The Journey of Surrender
Since sharing the blog by our ATMF writer, Bee, which highlighted the journey of forgiveness, my eyes have been opened to see that life itself is really a journey. Yes, I have made that statement myself now and again but I am only now beginning to understand the practical implications in my everyday life…..and I would like to share my thoughts with you.
I think we put too much pressure on ourselves in different areas of our lives. We expect instant perfection and instant harvests when these are just not practical or realistic. God has set processes in place like seedtime, watering of the seed, germination, growth of the plant, and so on, before harvest time. Paul talks about sowing of the seed, watering and God giving the increase. Whether physical or spiritual, there is a process. Can God sovereignly put aside His processes if He wills? Most definitely! However, this is not the norm but rather the occasional miracle.
When we get saved, it can be most disappointing when we find ourselves falling into sin thereafter until we are taught and understand that like with a new physical birth, there is a growth process and a ‘toddler stage’ of trying to walk and stumbling all over the place. Maturing is a process and when it comes to spiritual maturity, it is a deliberate process we take to do the things we need to do in order to mature – feed ourselves with the truth of God’s word that causes a transformation in our mindsets (how we view God, ourselves and life); communicate with God in prayer, speaking to Him and listening to Him; practise the things we learn from the scriptures, etc. Does our maturity mean we will get to a point when we never mess up? Definitely not! However, by reason of practice, we are better able to discern between good and evil and to make better choices for good in our daily life encounters.
Recently, I came across a statement that said, “The kingdom of God is not, “less of me and more of Him.” It is “none of me and all of Him.” While I agree that where we as disciples of Christ should be heading to is the place where it is “none of me and all of Him” (where Christ is fully formed in us and we are completely Christlike in our attitudes, desires, thoughts, words and deeds), it is a journey that will involve different levels of emptying of ourselves to receive and express more of Him……several junctions along the journey where we need to choose “less of me and more of Him”.
I wrote a blog a while back about being filled with the Spirit that illustrates this but the point is that the more we empty our lives of our own biases, preconceived notions, agendas, etc., the more we are able to embrace what God has in store for us – His own thoughts, His plans for our lives (remember He has good works already prepared for each and every one of us to do), His agenda for the Earth, etc.
I’d like to draw a parallel using the vision Ezekiel saw in chapter 47. An angel showed him a river flowing from the temple (where God’s presence dwelt) that was life-giving and healing and he took him into the river one level at a time – ankle-deep, knee-deep, waist-deep – until it went over his head and he would have to swim in it. As earthen vessels that carry the treasure of the Message and indeed the Spirit of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:7), the choice is ours just how much control we want to give to the Holy Spirit and how much of our life (who we are and what we do) we want to control. The emptying our vessels of ‘self’ – selfish ambition (the things we want to achieve to glory in), self-dependence (depending on our abilities and not on God’s grace), selfishness (everything being about what will make us and ours happy), etc. – and making room for the Holy Spirit to take over and work in and through us is also in stages like in Ezekiel’s vision. It is a journey of surrender.
A song ‘I surrender’ sung by Hillsong has a line right at the start of the song that underscores this for me:
“Here I am down on my knees AGAIN surrendering all…..surrendering all”
I put the word ‘again’ in capital letters because that is exactly how it goes. There will always be something more to surrender while we are in this earthly vessels. As we relate intimately with Him, He lovingly points out something that needs His touch and when we agree to surrender that area or thing to Him, we’re letting go of some ‘self’ and giving Him more control. It’s an ongoing process……a journey. The journey of surrender….. the journey of sanctification.
It is scary sometimes to let go of control – to take our hands of the steering wheel and let the Holy Spirit take over; to get into the depths of the river where the river moves us where it wants us to go. Something in us wants to be in control of our lives…..of our tomorrows. I had a practical experience of this when I lay on the table in the operating theatre about three months ago. I had been fine and calm up till the point when the gas mask was placed over my nostril and I knew that I was going to lose ALL control shortly. I found myself fighting a feeling of panic welling up in my heart, reminding myself that my life was in God’s hands and that if it was not my time to go and be with Him, I would wake up but if it was, so be it. Thankfully, the gas knocked me out and I enjoyed a nice, deep sleep.
Ironically, the most free we can ever be is when we lose all control and let Jesus take over completely. Our spirit knows it but our flesh (mind and body) fights it. So we keep praying for God to put in us a hunger and thirst for more of Him (more of His control) and embrace the journey of surrender, not putting ourselves down when we see our human weaknesses and imperfections but reminding ourselves that we are a work in progress heading to the place of perfection in Christ which we will attain when He returns or we go to meet with Him.
Enjoy the journey!
p.s. I’m working on a song related to this thought. Please pray for me 🙂