What a journey! This Christian walk involves:
. Giving up control to be in command.
. Gaining life by dying to self
. Gaining strength by giving away power
It all starts with becoming a conqueror through surrender.
Of course surrendering our will to Creator God only makes sense. Not because there’s no point in resisting. Our Creator WILL allow us to resist. He will never force His will on us. Rather, it makes sense to surrender because He created us. Our Creator - our manufacturer - knows how we function the best.
At first this surrender only means being willing to be willing to surrender. This is usually a pretty ragged stage of living as we still mostly do what we want and ask God to bless our choices. Many people never move beyond this stage and this is what the world sees as hypocritical Christianity. Still, just allowing that God is more than theoretical is a big step. Allowing God to share the seat of power (our will) with us is huge! I mean, most people aren’t willing to make even this minimal step of obedience. Instead they stumble through life grumbling against God for not making their lives easier.
For those of us who have taken this minimal step of surrender, experiencing the consistent goodness of God leads us to give up more and more control until we reach a point where only pockets of selfish resistence remain. I’m reminded of the supposedly humorous line, “The last thing to get saved on most Christians is their right foot,” referring to the tendency of some fairly mature Christians to still justify breaking the speed limit. Nevertheless, being fully (or as fully as we get this side of eternity) surrendered to God is truly a wonderful place to live. Trusting God, not in theory but in fact brings a deep peace and joy that simply cannot be shaken by life’s circumstance.
People at this stage are now at a point where suffering, loss, tragedy and pain are clearly seen as being used by God for our good, His glory and the furthering of His kingdom.
In this stage we can identify with the apostle Paul as he says, “Therefore I REJOICE in suffering, in illness, in loss” etc. etc. etc.. Regardless of whether God has allowed or caused the difficulty to enter our lives (the result is the same) people in this stage know beyond doubt that it will work out for good. Nothing that life can dish out has the power to harm the essential self.
“Some of you will be killed but not a hair on your head will be harmed.”
Do you get that?
Nothing in life has the power to destroy our balance, our peace, our joy, our love for God, or from God. When we come to an intimate relationship with Jesus, our soul is secure.
. Pain no longer has the power to turn to bitterness.
. Rejection no longer has the power to turn to rage.
. Loss no longer has the power to take away hope.
Because of this, a state of profound contentment sets in. “I have learned the secret of contentment in all situations,” is something that Christians in this stage can say with Paul.
C. S. Lewis said once, “If you hear or read something that the Bible has said that just doesn’t resonate with your experience, wait, keeping growing in your relationship with Jesus and you will come to know what those words mean.” In this stage we no longer need what we don’t have. We don’t long for that which is being withheld from us. We have enough. I’ve sometimes rejoiced in how I’m richer than the Donald Trumps of the world. I know that I’m richer because I have enough and they don’t.
Contentment brings an assurance that God will always do right by us. Here is what we know - for a fact. God is sovereign, God is love, God is fair and just and incapable of doing to us arbitrary, capricious and callous harm. Events in our lives DO NOT change or determine the facts of God’s character.
Because of this we can embrace our circumstances. We have gone from semi willing observers of God’s working in our lives to active participants. We grab hold of Jesus’ hand and with eyes wide open and chest bared to the blast we step into life with enthusiasm and joy. Circumstance cannot bring fear. Threats by those who hate God are like flicking lint off of our shoulder. We are conquerors - no more than conquerors - secure in the knowledge that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
. I am actively involved in God’s work though the script is entirely His.
. I can give of myself, my time, my money though the love is entirely His.
. I am powerful beyond my wildest dreams though the strength is entirely His.
. I have been brought from death to life, from doom to glory, from loser to conqueror.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!