In order to live a passion-filled, purpose-driven life, we must all learn how to surrender ourselves over to God. When we surrender ourselves completely to Christ, we discover freedom, not bondage, a savior, not a dictator.
It’s a difficult concept, but I wanted to share with you some insights that will help build your relationship and deepen your understanding of God and his plan for you.
First, a happy and fulfilled life is not promised to anybody. Life is full of struggle and adversity.
The first idea I want to share with you is this idea that life is full of pain and suffering. Anyone who tells you that once you accept Jesus into your life, everything will be comfortable and pleasant doesn’t have a true grasp of this idea of surrender.
Only in suffering can we truly get to know Jesus. God has a plan for every problem.
When Jesus says, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me,” he is talking about complete surrender and suffering (Luke 9:23).
Following the famous “take up the cross” statement, Jesus reminds us of the power of giving your life over to God: “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:23).
The paradox of surrender is that in order to save our lives (and the lives of others) we must be willing to give it up completely. Through the act of surrender, we come into possession of the abundant life.
Jesus took up His cross to save mankind. Your cross will be different. It will also be difficult because He’s in it for the long haul. He’s in it for eternity.
We tend to be short-term thinkers. We tend to want to feel good now, but God’s playing a long game—a slow chiseling away at our rough edges to create a jewel.
Sometimes it will hurt, but remember that our physical and outward conditions are only temporary. Our character is everlasting and remains with us no matter where we go.
God would not be God if he remained content with us. His plan is different for each of us, but through His love for us, we learn how to become lovable. Every “problem” is a learning opportunity.
He’s not so concerned with making us feel happy as He is concerned with being the ruler and CEO of our lives. Remember, God is not allowing challenges in our life because He hates us. It’s because He loves us too much to leave us the way that we are!
Here’s your challenge:
Think about one area in your life that you have not yet given over to God. Whether it is your finances, your marriage, your work situation, or something else, take the plunge and completely forfeit your life over to God. Say, “God, I want to hand this over to you. I want to surrender my job situation, or my finances, or my relationship to you. Will you help me to hand over the steering wheel of my life in this area?”
See what He does for you. But remember, often things get a lot worse before they get better. And what you think is good for you might not be. Don’t pretend you know more about life than God. Instantaneous happiness is the not goal that God has in view. Watch how He comes in and really, really starts to help you see an Imax view of life. I hope that helps you today.
Hey, this is Todd Phillips, your online pastor and high performance coach.
And I want to talk today about a very important subject that I believe a lot of Christians really misunderstand the fullness of it. And that’s the idea of surrender, total surrender to God. In our effort to move to an abundant life, to really live a passion-filled, purpose-driven life, we’ve got to really understand—all of us do—how to surrender all of ourselves to God.
And I believe again, there is a large number of us in the American church, especially that really don’t understand this. I’m certainly still learning it. But, I wanted to share with you some insights today that I think will help you as you try to build more intimacy with God, and an understanding of God’s purpose for your life. And it’s this, again, this idea of surrender.
One of the things that we need to understand and embrace is the fact that sometimes life gets harder before it gets better. I mean, it’s just the reality of things. I think a lot of times in the church, we tell people about how their relationship with Christ is going to help them. And there’s this sense when people give their lives to Jesus that all their problems are going to magically go away. And we build these expectations that were never meant to be. In fact, you know, we sometimes share Christ with someone and they’ll come to faith in Jesus. And they have an expectation that Jesus is going to smooth things over and make them feel better.
And that’s a wonderful hope, but here’s the reality—He’s not so concerned with making us feel better as He is concerned with being the ruler and CEO of our lives. And it’s so important for us to share this is the church today. Sometimes, things get difficult, but here’s the deal—It’s not because Go is trying to punish us or because He’s trying to do something wrong.
It’s because He’s in it for the long haul. He’s in it for eternity. And we tend to be short-term thinkers. We tend to want to feel good now, but God’s playing the long game. He’s like, “Look, I don’t necessarily want to make you feel good—that’s not what it’s all about. I want to mold you and shape you to be more like Christ—whatever I have to do to get you there.”
And here’s the thing I want you to remember. God is not allowing challenges in our life because He hates us. It’s because He loves us too much to leave us the way that we are. Let me say that again:
God allows challenges in our life to mold us and shape us because He loves us too much to leave us the way that we are.
You know I think about my kids all the time, they’re in junior high and high school (I’ve got 3 kids). And I don’t want to leave them where they are now. I want them to mature and I want to shape them beyond being 13, and 15, and 17. I want to mold them and shape them to be men and women who at 30 are going to love God and be called according to His purpose. So I’m not so concerned with making my kids feel good right now. I’m concerned as their dad about shaping them to be godly people—to have a godly purpose and a godly mission.
And our Heavenly Father is a perfect dad. And he looks down on us and does the same thing. We may ask for something and He may go, “No, you know what. This is what you really need.”
I’ll give you an example of the ay this happens in our lives. When my son, Parker, was about 4 or 5 years old, I remember this so well. He had this horrible cough and this really sore throat, and he was just as sick as you can imagine. And I knew that I needed to give him cough syrup. They had prescribed cough syrup for him and it tasted horrible—I mean we’ve all been through this—and he had had it before, so he knew exactly what was coming.
So I came to Parker at 4 or 5 years old, right, and I’m about to give him cough syrup. Let me just stop right there and ask you, “What do you think would happen if instead of coming with cough syrup, that Parker hated, if I was to sit my 5-year-old down and go, ‘Hey Parker, you’re really sick and this cough syrup is what you need. But you’ve got 2 options here: you can either take the cough syrup or I can give you some chocolate.’”
What do you think he would say, right? Every 5-year-old, every 5-year-old, would say, “I’ll take the chocolate.”
They don’t even think they need the other thing. They don’t understand what they really need. They just know what’s going to make them feel good right now. And chocolate feels good, it tastes good. But what he really needed was the cough syrup. That’s why I don’t even offer him the chocolate.
This is the deal that I think is most important is that we understand giving our lives and our lifestyles to God.
God’s batting a thousand when it comes to building lives. He’s never blown it. He’s never messed up; he always goes to the plate and hits a home run when we give ourselves over to God. And yet, here we are, we’ve never built even one life—we’re right in the middle of building our one and only life. And we think we can go up to the plate and hit a home run and we strike out because we’re not handing ourselves over to a God that has built millions and millions and millions, BILLIONS of lives throughout history and never blown it.
So, when you think about surrender, it’s a word that a lot of people think is negative, but when it comes to God, it may be the most freeing thing that you can do. It’s total surrender to God.
So the next time you’re going through a challenge, whether it’s with your finances, your relationships, in fact, let me give you a challenge.
I want you to think about an area right now that you have not yet given over to God. Is it your money and finances? Is it a relationship that you’re in? Is it your work environment? And you want to get out of there so badly that you’re not allowing God to shape you in the midst of that environment.
I don’t know what it is, but you have to answer that. Just find out what that is. And when you find out what that is, just do this simple thing: say, “God, I want to hand this over to you. I want to surrender my job situation, or my finances, or my relationship with you. Will you help me to hand over the steering wheel of my life in this area?”
And then watch how God profoundly impacts you. Watch how he molds and shapes you to be a more godly man or woman. Watch how He comes in and really, really starts to help you see an Imax view of life. I hope that helps you today.
Until we talk again, Live Passionately, Give Generously, and Impact this World for God.[after video]
Hey, it’s Todd. Did you get something out the video you just watched? I really hope you did.
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