Saturday, December 12, 2015

Surrendered.....Again

 If you had asked me a few years ago if I believed I was surrendered to the Lord I probably would have told you yes I was. But today, as I sit here and think about surrender, I can honestly say that I have not quite made it there yet. One thing I am learning is that surrender doesn't happen overnight and it will be something I have to keep on doing, and keep on living as long as I am in this body of flesh. The longer I walk with the Lord the more I see my desperate need to be surrendered to Him in every single area of my life. I have thought at times that I was surrendered, but then He would show me that I was not. Yet, I do believe that we can make excuses for not surrendering and we can hold
ourselves back from fully and completely giving ourselves to the Lord.
   I hear Christians say that as long as we live in these fleshly bodies we are going to sin and we are going to live for ourselves, that’s just our nature. But what I think we fail to recognize, or perhaps choose not to recognize is that we should not want to. I pray the Lord He give me the words to express to you what I believe He is showing me today.
            In me there is a desire to sin. Paul writes about this desire in Romans 7:15-20, that we do what we don't want to do and we don't do what we want to do. Sin is in us. There is no denying that fact. But we cannot use that desire as an excuse to continue in sin. Why? Because Jesus Christ took away our excuses and nailed them to the Cross. Not to mention that God our Father has given us the Holy Spirit so that: 
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV)
            Within every single person is the desire to sin, but as Christians we have the Holy Spirit living in us and He has given us not only a way of escape but the power and the ability to resist it. He will never let us get in over our heads if we listen to Him.
             So what does all this have to do with surrender? It takes away our excuses for not surrendering. But we are sinners, as long as we are in this body of flesh sin will be a part of us. (I hear this same response every time I try to explain this point.) To some extent, this statement is true. We are all sinners and as long as we are in this flesh sin will be a battle we have to fight. But we have to fight it. As followers of Christ we should be striving against sin just as Christ strived against it in the Garden of Gethsemane. Let's face it, none of us have resisted to bloodshed yet. (Hebrews 12:4)We should be striving to live our lives as a model of Christ for others to see. I am not saying that we are going to become sinless, but as we learn to surrender to Him we will begin to sin less and less.
           Jesus was our example of surrender and what surrender should look like in the life of every believer. His death on the cross is the perfect picture of what our final and fulfilled surrender will look like as well, if we truly want to be like Him. If we are not living with our cross in mind, then we, my friends are not living.
"Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, 'Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit!' And having said this, He breathed His last."
Luke 23:36 ESV
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   These are the last and final words that Jesus ever spoke as a man on this earth. It was a statement and a cry of utter and complete surrender. Our lives are on the same road of surrender that Jesus walked. As Christians, we are walking towards that final day when we fully and completely, with a loud voice of triumph can entrust every last ounce of our breath into His capable hands. We must all come to the cross of Calvary where we willingly lay down the last bit of self and say "Father into Your hands I commit my spirit." 
     We must die to self. We must be willing to surrender those areas of our lives that are not of God nor are they pleasing to God. We must lay aside the excuses and commit our lives into the very capable bands of our Father. Let it go and lay it down. Is that desire to hold onto that area of your life so great that you are willing to disobey your God so that you can continue in it? 
         We are not Jesus. We are not perfect. A few other statements that I have heard many of us as Christians say, and I completely agree with them. We are not Jesus and we are not perfect, but His Holy Spirit lives inside of every single one of His children. We are not perfect, but even Jesus "learned obedience by the things He suffered." (Hebrews 5:8) 
Everyday is one day closer to that final day when we will have a choice to make. We can either make that choice to day and live for the cross or we can keep living for the sin that is in us. We struggle and we are going to sin, this is true. "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1)
  We are never going to be fully surrendered or free from sin completely as long as we are in these bodies. But we cannot use our desire to sin as an excuse for sin anymore. We have to embrace the cross before us just as our Lord did and commit our spirits into His very capable hands. Then and only then can we truly begin the walk towards full and complete surrender. Amen.