Born Again By His Spirit How can you love others when you can't love yourself, is it a bridge too far? Perhaps you've been hidden away on a shelf unaware of just who you are. It is time for you now to come into view and to stand in the place of knowing; to allow JESUS CHRIST to take the helm within your own boat you're been rowing. And as you surrender to His loving Grace you will find yourself hidden in Him; with His loving Light outshining all others allowing your sails to be trimmed. Once blind, now you'll see, for GOD will release the Wind of His Spirit to blow, which in turn your identity, that was foreign to you, will thus be revealed and you'll know.....
Right in the middle of this wonderful poem by fellow blogger, Carol Congalton, you’ll see a very important word: Surrender. A few weeks ago, my Bible Study Girls took up this topic of submission/surrender. The conversation went something like this:
BSG 1: “That sounds good to surrender my problem to God but how do I actually do that?”
BSG 2: “Ya, when Christians say, ‘just give it up to God’ I think that can give us a bad name. Like it’s that easy.”
BSG 3: “I mean the actual giving up is like, boom, done. But the work up to it is what is so difficult.”
BSG 1: “But I don’t know how to do that.”
BSG 2: “A pastor once said if you don’t want to forgive, then ask God to help you want to forgive. And if you have trouble doing that, ask God to help you want to learn how to forgive. If you don’t want to do that, ask God to help you want to ask to learn how to forgive!”
Great advice. When we are stuck, we need to go back to a place we are ok with and start there. Which brings us to submission. Ewww. For many of us just that word alone brings negative connotations. Some of us (most of us) just aren’t white flag wavers, especially when it comes to closely held beliefs and baggage.
Most of the time we just want the devil to flee from us without the submission part. You know, get the creamy inside without having to work our way through the hard, outer shell. The devil wants us to keep clinging to earthly definitions of submission. But God says,
I realized there’s two types of submission when it comes to being a Christian. There’s a big “S” and a little “s.” The big “S” is the flipping of the script. It’s the big “ah ha” moment in our lives. It’s not the same as when we decided to believe in God or even that Jesus is our Savior. There’s a lot of Christians that believe both those but haven’t fully submitted to God. It may have happened to us as a child and we are fortunate to have lived our lives in submission to God. My friend Betsy is like that. She can’t remember a time without God as her commander. And you can tell she’s had a lifetime to accept that God loves her immensely. We joke and say “What would Betsy do?” because the spirit of Jesus is apparent in her life.
Others of us may be long time Christians but only recently had that light switch flipped or maybe we haven’t gotten there yet. We’ve gone to church, did all the “right” Christian things except actual, full submission to God. I was listening to a great podcast from Transformation Church the other day. They had guest pastor Tim Ross as their speaker. His sermon focus was on upsetting the world. And by that he meant like the disciples, who went throughout unfriendly lands waking the world up to the Word and the love of Jesus, we should be the conduits for change in people’s lives. His three steps were:
- Upset yourself – in other words wake up and recognize the sin in ourselves. It’s time to take God’s Word to heart and as James tells us, do the actual work of God.
- Upset religion – a great line in his sermon was we should not be ok to show up to church when God is not present in that church. Joyce Meyers says if you leave church not feeling convicted or energized to go out and do good then you need to change churches.
- Let go of our independence – and there’s the “Boom.”
We are so afraid to loosen our grip. So afraid of losing control. And yet our grip is choking the life out of… our life.
“Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.”Dwight L. Moody
And if you don’t believe that, you need to pray for God to help you believe that. I love the story of Peter walking on water.
Notice Peter didn’t see Jesus, jump out of the boat and run toward Jesus in complete and total submission? He asked Jesus to call to him. And Jesus responded, “Come.” (Matt 14:29).
That was a pretty big “S.” Imagine if you were there sitting in the boat and saw Jesus. He tells you to “come” and either you refuse or you get about halfway out and you change your mind – faceplanting on the edge of the boat. There’s no halfway. You’re either in or you’re out. It’s not magic. When I sat at the edge of my boat I pleaded with God to tell me what I was doing wrong. I was being a “good Christian” and I was miserable. He was clear. “What have you really done?” was His response. He made it clear I had yet to fully submit to Him. I needed to climb out of the boat and walk to Him. And so, for the first time, I broke down and made a full commitment to Him.
And then there’s the little “s.” Like a little snake wiggling around at our feet, it’s the everyday moments where we make that re-commitment to submitting to God. They are our daily reminders that we have chosen not to be friends of this world but instead be children of God. We must have the big “S” before the little “s” can take on their full success and meaning. It’s those times when I’m tempted to get frustrated behind slow drivers or get mad at my husband for doing “that thing, yet again.” Or when I’m tempted to take on a new, difficult task without praying first. I must choose again to surrender to God to help fortify me. When I fail, I know He loves me and holds out a helping hand.
Our little “s” moments give us opportunities to grow and pull closer to God. Those moments allow God to remove what’s hindering us from joy. We may have a lot of little “s” moments until God sees that our big “S” is fully secure and planted in our hearts. I heard this quote somewhere, “God doesn’t take us on the longest or shortest path. He takes us on the right path for us.”
And when we submit completely to Him, to be His walking buddy on that path, only then can we enjoy the creamy filling – and the devil will flee from us. Because he knows there’s no getting past a person surrounded and filled with God.
If you aren’t sure you have fully submitted to God, ask Him. Ask Him to shine a light on any area that you still have firmly in your own grasp. Tell Him to call to you — and then get all the way out of that boat.