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. What our Lord wants us to present to Him is not our goodness, honesty, or our efforts to do better, but real solid sin. Actually, that is all He can take from us. And what He gives us in exchange for our sin is real solid righteousness. But we must surrender all pretense that we are anything, and give up all our claims of even being worthy of God’s consideration.
Once we have done that, the Spirit of God will show us what we need to surrender next. Along each step of this process, we will have to give up our claims to our rights to ourselves. Are we willing to surrender our grasp on all that we possess, our desires, and everything else in our lives? Are we ready to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?
We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sins of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. When they see themselves in the light of the Lord, the shame, horror, and desperate conviction hit home for them.
If you are faced with the question of whether or not to surrender, make a determination to go on through the crisis, surrendering all that you have and all that you are to Him. And God will then equip you to do all that He requires of you.
|MARCH 6, 2015
I Wanted to Give Up Before I Began
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7 (NIV)
I was sitting in my bedroom working on my weekly Bible study when God spoke to me. While I can’t say I heard His voice audibly, it was the loudest thought I’d ever had. His message was clear: “Speak.”
After a few minutes of panic, I calmed myself by deciding the whole episode was just something crazy I’d imagined. C’mon, Micca, God spoke to you? No way.
And with that, I put the thought of speaking out of my head.
As time went on, mysterious things happened that brought to mind God’s word to me … I received unsolicited invitations to speak at ladies’ luncheons, churches and schools.
Fear filled my entire being, and I thought about graciously declining, but then I remembered Moses.
Moses had doubts and fears just like me. When God spoke to Moses through a burning bush and gave him the task of freeing the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, he was terrified too. Moses told God he wasn’t capable of taking on such a huge assignment.
How did God respond? He assured Moses he wasn’t alone. That He would be with him.
As I revisited this story found in Exodus chapters 3 and 4, God showed me it wasn’t about any commitment on my part, as much as it was about submitting to His plan. With that I decided to obey. “Okay, God. As long as you’re with me I᾿ll give speaking a try.”
Each time I spoke I felt the same — like tossing my cookies. It wasn’t easy! There were so many faces staring at me. I knew they had expectations. And beyond the people in the audience, I felt Satan taunting me with negative thoughts and lies while I was speaking: “Nobody is listening to you. You’re just a simple southern girl. What have you got to offer? Do us all a favor and give up.”
I wanted to give up. So did Moses, but God gave him confidence. The Lord promised Moses He would be with him and help him. God would perform miracles through him. These signs would not only reassure Moses that God was with him, but they would force the king of Egypt to free God’s people from slavery.
I love that Moses wasn’t afraid to admit his weaknesses to God. How else would Moses have known the Lord would be his help and his strength?
Trusting in these truths provided strength each time I spoke. That’s not all. Repeatedly, God showed me what He was accomplishing through my weakness and obedience. The most confirming response came when I spoke to a group of college students.
After the room cleared, a young man approached me. “Excuse me,” he began. “When I was in high school, I felt God calling me into ministry. But when it came time for college I ignored that call and chose to study law. After hearing you speak today, God stirred my heart, and I’ve decided to surrender to the ministry. I want to thank you for coming. God used you to point me back in the right direction for my life.”
Wow! I was amazed God invited me to participate in such a beautiful miracle. In spite of my insecurities, doubts and feeble weakness, the Lord used me.
It was then that today’s key verse, Psalm 28:7, became a reality in my heart: “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”
The more I trusted God in my weakness, the stronger I became, and the more I realized this truth: God never commands us to do something that He doesn’t provide the power and help to accomplish.
Whether you’re called to speak to 10 or 10,000, lead a Bible study group or give a presentation at work, public speaking can be challenging. And you do have a choice. You can say “no” to your burning bush and be miserable, or you can say “yes” and watch the power of God work through your weakness to accomplish His will and bring glory to His Name.
The Lord wants to reveal Himself to others through you. The key is admitting your weaknesses to God and submitting to His ability to work wonders through you.
From: Streams in the Desert
—F. B. Meyer
—C. H. Spurgeon
“We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
God’s people have their trials. It was never designed by God, when he chose his people, that they should be an untried people. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen to worldly peace and earthly joy. Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, he included chastisements amongst the things to which they should inevitably be heirs. Trials are a part of our lot; they were predestinated for us in Christ’s last legacy. So surely as the stars are fashioned by his hands, and their orbits fixed by him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: he has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us. Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecessors have been without them. Mark the patience of Job; remember Abraham, for he had his trials, and by his faith under them, he became the “Father of the faithful.” Note well the biographies of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and you shall discover none of those whom God made vessels of mercy, who were not made to pass through the fire of affliction. It is ordained of old that the cross of trouble should be engraved on every vessel of mercy, as the royal mark whereby the King’s vessels of honour are distinguished. But although tribulation is thus the path of God’s children, they have the comfort of knowing that their Master has traversed it before them; they have his presence and sympathy to cheer them, his grace to support them, and his example to teach them how to endure; and when they reach “the kingdom,” it will more than make amends for the “much tribulation” through which they passed to enter it.
“She called his name Ben-oni (son of sorrow), but his father called him Benjamin (son of my right hand).”
To every matter there is a bright as well as a dark side. Rachel was overwhelmed with the sorrow of her own travail and death; Jacob, though weeping the mother’s loss, could see the mercy of the child’s birth. It is well for us if, while the flesh mourns over trials, our faith triumphs in divine faithfulness. Samson’s lion yielded honey, and so will our adversities, if rightly considered. The stormy sea feeds multitudes with its fishes; the wild wood blooms with beauteous flowerets; the stormy wind sweeps away the pestilence, and the biting frost loosens the soil. Dark clouds distil bright drops, and black earth grows gay flowers. A vein of good is to be found in every mine of evil. Sad hearts have peculiar skill in discovering the most disadvantageous point of view from which to gaze upon a trial; if there were only one slough in the world, they would soon be up to their necks in it, and if there were only one lion in the desert they would hear it roar. About us all there is a tinge of this wretched folly, and we are apt, at times, like Jacob, to cry, “All these things are against me.” Faith’s way of walking is to cast all care upon the Lord, and then to anticipate good results from the worst calamities. Like Gideon’s men, she does not fret over the broken pitcher, but rejoices that the lamp blazes forth the more. Out of the rough oyster-shell of difficulty she extracts the rare pearl of honour, and from the deep ocean-caves of distress she uplifts the priceless coral of experience. When her flood of prosperity ebbs, she finds treasures hid in the sands; and when her sun of delight goes down, she turns her telescope of hope to the starry promises of heaven. When death itself appears, faith points to the light of resurrection beyond the grave, thus making our dying Ben-oni to be our living Benjamin.