wrong, admitting we’re imperfect, admitting our shortcomings, and struggle … we’ve got to get it figured out.
4 Scriptures on Admitting wrong:
- Proverbs 28:13, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
- James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer for a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
- 1 John 1:19, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
- Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Admitting our imperfection is the first step in surrender. If you’re struggling, just as everyone does with admitting sin, I encourage you to meditate on these verses. Accept the power of confession, practice it and allow God to lavish you in his love as you begin to accept that he already knows your sin – and loves you still.
What an amazing God we serve – and how liberating it is to know that even in the midst of our transgressions, and imperfections – he says – “Come to Me.” The Lord of all the Universe says, “Come to me.” Knowing that… it makes me want to run to him. To throw down every piece of me that holds me back and just run to the arms of my Savior.
2. Acknowledge that God is the God of control. When we attempt to control things, we are trying to do his job. His plan is better than ours. Trust him to do what he has said he will do.
God is omnipotent which means he is all powerful. He is sovereign.
Miriam-Webster defines sovereign as: possessed of supreme power, unlimited extent, enjoying autonomy. Having undisputed ascendancy.
God’s sovereignty means that He alone is in control.
Step 2 in our process of surrender focuses on acknowledging that truth.
Control is an interesting thing. I like to be in control. It feels good… but in those moments when I can’t get a grip –it leaves me feeling disheveled, and is something I’ve spent lots of time trying to understand and learning how to allow myself to be led (I’ve not perfected this – I’ve already told you, my flesh is thick – this is one of those force a pause, and focus concepts where we have to be intentional).
We can’t be everything – it’s not possible because we are imperfect. We are an imperfect creation requiring a perfect Savior, who happens to be omnipotent and sovereign all wrapped up in one.
It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it? Think about this truth for a moment and make this statement personal: “I can’t be everything, but the One who died for me (so that I can live) – is.”
(Make this personal – because it is personal)
He took control of my sin the day he died on Calvary. But in order for me to receive his redemption, I first had to acknowledge that truth, and surrender my life to him. It was my acknowledgement of him that allowed his grace and mercy to wash over me, and wipe away my sins through waters of baptism. Acknowledging his sovereignty was a must there, and is a must in every other area of life.
Friend, God was so serious about reconciling us to him that he chose nails, thorns, and a brutal beating, yet we have the audacity to wonder – “Can I really trust him, here?” We serve a God we cannot see with our eyes. We serve a God that requires us to have faith, a belief in things unseen. Trusting him to have control over everything when we can’t see him – it can be a hard thing, and it requires that forced pause, I mentioned, and intentional focus on who He is – and the control that is his…
4 Verses Acknowledging God’s Control:
- Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
- Psalm 29:10, “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.”
- Job 42:2, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
- Jeremiah 32:27, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”
3. Ask the God of control to rule over your day. Ask the God of control to take up residence into every area of your life.
Ask him, the God of peace, understanding, patience, and love to dwell in your home, in your car, at your work. There’s something about asking God to be who he already is, that radically changes the atmosphere.
Matthew 7:7-11, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf will give him a stone?
The Message version says it like this, “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?”
I love these verses no matter the version.
They are a straight to the point powerful reminder that God is our, Abba Father. Abba is a term of endearment. Abba is like calling God – Daddy. These words do a good job of putting us back our place as they tell us the love we have for our own children pales in comparison for God’s love for us. Just like we want our children to succeed – God wants it even more so. That is amazing to consider when I look at my unconditional love for my children… to think that a greater love is possible is mind boggling – but God’s word says it, and that’s truth.
These verses tell us to ASK.
Asking for something, can be difficult. I like how the Message version likens this to cat-and-mouse and hide-and-seek. We’re like that sometimes when it comes to asking for things. We’ll go around it a thousand times without directly saying exactly what we want. This is frustrating when we experience this in the business world, in our marriage, with our children.
Can you imagine God’s thoughts when we won’t just come out and ask him?
I’m not sure why asking can be so complicated, but it is. We can have burning questions inside, and still refuse to open our mouth and speak. We withhold them for whatever reason, yet God says over and over to ask – and it will be given – seek and you will find – knock and it will be opened to you.
It all begins with an ask…
1 Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the Lord and his strength; Seek His face continually.”
4 Verses: the necessity of Asking
- Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplications with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
- John 16:24, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”
- Psalm 107:6, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses.”
- James 5:13, “Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.”
Communication is key to ALL relationships
…even when it comes to our Heavenly Father.
Yes, God knows what we need without us saying, but He’s a perfect gentleman – and we have free will. So, yes, he knows what we have need of before we ask, but he didn’t want robots to serve him so he gave us free will to determine whether or not to humble ourselves before him, and ask.
If your home, relationships, or life in general are in need of peace, love, joy, and comfort – you don’t have to sit and problem solve your way to perfection in these areas. All you have to do is sit and ask our Heavenly Father. He sees the stress and mess. He sees the space where you keep failing, and He says, “If only she would do what I have asked her to do. – if only she would ask Me.”
In this process we’re outlining we’ve already admitted our imperfection, we’ve acknowledged his control, and now, we’re ready to humble ourselves at the foot of his throne and ask for help. This is a big step. This is the one we take with faith as we acknowledge that God is in control of all things, and that we can trust him to be in control of the areas where we keep failing. We ask Him to open our eyes, make us aware, and help us to be the clay that is shaped in the Potter’s Hand.
4. Allow him to work. Exodus 14:14, “The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” This is one of the most difficult verses to live. It’s the time where we practice the act of surrender by stepping back, taking a deep breath (or 10) and letting God be God.
Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans.”
When I think about my need for peace, love, joy, and comfort in my home and my inability to obtain it on my own – this verse becomes my foundation.
Commitment… Commit to the Lord and he WILL establish your plans. That is a promise. A- PROMISE.
What I find in my imperfection as a wife/mother/woman is that I can admit, acknowledge, and ask for God’s help without much hesitation but laying these things at the foot of the Throne and committing to leave them there – is intensely difficult.
I have this inclination to place them there for a moment and when more time then I’m comfortable with passes, I’ll walk over, pick them up, and go back to trying to fix myself.
Allowing God to work, or in other words waiting for God to work is hard. We acknowledge that his ways are higher than ours, but that doesn’t mean we’re willing to tolerate the wait.
Our way says we offer our requests, and Boom – God gets it done – quickly. But His ways are NOT our ways. He says leave it there – and I’ll get it done, my way. When it comes to God timeliness does not dictate effectiveness …
Where we see a straight path from point A to B – God sees a side road with crooked paths, increased depth and lots of ground to cover – a journey that will be remembered – not a shortcut and on to the next thing easily forgotten sort of experience.
We serve a God desiring a people with deep roots that can stand the test of time – he knows good and well the depth of our roots determines our strength – he understands shallow seed merely shrivels in the heat – That’s not his desire for us, no, his desire – his plan – is to transform us. His transformation begins by rooting us deep, building within us power to withstand the elements… and that rooting requires a wait where we allow him to handle the thing we cannot so that this thing we can’t get past is gone – and gone for good.
4 Verses: Allowing God to be God.
- Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”
- Psalm 25:5, “Lead me in Your truth and teach me. For you are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.”
- Psalm 5:3, “In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”
- Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you and you will only be silent.”
Wait, wait, wait – wait.
It’s kinda funny in a frustrating sort of way – our flesh says GO, GO, GO, GO – yet God’s word says, WAIT, WAIT, WAIT, WAIT… Our natural instinct is to control the situation, fix the problem, work things out, but God again, says wait. Over and over again he tells us to wait – and promises while we do, he is moving. The kinda funny in a frustrating sort of way thing here is His ways are higher than ours – and no matter how much we like or don’t like that truth… His ways work – in a way that ours never will.
If your tired of trying to be the perfection you can never be, I encourage you to push through and complete this act of surrender by stepping back and allowing God to be God. Write these verses down, grab a screenshot in your Bible app – or keep this podcast handy. The moment you choose to allow God to do his work is the same moment you’re going to be tempted to pick this “thing” back up again.
We have to determine in our mind to commit our path to the Lord. Allow these verses to be the anchor we cling to that keeps us surrendered. Trust God to do what he has promised. Wait and allow him to stretch deep roots. Allow him to conquer this giant for us, to be strength where we are weak, perfection where we are imperfect.
These four steps coupled with prayer, supplication, thanksgiving and studying the word of God melts the stress away as our mind is opened and our understanding increased. Where the clay that we are gets to a place where it can be formed, and molded by the gentle hand of the Potter.
In his word we find it filled with imperfect people used greatly. Rahab was a prostitute, Leah was NOT pretty, she was unwanted. Moses was a murderer, David was an adulterer, Jacob was a liar. We read of their shortcomings, and not just that, but God’s patience and long suffering until each chose the act of surrender to carry out what the Lord desired.
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
He knows the record written before we left our mother’s womb…I want whatever his plan is. This is His game if you will – If I want to play it the right way and get the experience of the Creator – I’ve got to be willing to play the way he outlined it.
We see the here and the now, the mess and the stress, and we forget, don’t understand, or choose not to accept that God saw every moment of our lives before even one passed. He knows our weakness, and he says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28, a message we hear over and over in his word as God reaches to his people in whatever pit they may be.
I need God’s word every day – We need his word every day. Consuming it every day allows us to take up our armor and fight when the enemy of our soul attempts to stop us from accepting that Jesus was sent to be the perfection we will never be, and the perfection that is required of us all. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
Wrapping it up…
I find in myself; my first thought is nearly always – do it yourself. Clean yourself up, get yourself right – but in my car that day – God allowed me to understand – I need Him. It’s His perfection I need. It’s His perfection my family needs – not MINE. I need His Spirit living and operating within Me. I need His hand to lead me. I need His voice to speak to me… and that was the day I gave up. I gave up fixing myself to being the perfect wife, mother, and woman and surrendered asking God to reign where I keep failing, to show me his definition of what I need to be – and to mold me by His hand and His word decreasing me, and increasing Him.
I wish I could tell you everything has been fine since that day, but it hasn’t, my flesh is thick and this act of surrender is a conscious decision that I need Jesus to help me make every day and it requires commitment. His perfection has got to be first in my life. Knowing who He is… search, and seek after Him every day is a must. … and it’s the same must required of you … Let’s choose Surrender.
Guys, I promise you we want to get to that place God was calling Abraham too where God is able to set us up to be a blessing to those around us…
As we close out this episode let’s take this choice of Surrender with us.
Developing a true walk with God requires we take His word and do something with it. So here’s a super simple way to do just that – Grab a sticky note – or – set a reminder in your phone – and do some check ins with yourself where you intentionally think through – how am I when it comes to surrender? Better yet – set yourself a reminder to ask God how you’re doing in these areas – and when you do – ask Him to give you a willing spirit to see what He shows you. And don’t get frustrated if He doesn’t show you anything right then and there. He may not drop it to you in prayer the moment you ask – rather He may choose reveal it to you as you work through your day – or weeks to come through a real-life demonstration. I find when God does this — as annoying as it can be, it’s the best way for Him to open my eyes to really see the state of who I am, and the condition of my heart.
Moments of correction… Those of you with children understand that catching your child in the act and correcting in that moment is way more powerful than waiting hours or days after an opportunity presents itself. If you’re an employee — on the job training — there’s nothing better. The same applies here. So with that – we’re wrapping this episode up —- but we’re taking this choice with us… Let’s choose Surrender.