The past few days I have been reading and studying the term “living sacrifice”. As most of you know I was chastened yesterday for my busyness and was reminded that in God there is always balance, in His will, He will always cause me to “lie down in green pastures.” (Psalm 23) This morning I was struggling with the sin of busyness that wanted to creep in, causing me to divide my attention from His word to the thought of all the things I needed to get done today. But, with much determination, I found myself sitting at His feet, waiting patiently for Him to teach me. And, He did, for He is ever faithful to guide me and direct me.
He directed me to Psalm 31 verse 5, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit.” These are the last words that Jesus spoke as He died for our sins. Matthew Henry describes it this way, “With these words our Lord Jesus yielded up the ghost upon the cross, and made His soul an offering, a free-will offering for sin, voluntarily laying down His life as a ransom.” Jesus knew that as soon as He let go, our sins would be forgiven, and all man-kind, who accept His free-will offering would be redeemed. As I thought about these words and what it meant to Jesus and to me, I was struck with the realization that I am not totally surrendered yet.
I have been learning to lay down areas of my life as a “living sacrifice” but I have not gotten to the point where I too can say, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit.” As you know, I am a word hound and I have to sniff out the meanings of words to gain understanding. The word “commit” means to charge to the care of. When I say I commit my spirit to God, I am saying that I give Him complete and utter control, in this life and the life to come. There is no area of my life, my breath, soul or spirit that God does not have the right to have complete control of. This is hard to do, for my natural response is to hold something back, to hold onto the world around me, and all that I hold dearly on this earth.
All of this investigating and digging around in God’s word led me to the word “surrender.” Once again, I am back to the “living sacrifice” aspect of my walk. I really think the Lord is trying to tell me something, but my stubborn heart just doesn’t want to accept it. The troubles that I am having are a result of my lack of surrender of every area of my life. We hear preachers teach on surrender, we lift our hands in worship as an act of surrender, and we talk of surrender, but when I allow the Lord God to search me, I realize I am not there yet. I too struggle with surrender, total and absolute surrender to His will for me.
I do desire to say, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit” because I do believe that God is God, that He created me, redeemed me and that when I leave this earth I will go to be with Him. But that is where I am falling short in surrender. When I think about death, and about leaving this earth, there is a sense of fear. Yes, I admit it, I fear death, and that is where I have not fully surrendered to Him yet.
When I think about death and what it means, I get a little frantic. I start to think about all the loved ones that I will leave behind, my children, my husband, the children at my church that I love like my own. I think about all the people I will leave behind, instead of focusing on Jesus, who is preparing a place for me. I think many of us struggle with the fear of death, and the knowledge that we are not fully surrendered in this area of our life yet. I would love to tell you that the Lord has worked this all out in me and that I am no longer afraid, but truth be told, I am not there yet.
I do know and in all confidence believe that the Lord God has redeemed me from the power of death and that I shall live in all eternity with Him. But I am not 100 % ready to leave this earth yet, I am still holding onto some things which are causing me to not be fully surrendered. Absolute, total surrender to God is when we can say that if we leave this earth today, we will be ready, we will be excited, and there will be great joy to leave this earth. Paul said that to be absent from the body meant to be present with the Lord. (2 Cor. 5:8) And Paul was “pleased” to speak this. I am not there yet. So how do I get there? How do those of us who struggle with letting this life go and giving into the life to come surrender even our very breath to the Lord God? We must learn to trust Him. He will prove Himself trustworthy, and I think (my opinion only) that in time, I too will be able to say, “Into Your hands I commit my spirit.”
When will that time come, I do not know, but until I can say those words and am ready to leave this earth at any moment, I am not fully surrendered. Jesus gave us the perfect example of complete surrender as He hung upon the cross, as He took His last breath and gave it over to God the Father for my sake. When I too can surrender even the breath I breathe to God, then I will be fully surrendered. There is a lot here that I desire to study, and to understand, and maybe I will never fully understand- the point is that until we can trust God with our very breath, we are not fully surrendered. The fear that holds me back is just that, fear- and Jesus has overcome that fear for me.
It is my prayer today that the Lord God would direct me to a place of total and complete surrender. Knowing that even the very breath I breath is not my own, but it was and is given to me by God my Creator and my Savior, who gave His very life for me. I desire to relinquish all rights to direct the course of my life, and to have joy and peace in knowing that my Father knows best, even in death. I do not know when the Lord will help me to overcome this fear of death, or even when I shall depart this earth- for even that is out of my control, but I am confident that when I do leave this earth I will enter into the presence of His glory, forever and ever. This gives me hope that someday, someday soon I can say “Into Your hands I commit my spirit.” Amen and Amen.