John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Pretty cut and dry, right? I believe in Jesus, boom, saved. Done. Eternity secure. I mean, that’s what it says, right?
Technically, yes. But technically, all you need to survive is food, water, and the ability to regulate your core temperature. “Hey, Tom. How’s it going?” “Well, my core temperature slipped to 97.2.” “… do you need a hug?” Is that really living?
John 3:20-21: “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.
As believers, we are supposed to practice the truth. In doing so, we bring glory to God. We are created to glorify Him. In all things we do, we are supposed to bring Him glory. If we practice truth as we see it, or truth as the world sees it, we’re not glorifying God, and moreover, we’re outside God’s will.
“God will never give you more than you can handle.”
You’ve heard that saying, right? You’re down and out, struggling, overwhelmed, frustrated, wondering how a circumstance can possibly turn around, and some well-intentioned person says, “You can do this, God never gives you more than you can handle.”
That statement only holds if your circumstances are God’s will. If you’re practicing worldly truth, guess what? God’s not in your circumstances. You didn’t invite Him.
A white flag signifies to all that an approaching negotiator is unarmed, with an intent to surrender or a desire to communicate.
Surrender is not an easy word to accept. To surrender usually means you are weak. If you surrender, you’re the loser. But consider the perspective of the leader choosing surrender. The leader values the life of his soldiers as greater than victory. The choice to surrender is an act of mercy.
In Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are given the ultimate example of surrender. Jesus surrendered his will completely to his Father. Consider what might have happened if Jesus had decided not to return to Jerusalem. Knowing exactly what was in store for him, suppose Jesus hadn’t surrendered his own will to God’s. A snowball of events would never have taken place, and not only that, but being the Son of God, consider what he’d already been through and what he’d resisted. He’d withstood temptation from Satan, and earned a reputation for questioning authority, bucking tradition, and encouraging grassroots change.
Through his surrender to God’s will, he was under the authority of God as well as the mercy of God. There’s a permeating notion that once we’ve accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can beg forgiveness when we are wayward (and we can, that’s not wrong). But we do ourselves a major disservice when we walk out of the will of God. How can He possibly bless our efforts if they aren’t of Him and for Him? And why would He bless us abundantly if we aren’t trusting Him to begin with?
If we look at surrender as a merciful act, we can see a bigger picture. We ARE weak. But God doesn’t want us to stay weak! He wants to empower us. He wants to equip us. He wants to arm us and prepare us for battle. Surrender means laying down our will and saying, “OK, God. Direct my path.” God wants us to recognize our weakness apart from Him, so that He can fill us with HIS power. “My grace is sufficient, for power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9.
A few years ago, my husband thought a staph infection blistered between his toes was just some fluid. He attempted to pop it and almost lost his foot. He didn’t (thank God), but we lost half our income while he was homebound with a picc line for a few months. We were scared. We were already living paycheck to paycheck, and one of those checks was gone. Having previously relied on man’s solution to financial woes (to our detriment), we prayed. We focused on God and trusted that He would provide. I didn’t fret and attempt to micromanage our finances (eventhough I wanted to), I didn’t start charging everything to credit cards (as tempting a short-term solution it was). Suddenly, people were just helping. Someone donated childcare costs for a month. People brought us food. We received an anonymous envelope and cried over its contents. Another family paid our mortgage for 2 months. The response was overwhelming, humbling, and miraculous. What have you given to God, and what are you holding onto? Surrender leads to a richness and fullnessin Christ, a fullness of strength and a new understanding of abundance.“The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not sustain you.” Through surrender, we practice truth, and we are not only empowered but equipped by the mercy of God. Psalm 51:17: My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
Raise your white flag.