Point to Ponder: The heart of worship is surrender.
Verse to Remember: “Surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes.” — Romans 6:13b (TEV)
Question to Consider: What area of my life am I holding back from God?
“Sometimes it takes years, but eventually you discover that the greatest hindrance to God’s blessing in your life is not others, it is yourself — your self-will, stubborn pride, and personal ambition. You cannot fulfill God’s purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans.”
Nor, for that matter, can I obtain anything I truly want while focusing on my own plans. Sure, I can achieve short-term tactical goals, but only at the price of my long-term happiness. Not a good trade.
So, why not just surrender? I think Rick nails it: fear and pride. In some ways they’re sequential: first I have to get to know God well enough to trust Him, then I have to know myself well enough to not trust me. But, in other ways they play off each other. Just when I think I’ve reconciled with God, ol’ pride comes along and starts whispering worries in my ear, just to safeguard his own position.
The most touching thing about this passage, though, is that it is in the chapter on worship. I’m used to thinking of surrender in the context of discipleship, or outreach — which, frankly, can leave me feeling used. I really appreciate Rick’s insight that surrender starts in worship — heck, it is worship. Only surrender grounded in relationship — the knowledge that we are surrendering to God’s desire for us as ourselves — can save us from burnout and legalism.
That still doesn’t make it easy:
“Surrendering to God is not passive resignation, fatalism or an excuse for laziness…Sometimes it will mean doing inconvenient, unpopular, costly, or seemingly impossible tasks.”
But, it does make it good.
Prayer: O Father, it seems like you’ve been throwing this idea at me from every side this past week. This is one of those prayers I’m afraid to pray because I’m sure it will be answered. Enough. I surrender. I confess that you are God, and I am not. Even if I still have doubts, ultimately I’m more sure you exist than that I exist. You’re certainly far more capable of knowing what’s good for me, and even of wanting what’s good for me. God, I surrender to that. I surrender to you. Further, I (gulp) ask you to frustrate every area of my life that is not of you, to drive me back to that place of surrender. For I know that only by surrendering can I win.
Love, your son, your slave, your bride — Ernie P.