This morning I had a good study and prayer time. Everything I read leads me to the need of full repentance and surrender to the will of God. There is so much to say this morning about this that I struggle to find words.
I look at the Word of God and insights by godly men and I am a bit overwhelmed. When I was, you I thought of surrender as being put in chains. Today I realize that it is freedom from those chains. I realize that the plan God has for me is greater than anything I might devise. But to obtain that gift I must surrender all of me, including my sin.
This morning I read the devotional for today by Oswald Chambers from his book 'Utmost for His Highest'. There was a passage there that really stood out to me this morning…
“To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. The first thing we must surrender is all of our pretense or deceit.” Oswald Chambers
These are some strong statements. As I read and reread this I realized that part of what I must be doing every day is surrendering to God my everything. Including being truthful with Him and myself in my repentance. I cannot deceive God. He knows everything about me. But if I am not careful, I can deceive myself into thinking that I am more than I am. That brought me to the Jeremiah and the verse that Chambers noted.
23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
How can I not be humbled by that? As Hard as I might try to be the man that God wants me to be I know that I fall short moment by moment, But I know that it is so easy to see my blessings and be tempted to point them out… when I know without God I am nothing.
Blessed are the Pure in Heart
I went on to read a devotional by John MacArthur. Dr. MacArthur discussed what it means to be pure in heart. And He too spoke of the need for surrender and repentance. The passage in his devotional that hit me was about the location of sin.
He said, “The problem with sin, however, is not primarily the world around us but the worldliness within us, which we cannot escape by living in isolation from other people.
But God always provides for what He demands, and He has provided ways for us to live purely. First, we must realize that we are unable to live a single holy moment without the Lord’s guidance and power. ”
Isn’t that the truth… I remember Flip Wilson, a comedian on “Laugh-In” (a variety show from the late 60s early 70s), saying all the time “the Devil made me do it”. But is that ever true? God is for us; who can be against is. I like the close to that passage from John MacArthur’s devotional. “First, we must realize that we are unable to live a single holy moment without the Lord’s guidance and power. ” I thought of that verse in Psalms.
The verse was Psalms 119:105 (ESV)
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
To me, that was the short version of the guidance that John MacArthur spoke of. But while I was looking in 119 I found another passage that struck me. To me, that was the cry to God for that guidance… the desire to really surrender to Him.
Psalms 119:5-8 (ESV)
5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
8 I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!
Crying out to God… Lord “Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!” A plea that I might hold fast to Him and not be swayed. I can hardly grasp the power of these words… But I give thanks for the promise and hope that comes if I will simply surrender.
As I pondered all this I went to Galatians 2:20 and remembered…
“20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
I remembered that my flesh died with Christ and I was born again in a life of faith, and my heart ached with joy.
How humbling it is to remember that repentance is a gift that we have been given to surrender our sin to God. To surrender our everything to Him. To let go of our pride and give thanks to Jesus who died that I might live… To know that I am the blood-bought the son of God. “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
To God be all my praise. To Him be all the Glory!!!