Today I spent some time strolling down memory lane. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes it’s not. Today it was good. And it wasn’t . . . Let me explain.
I was reading through some of my old blog posts from when I first put up this site and I came across this post on surrendering to the Lord. I still wholeheartedly believe every word of it. The problem is, I still struggle with the doing of it all.
Surely, I’m not the only one that struggles with the act of full surrender to the Lord? Am I alone in the fact that I have certain things that I like to hold with a tight fist for “just a little longer”? My heart truly wants to hand things over with an open hand, but my flesh! My flesh wants to keep a tight grasp for fear of losing control.
But we must continue to destroy the flesh. We must die daily as Paul said. (1 Corinthians 15:31). That same man, Paul, who said he “dies daily,” also openly shared his struggle with total surrender. In Romans Chapter 7, he said he is not practicing what he would like to do, but rather, doing the thing he hates. (Romans 7:14-17). He explains the struggle of our sinful flesh against our new spiritual nature in Christ.
I can relate, Paul!
The point of his struggle is that his new spiritual self truly wants to do Godly things. But he wars with his flesh on a daily basis. Thus, he must die daily.
“want to” doesn’t cut it
You see, a “want to” is not enough. “Want tos” are just good intentions. Good intentions are not actions. I can say with my mouth that I want to obey Christ. But my actions demonstrate what I really want to do. Paul knew this. He knew his desire to please Christ was not enough. He knew he needed to actually please Christ. To follow through.
As Christians, our actions are what give evidence we are truly surrendered. One of the 9 characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit is self-control. At the time of salvation, with the indewelling of the Holy Spirit, we are given the ability to exercise self-control. It is then our responsibility to walk in that fruit. We can absolutely choose not to do so. And we will be miserable for it.
intentions aren’t habits
Like Paul, I have said that I am not practicing what I would like to do and the thing I am doing I hate. You see practicing means continually walking out a thing. Not sporadically in fits and starts, but steadfastly, faithfully walking something out as the habit of our lives.
The key is to recognize the areas of our lives that are not fully surrendered to God and deal with them so that matter is corrected. We must get before God’s Word and allow Him to pierce us with it so that HE is the one judging the thoughts and intentions of our heart – not ourselves. (Hebrews 4:12-13) Because, we will always go easy on ourselves and start judging ourselves against other people, rather than Christ Himself.
We absolutely have the power and will to obey Christ consistently because He has given us His Spirit. When we are operating in the power of the Spirit, we are not grieving the Spirit and we will find we are actually practicing the thing the Spirit wants us to do.
closed fist? or open hand? it’s my choice!
But, when we allow ourselves the indulgence of walking in the flesh, we grieve the Spirit and find ourselves closing that fist back up as tightly as it can go and holding on to things that aren’t our business to hold on to. What is the thing you are still holding onto today? Is it a relationship? A disappointment with God? A disappointment with a person? An area of sin? Reluctance to step out in faith and do the thing you know God is calling you to do? What is it?
For me, it’s a few things. And I know I must open my fist and willingly hand it over to the Lord and leave my hand open so I don’t pick it back up again. THAT’S the hard part for me. Not picking it back up again. It’s as if I think after awhile that God needs my help handling “it” – whatever “it” is.
He doesn’t need my help.
And He doesn’t need yours either.
Open your fist and hand over the thing that’s not surrendered with me, won’t you? We can walk this road together. 🙂