Monday, October 16, 2006

The Surrendered Life

I am beginning to think that the essence of a truly devoted life is surrender. It sounds so simple. Just obey God, no matter what else you may think or feel. It sounds simple, but it's very difficult.

Israel was God's chosen people. They were delivered from the slavery of Egypt and given the promise of a great inheritance. They were directed in how to worship God and live holy lives. But they constantly rebelled. They could never be content with what God had for them. Repeatedly, they fell into idolatry and gross sin. I read with sadness this reflection on them from Psalm 95:

Oh, that today you would hear His voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert. There your ancestors tested Me; they tried Me though they had seen My works. Forty years I loathed that generation; I said: "This people's heart goes astray, they do not know My ways." Therefore I swore in my anger: "They shall never enter My rest."
(Ps. 95:7-11)

Stubbornness and rebellion lead to separation from God and judgment. Surrender leads to humility, faith, and the knowledge of God. These in turn lead to blessing and eternal life.

Again, this sounds simple, but it is very difficult. When I am wronged I want revenge. When I am tempted, I want to give in. When in doubt, I want to find my own way. When faced with a problem, I want to rely on my own resources. The list goes on, but you get the point. While I know the way of surrender is best, I, like the Israelites of old, am too often choosing my own way, which is the way of hard-hearted, stiff-necked rebellion.

The psalmist gives the solution to the problem in the beginning of the Psalm. Praise the Lord daily, even moment by moment. "Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD," (Ps. 95:1). Remember how great God really is. He can be trusted. "The LORD is the great God, the great king over all gods," (v. 3). Worship Him on bended knee- surrender! "Let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us," (v. 6).

One more thing I will add. Many of us are already doing these things, yet we still find it so difficult to submit. In fact, we don't do it. Why? May I suggest it is an issue of the heart. We often bow with our bodies, but not with our hearts. Only when our heart truly bows does it become the worship that pleases God. Then we will find the Grace necessary to surrender. Then we will find the peace that we crave, the joy that we desire, and the love that we need.


Blogger Joni said...

Your post reminds me of that old hymn, "I Surrender All". The words and music are so beautiful...the practicality of it much more intense. Thank you for the reminder of the call God makes to each of us. Not just to surrender. But to surrender ALL.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have found your blog again. I am reading with great interest.

New Reader (now just A Reader)

6:33 PM  
Blogger Hidden One said...

If I can try and some of your post, Patrick:

We often should not do what we want to do, which we do because we were taught to do, and thus we do it anyway, despite God's displeasure. Instead, we should rely on Him, and do His will.

I think I missed something, but it is nearing midnight, so I'm tired...please forgive me - I just (finally) finished a large portion of my English homework.

Sincerely In Christ,
~The Hidden One~

8:44 PM  
Blogger Hidden One said...

Oh wow...I was very much asleep. That first line, for example should read, "If I can try and sum up your post, Patrick:"

9:05 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Hidden One,

I grew up Pentecostal. I have the gift of interpretation :) I knew what you meant. The funny part is that it took you a few days to realize it.

Peace to you! May you get more sleep!

2:38 PM  
Blogger Hidden One said...

Actually, it just took me a few days to check back here...hehe...

"Peace to you! May you get more sleep!"


3:06 PM  

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