Sweet Surrender For 2016!
This is the time of year when many will set goals. The list might include losing weight, making investments, getting promoted, eating better and the list goes on. A close friend asked me about my goals for this year the other day. “I just want to be closer to God”, I told him. I want to only write what the Holy Spirit puts on my heart. I want him to be the motor behind the writing and me just the vessel he works through. The only way that this can happen is a complete surrender. I want God to have say in every part of my life.
If you are like me it’s far easier to sputter the words than to actually put it into practice. If we are honest with ourselves there are things that we may not have given to God. We might think that God wouldn’t be interested in this little detail in our lives. Sometimes we think that God is only interested in the big problems that we have. That is the big lie the devil uses to keep us from total fellowship with God. He is interested in every detail of your and my life!
So what does it mean to surrender to God? Well the number one thing we have to do is confess any sins that are in our lives and turn away from them. God cannot have fellowship with you or I if there is sin in the way. It cuts off the connection to his power. It’s like cutting the connecting cord of the light from the power switch. The other thing we need to do is spend quality time in praying and reading the word. It is something we need to make a part of our lives more than anything. There is power in the verse “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added onto you” Matthew 6:33.
When we get into that mode of taking quality time to pray God will honor that. He has sent his Holy Spirit to comfort us and give us wisdom. Most of all the Holy Spirit wants to fellowship with us and live through us! Benny Hinn made a parallel in his book “Good Morning Holy Spirit.” Now I’ve never been on a sailboat but I can still relate to this. In order for the sails to work to full force there can’t be any holes or tears. Before sailing those need to be mended. Now the Holy Spirit is like the wind. Those mended sails will catch that wind and the boat will move forward! That is how it is with us and God! God will move in our lives when we surrender, use quality time to talk to him daily , read his word and think about what he is saying to us in it.
So what does it mean to surrender? If someone has a gun on us the common thing to do is to lift our hands. We are saying that we surrender to the power that they have. We are also saying that we are not going to fight against that power. This is a forced surrender. We really don’t want to surrender but for our own good we do. This is not how God wants us to surrender. He wants us to surrender like those sails that are waiting for the wind to direct them and move the boat. For our own good we need to surrender to his power even though God will never force us. It needs to be a volunteer effort as we see how insignificant we are without him. When we surrender to him with a clean heart and spend quality time in fellowship great things start happening in our lives!
A former pastor of mine used to conclude his sermons many times with this phrase “Go with God and he will go with you!” It’s a simple phrase but so true. I suppose the opposite is true also. Don’t go with God and he won’t go with you. Now that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love us. The Holy Spirit works both as a comforter to the saved and to convict the lost of their sins. So when we get into that fellowship he literally goes with us instead of chasing us.
Now what am I talking about by the phrase “quality time?” I’m reminded of something from another story where David Wilkerson felt in his spirit to sell his TV and use that time to pray. He would usually spend a couple of hours a day watching and justified it by staying up on current interests. Giving the Lord a fleece of having to sell the TV within a half an hour or it wasn’t God’s will the TV sold in 29 minutes! It was in one of those prayer sessions that he was in instead of watching his TV that Wilkerson saw a picture in Life Magazine. Now he was praying but every time he opened his eyes that magazine was in view. Finally he asked the Lord if he was supposed to look at it? When he opened it he saw 8 desperate Gang led kids who had murdered a crippled boy just for kicks. Wilkerson’s heart broke and through a series of unusual events he was used by God to start a very successful ministry for the lost teenagers in New York City! It all started when he surrendered his TV time to God!
I realize that this is not the usual entertaining story that you usually read on here, but it might be the most important message I have written. I say that because if you read this or any of the stories and tell me it was good and that is the end of it, the message would have failed. We see so many things in this world that entertains us. After awhile we look for everything to have entertainment value. It’s like a fireworks display. After the fireworks which were gorgeous we are left with a bunch of ugly smoke. It won’t be easy (at least at first) but if we will make a commitment to God this year to put him first in everything and spend quality time with him we will not lack anything that we need! We will feel victory in our lives no matter the circumstances!
The song we sometimes sing “More of you” is technically wrong. God cannot give us more of him unless we have less of us in there. The goal is all of him and none of me. I don’t know what will be created on this website in the year ahead. Whatever is written I pray that it will stir your heart and life and penetrate deep into your soul. I pray that you will not be the same because of the messages you read. I know that I won’t be. As the Spirit helps me write a story I invariably re-read it and it speaks to me! I’m the one who gets the most out of the messages and stories that God gives me to share! I urge you to put God first this new year. Don’t only say it but spend the time doing it. Remember that how we spend our precious time that we are given is how we prioritize things. Remember the verse in Galatians 2:20 that says “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 loves me and gave himself for me.”
You have now read what is on my heart going forward this year. The choice is now up to you. Did the message penetrate your heart? Dear God, I pray that all who read this will take a new look at their lives and surrender all to you! I thank you for this message and as I sit here with tears in my eyes I realize that you are speaking to me through this! I pray that my readers will surrender all of their lives to you so that you can use them for your glory throughout the year!
In Jesus’ lovely name
By Lewis Hamilton from the book “The Gardener and My Garden” c1997
It’s not just a one-time thing
or even by the week
It’s more than a daily time
his Spirit I must seek
There’s a battle against the flesh,
no time to drop my guard
Instead of going easier
my battle’s getting hard
A weekly or a daily time
is not enough to win it
I must surrender all the time,
sometimes minute by minute
When decision time is on me
I need an open mind
The Spirit will tell me what to do,
and I’ll do it in God’s time
It’s a choice I have to make,
my spirit I must render,
every minute of every day
to him I must surrender.
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God, may
your good Spirit lead me
on level ground.