“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Surrender, A Beautiful Word

I bow before God. I surrender.

How did I get here in this so unlikely condition of submission, the sinner that I am. How did I get from an “I-deserve-better-than-all-this” style of arrogance to the peaceful, relaxed, giving up of my rights, my worries, my life-draining self-preservation? What I can say is that the lack of peace has bothered me recently and I did ask “Somebody up there” about it. I knew there was more to this Christian experience. I had had better and knew this just did not cut it. And that “Somebody up there” came through for me.

But how? How did it happen? I’m not about to say, “How did I do it?” No one can bring himself to surrender to God. Then how did it happen? It just happened. By accident? Apparently. Except that God does nothing for us without our consent. So we do have a part to play in our own salvation. But where is our part?

I have discovered that our part is in responding. God does all the initiating, we have the small part to respond; but we must respond. If we believe otherwise, it makes for much frustration and pain on both our part and God’s. He is God and not we ourselves. (Ps. 100:3) He is in charge. He is our boss (our lord). He is our provider, the author and finisher of our faith. We are His beloved creations, the sheep of His pasture. And I dont know about you, but after all the mistakes Ive made, Im glad to know I dont have to be in ultimate charge of my life any more.

“It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure,” (Phil. 2:13) but I must consent. Is that consent a willful act of my volition? Or is it a subtle, subconscious act that God sees but goes unnoticed by me? Or is it both? Is my surrender to His will by my work or His? Not by my work. I’ve already tried that for decades. My efforts to be an obedient child of God have all ended in pure frustration and hopelessness, and more anger.

But my choice to give God the reins must be an ongoing, conscious decision on my part. After that it’s all up to Him. Just because I choose to give up the reins to God, doesn’t mean it becomes a reality immediately. Yet as with every prayer, when we ask for something, we must go forward in the faith that God hears us and will give us what is best. Likewise, if I need to be an obedient child of God, if I need repentance and conversion and surrender, for the sake of my family, my coworkers, or even to be a good citizen, then I must ask God for it all, and then go on, knowing that those are His favorite gifts to bestow. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.” Lk. 11:13. I must ask, then continue hoping and asking. And as life unfolds, and I keep reminding God I need surrender and peace with Him, seeking to know Him in His word, in the daily life acting in accordance with my desire to discover Him better, my subconscious choices that lead to God get made, through the supervision of Him who is “wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.” Is. 28:29.

For us to try to manage our salvation from sin is to attempt an impossibility. “For if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin.” Gal. 3:21, 22. Our efforts to obtain righteousness are empty of willpower. God must work in us. “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by (observing) the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Gal. 2:16, 21. Our work in being good must always fail; we need to “cease from our own works,” (Heb. 4:10) and thus the Holy Spirit will bring us off “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Rom. 8:38.

How does conversion happen? We will never be able to point to God’s mysterious hand of power at work in every instance leading to our surrender, but we will know that surrender happened, and that it was not our doing that brought us salvation.

Satan, like a roaring lion, is on the ground guarding the entrance to this issue. He is doing his utmost to prevent us from having the experience of surrender to God and His righteousness. The devil’s work is ceaseless, for he knows that his manipulation over even the weakest, sin-ruined soul completely evaporates for that individual who experiences surrender to Christ. We must not catch even a glimpse of God’s love, or Satan has lost a victim. One genuine incidence of surrender, one conversion, one heartfelt repentance in response to Gods love, greatly compromises the devil’s plan to keep every sinner spellbound and in his clutches, a loss that he jealously and furiously protects with eternal ramifications.

The submarine service is forever reminded that silence is their greatest ally and their only hope. If ever another country’s sensors were to counterdetect one of their boats, then that sub’s whole mission would be compromised and ended. That one data point of our presence destroys any element of surprise we had had before our counterdetection. Just one sound from us changed the whole scene for the potential enemy, from “Ho, hum, nothing is out there” to “Hey everybody, we’ve got a submarine on sonar, bearing to the west!!!”

In like manner, Satan cannot afford for us to encounter God, not even once; for if once we know God is availablemore than just the doctrine of it—, if we just once taste of His goodness, simply one moment of faith in His love, that moment of resting in Him will spell the beginning of the end for the wily old serpent. And it will mean the beginning of a lifelong search for the yearning child of God, because now there is no longer any doubt in the existence of God’s mercy and care.

Two points make a line. Two lines make a plane. But what does one point make? Compared to no points, one point makes everything! As in math and as in submarining, in the spiritual life, one data point of the Unknown God creates a great beginning. It is like the moment life begins of in the germinated seed that, once started, cannot stop growing until it develops into the reality of it’s mysterious design.

With one detection of God, we all but have Him cornered. Eventually we will stumble upon another detection of Him, and then another. Once we’ve tasted that the Lord is good, we will not, we cannot, rest until we have all the love and grace that He has to offer. Each “bump in the night” gives us one more feature of His person. Each interaction, each response to His offer of friendship, each step that builds a relationship of faith in His love for us, creates for us a stronger and safer net to keep God from getting away from us! We’ve got Him in our sights, and He likes it that way! It’s like the boy that chased the girl until she caught him! God works His miracles, somehow gets our attention, watches with expectant joy as we respond the first time, and that begins a life together of getting to know each other—and which slowly but surely nudges Satan and his influences completely out of the picture.

Now you know why Satan keeps us so busy with life and tempts us to desire the cheap thrills and trinkets of this world.

“God that made the world and all things therein…hath determined…that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts. 17:24-28.


Blogger Sam!! said...

As ussual a very knowledgable, mind provoking post.

Thnx for sharing it.

Hope u doing fine there.


6/24/2006 12:40 AM  
Blogger David said...

Its good to hear from you again, Samrina. I enjoy your posts, too. See you. Take care.

6/24/2006 2:16 AM  
Blogger Trailady said...

I very much enjoyed this post!! Very good way to describe surrender. I like how you say our job is to respond to God's initiative. You can be thankful each and every day that you have tapped into this knowledge.

6/27/2006 8:19 AM  
Blogger David said...

Yes, Trailady, and let's hope I keep tapping into it!

6/27/2006 4:02 PM  

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