Tag Archive: surrender

Whose life is it?

Every Christian would agree that “God is real.” But the more important question we should ask ourselves is “Is God real to me?” The other day the Lord showed me there is a difference between believing “God is real” and having Him “be real” in our everyday life. Too many Christians are preparing for a “what if” circumstance and treat their salvation like a life insurance policy. “What if” Jesus is real…”What if” He does come back tomorrow…“What if” I die in a car wreck…? These Christians are getting their ducks in a row and checking a box, rather than building a relationship.

As Christians, we are called to more than “salvation”, we are called to relationship with Christ. We should be working to build a relationship with our Lord, Master, and Savior, making Him real in our lives on a daily basis. But how many of us do this on a daily basis? It takes time, submission, and commitment to build the type of relationship we are called to build. Too often our lives are too busy and we put off the “distraction” of the Holy Spirit’s nudging, so we can finish “more important” things in our life.

I admit, it can sometimes be hard to stay quiet and seek His face until He is found, our flesh cries out that there are so many other things needing to be done. But what if it was a lost child you were seeking to find? Most of us would leave no stone unturned and would not stop or slow until the child was found, especially if it was one of our own children. We would not sleep, eat, work, or play until we had our child back in our arms. This is the same fervency we should have when seeking after the Lord. He cannot “be real” in our lives until we seek Him, find Him, and invite Him into our daily life.

When we seek Him, find Him, invite Him into our daily life, and become His we are able to produce the Spiritual fruit needed to live our life unto Christ and be the Christ-like example to those around us. He helps us crucify [put to death] our fleshly passions and desires and walk in [live by] the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25).

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. – Galatians 5:22-25 (NKJV)

Without Christ in our daily lives, we are powerless against our flesh and our enemy. It is through Christ’s strength we can do all things (Philippians 4:13). Notice it doesn’t say when we get extra sleep we can do all things, rather it is through Christ. Philippians 4:13 does not tell us we can do what ever we want, it tells us we can do all things and go through all things in that are in His will for us. We must lay down our own desires and passions [our life] and live the life He lays our before us. We must crucify our flesh daily and allow Christ to live in us. It is no longer our own life to live, it is His (Galatians 2:20). How can we live His life and do what He desires if we are not spending time with Him on a daily basis or if He is not leading and guiding us as we go about our day?

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. –Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)

What did we really give him when we “gave our life” to Him and asked Him to be the Master over our life? Did you hand everything in your life over to Him or did you just ask for a life insurance policy you could neatly tuck away for a later “what if” time? Did you sign the deed to your wants and desires over to him, or are you still holding it? Did you hand Him your calendar and schedule, or are you still in control of it? Are you still holding control over any part of your life? Or have you submitted it all to Him?

We are called to “count the cost” of our salvation before we accept it (Luke 14:25-33). In Luke 14:33 Christ himself tells us if we do not “forsake all” we cannot be his disciple. Those are very strong words that cannot be misunderstood; unfortunately they are ignored by many Christians today.

So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be My disciple.Luke 14:33 (AMP)

Have you counted the cost of your salvation? Have you laid everything at His feet, so you can follow Him without distraction or compromise? Are you holding a life insurance policy…or are you building a relationship with Christ that will produce the Fruit of the Spirit in your life? Are you continually building your relationship with Christ on a daily basis?

Whose life are you living?

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Whose Plan is It Anyway?

Commit your way to the lordIf we are not committed in our heart, no number of “tools” (i.e. gadgets) will help us stick with a program and attain our goal. This is true for anything in life, whether it is running a race, changing our habits, improving our physical health, or getting Spiritually healthy and growing in the Lord.

We can use tools and gadgets with all the bells and whistles, but they won’t help us make a lasting change unless we are first committed to the change in our  heart. We can have the newest fitness tracker that reminds us to move every hour, but it won’t help if we tell ourselves “not right now, I’m too busy… I’ll make it up in next hour” (which never comes). The Bible with notes and commentary or the devotional app that reminds us to read and pray everyday cannot help us either if we tell ourselves “not now, I’ll do it later” (but “later” often never comes). Highlighting and making notes in our Bibles will not help us, if we never go back and reread them next time we are in that chapter or put them into practice in our life (James 1:22). Tools can help a committed heart, they cannot make a heart commit. We must first have a committed and surrendered heart, without this, we cannot reach our goal of crossing the finish line and obtaining our “prize” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 9:24.

A committed and surrendered heart will naturally align itself with Christ and His will. When we are aligned with Christ, we are able to walk in His strength and not our own, reaching any goal in our heart that is within His plan. Sometimes it takes longer than we’d like, but if we trust Him and keep our commitment to Him, we will ALWAYS reach our goal. It is when we take our eyes off of Him, that we veer off course and run into problems (Matthew 14:28-30).

In Luke 9, Jesus talks about how we must make a commitment and not look back, keeping our eyes straight and staying on course, in order to reach the goal of the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things behind] is fit for the kingdom of God. – Luke 9:62 (AMP)

To fully understand Luke 9:62, you must know when plowing a field you pick a point on the horizon and walk toward that point, keeping your eyes fixed, never stopping or looking away until you get to the end of each row. If you deviate your eye from that point or stop before the end of the row, the row will not be straight and it will impact the health of the crop. Understanding this concept, we can apply it to our walk with Christ. Are our eyes fixed on our goal or are we distracted? Are our rows straight or sloppy and crooked, because we are not fully committed to the goal of serving Christ?

The next question to ask ourselves is if we are surrendered to Christ’s plan or are we following our own plan? Everyone’s plan (path) to get to the prize is different, and without being surrendered to the Lord’s plan, we often find ourselves trying to follow someone else’s plan. Following someone else’s plan will lead to burn out and often the end result is a lack of commitment.

God made each one of us different and He knows what each of us needs; more importantly, He knows how He can use each of us to “plow” His field for the harvest. Each of our paths are different and He gives each of us the strength, grace, and wisdom for our own path, not anyone else’s path. If we are feeling burned out or frustrated in our lives, we should ask ourselves who’s path are we following? What do our plow rows look like? If our eyes are fixed on Him as we follow His path (plan) for us, our rows will be straight.

The last question to ask is, how hard is it to follow the path. Is it rough, hard, and heavy. Or is is light and easy? Are you doing it “on your own” or are you partnering with Christ? When plowing a field, a yoke was used to fasten the animals to the plow. The yoke went across the top of both animals to lighten the load and make the work easier. The older more experienced animal would take the lead and teach the younger how to plow correctly and make the work easy. The yoke only worked if the younger animal was willing to submit and follow the lead and path of the older. The Lord uses this this analogy in Matthew 11:29-30 when inviting us to following Him.

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:29-30 (NKJV)

If we commit to fixing our eyes on Him and not look away, our path will be straight. If we surrender and follow His plan, we will walk in His strength, grace, and wisdom. If we partner with Christ and allow Him to take the lead (take His yoke), our load will be easy and light. There will be trials and tribulations, but He will be there with us, sometimes carrying us through the storm. If we commit our way to the Lord and follow His plan He will bring it to pass (Psalm 37:5).

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Light of Christ

light on a side of a hill

We often think of God’s grace as His “unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing “(John 1:17 AMP), but it is so much more than this. It is the power and strength to do things by His Spirit that we would otherwise be unable to accomplish. It is by His grace that the impossible becomes possible in our lives. We do not deserve His blessings in our lives nor do we deserve to walk in His wisdom or power, but we do by His grace. His grace is a wonderful thing, a gift that should not be overlooked or forgotten by anyone.

When we struggle and fight with life, we are not walking by His grace. When we feel like we want to quit and cannot go any further, we are not walking by His grace. When the storms of life knock us down, we are not walking by His grace…for it is by His grace we find His strength in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is through the many storms in our life that we learn to walk by and in His grace, the times when we can look back and see that the Lord was with us in our darkest hour (see my post “Rainbows of Life”).

How much more in our weaknesses do we see the power of God, than in our strengths?  We should not despise our weaknesses, but glory in them, for it is through them at we are able to glorify God! Even Paul said that he would gladly boast in his infirmities (his weaknesses), so that the power of Christ would rest upon him.

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  — 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

In order to glorify God in our weaknesses, we must let His light shine during the storms of our life, becoming a lighthouse, or a city on a hill. We should not hide our light or keep it to ourselves, but instead hold it up high, letting it shine it brightly for all to see.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. — Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV)

Just as the light in a lighthouse helps guide mariners safely to shore, the light of Christ shining in us helps others navigate through the storms of life. A lighthouse must be strong and stable, able to stand against the winds and waves of the storm; and its light must shine so brightly that is is able to pierce through the darkness. The lighthouse keeper must stay attentive to the light, making sure it does not go out, or lives might be lost on his watch. He must be prepared at all times, ready to weather any storm that may come against his lighthouse. Each storm helps him prepare for the next one, perhaps showing him a weakness that must be strengthened before the next storm arrives. If we are to be a lighthouse of God, we must be strong and stay attentive to the “Light” that shines in us.

We need to thank the Lord for the storms in our life, thank Him for adversities and people who rub us the wrong way. It is only through these storms that our weaknesses are revealed and we can be made stronger in Christ. We must surrender our will, wants and desires, accept our weaknesses, and allow His strength to carry us through the storm. It is times like these that we need to press into the Lord harder and ask Him to change us, make us stronger, to stand in the midst of the storm.

I can remember the day I learned that I needed to pray for the Lord to give me the strength to make it through, rather than praying for the Lord to remove or change something in my life. I hit my limit and I was done, I could not continue the way I was going, literally. Something needed to change, either me or the situation. I learned that I need to stop and lay whatever it is at His feet and admit that I am at my limit, that I can do nothing without Him. I learned that I could ask Him to change me, to strengthen me to deal with whatever happens in my life.

We can still ask Him to change the situation (or other person), but we need to also accept that it will more than likely be us who He will change to deal with the situation. He very rarely changes the situation, more often He changes us, making us stronger and our light brighter! It is never “fun” to go through a storm, but it is AWESOME when the Lord uses us as a lighthouse in someone else’s storm. Let your light shine, let it shine, let it shine!

We should let the light of Christ shine so brightly out of us, that we become the light at the end of someone else’s tunnel…lighting their way back home. Are you letting your light shine for other’s to see, or are you keeping it to yourself, hiding it under a basket?

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