Freedom in Surrender

Surrender is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the following:

: to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed

: to give the control or use of (something) to someone else

: to allow something (such as a habit or desire) to influence or control you

In our culture and society, surrender is seen as weakness. Especially when independence is seen as a positive quality. There is a sense of pride knowing that we can take care of ourselves without the need to depend on someone else. So to surrender is to admit that we are incapable of succeeding on our own, which is the complete opposite of allowing something else to influence or control our lives.

But Jesus teaches that surrender is the only way.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Matthew 16:24

To deny ourselves is essentially saying no to self, and yes to God. We are to surrender our own desires, and submit to the desires of our Lord. Jesus lived the life that not one of us could. In that life, he showed us how to be completely surrendered to the will of his Father.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Luke 22:42

In the moments leading to the crucifixion, Jesus denied his own will for the will of the Father. He knew all that he would have to endure. And endured it for the joy that was set before him (Hebrews 12:2).

There is freedom in surrender. We no longer have to worry about being self sufficient, and in control of every aspect of our lives. We no longer have to worry about being good enough. We can relax, be rested, and know that our Lord is in control. The Lord who is sovereign over all things. Who created this world through Jesus (John 1:3). We are free from our selfs.

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.

Galatians 2:20

There is no better way to give thanks to our God by living every day in surrender to the one who saved you!

Know Your Weakness

Tonight as I was reading through the temptation of Jesus in the desert, I came across the following verse:

And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

Matthew 4:2-3

In this case, Satan was tempting Jesus with his physical needs. Hunger was his weakness in that moment. He just spend forty days and forty nights without food. Was he successful in that temptation? No! Why? Well for one, Jesus cannot be tempted. But what did Jesus do right after that?

But he answered, “It is written, 

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4:4

He quoted scripture.

I love that response so much. “It is written”. The perfect response to temptation was to quote scripture, which just shows us how important it is to rely on the word of God.

Where is your weakness?

I think that is a very important question to ask yourself. Wherever it may be, there is a verse that the Lord put on my heart in the deepest moment of my weakness, and I hope you will find it encouraging.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No matter what you may be going through, you are not alone. And not only that, but God has provided a way to endure it!

And Now We Wait

Imagine the mourning that all of the disciples of Jesus experienced in the moments after his crucifixion and death. The one that they had left everything for, and the one their hope was in, had just been buried. Unlike what we know today, they didn’t know and understand that he would soon rise.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

Matthew 27:61

They were sitting there in front of the tomb, where the great stone was just rolled in front of to close off the entrance. I can imagine they were full of so many different emotions. If I were sitting there, I would guess thoughts such as “How could this be” and “I can’t believe he is dead in that tomb” and “What in the world do I do now” would be flowing through my mind.

But we know why Jesus was in that tomb, and what would soon happen.

Today we are in a period of waiting. We have just spend the day remembering the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior, and now we are waiting for the day to remember the risen Christ.

Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

Psalm 27:14

When we wait on the Lord, we are saying that we trust in the Lord, and that we trust him fully with our lives. Let us take this day to reflect on what an incredible gift God has given us through his son, Jesus. A gift we do not deserve, but God in his abundant love wants for every single one of us.

Praise the Lord!

Good Friday

Today is what the church traditionally has called as Good Friday. As I was preparing myself for the day, I began to think, what is “good” about suffering?

What is good about being rejected? What is good about being beaten? What is good about being crucified? What is good about dying? And what is good about suffering the wrath of God for all of the sins of the world?

We deserve every ounce of that punishment, but God has a different plan.

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

Hebrews 2:10

God saw it fitting, that the creator of all things, that God himself, would be the only one that would and could endure that suffering. The only way that our sins could be atoned for, the only way that death could be defeated, would be the blood of Jesus. God who is God and man. Jesus.

There is no resurrection without the crucifixion. And Jesus knew all that he was about to endure. It was so overwhelming that he fell to his face and prayed to the Father to take this from him if it was His will (Matthew 26:39).

In complete obedience to the will of the Father, He endured the cross because of the joy that would follow (Hebrews 12:2). The joy that each one of us would be freely given by believing in the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection that would follow the crucifixion.

That suffering would lead to eternal joy.

We all will experience a level of suffering in this life.  But Jesus has not only experienced every form of suffering, he has overcome them all. And by the power of God, and the same power in the resurrection, you too will overcome all that is in this world.

This is the promise of God!

Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.

John 16:20

So what is “good” about suffering? It points us back to the perfect plan that God has for us all. It points us to what we truly deserved yet did not have to endure. It points us to the saving grace of God.  It points us to the love that God has for us all. And it points us to the eternal joy that we have in God.

Praise the Lord!