This post was inspired by a reader who requested this topic on the “►► You Opinion Matters…” page to see a blog on what if…
“People turned their lives over to Christ daily!”
Well that topic is what we are all about here, so here goes….
Turning your life over to Jesus is the best decision anyone could make! Another way to say it is surrender…not something that many people like to talk about or do. When you think about the word “surrender,” images of criminals with the arms raised to the police come to mind don’t they? Surrender is giving up, or yielding control to another, and accepting the outcome. In the case of police, turning oneself over is accepting the consequences of criminal behavior and inevitable punishment for the crime…but surrendering or turning your life to Jesus, it is just the opposite…in that transference, we accept His grace and forgiveness in place of punishment for our criminal behavior (sin). Quite a difference!
So before we start to discuss the surrendering daily, the first question to ask…have you surrender to Jesus at all? You may be reading this and wondering what is this person even talking about…let me just run through a couple scriptural truths…
You have seen “John 3:16” I am sure all over the place, whether held by a fan in the stands, or on a t-shirt, or spray painted along the road or maybe even seen it on Tim Tebow’s face.
John 3:16 (NLT) proclaims…
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
And verse 17 goes on to say,
“God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NLT), the Apostle Paul said,
“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.”
God sent His son to save you and me! He loves you more than you can ever imagine and sent Jesus to establish a “relationship” with us… You can read more on this in previous blogs called ★ Thought for the Day – What Does The Love of God Mean? ★ All this was done so that we could have eternal life with God and Jesus in heaven; but as you well know, there are consequences to sin and Jesus was the payment for those sins, as Isaiah 53:5 (NLT) prophesied over 700 years earlier about the death of Jesus…
“But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”
So with all that said, what is the hold up to turning to Jesus?
Here are some common Excuses for not surrendering…
Don’t know You Are Chosen!
Some people will not surrender to Jesus because they think of our Heavenly Father as a “Cosmic Killjoy” or as an angry God just waiting for us to mess up so that He can punish us; but as you read those verses above look at the lengths that He went to establish a relationship with us! He truly loves you and I…we are CHOSEN, not because of anything we have done but simply because God loves us…You can read more on this in a previous blog called ★ Thought for the Day – You Are Chosen! ★
Don’t know that there is a difference between Religion Vs. Relationship!
I have shared in the past about how growing up I had virtually no connection to God and quite honestly wanted nothing to do with Him as a result of the words and actions of “religious” people. I struggles hearing one thing from the pulpit and then seeing another thing outside the four walls of the church. Hypocrisy was my excuse for not surrendering to God. Robert Morris made this point,
“Sometimes our religion gets in the way of our relationship with God…you have to make a choice to follow Jesus and to submit your will to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and that’s when salvation occurs.”
You can read more on this in a previous blog called ★ Thought for the Day – I Hate Religion and I’m a Christian… ★.
Don’t know that there is Value in Weakness!
Many people struggle with viewing Christianity as a crutch, believing that if they surrender to Jesus, they are weak, but that is the farthest thing from the truth!! It takes a strong person to admit when they are wrong…You can read more on this in a previous blog called ★ Thought for the Day – Value in Weakness? ★
Don’t know you don’t have All the Time in the World!
And finally the biggest excuse of all, is to toy with the idea of accepting Jesus as Lord and savior but to put off the decision for whatever reason. Maybe because of the feeling that God is a “cosmic killjoy” and so you want to keep having fun so you will make that decision to turn your life over to later. Or maybe it is a feeling of unworthiness that you need to “clean yourself up” before coming to Jesus, not realizing that you are “chosen.” Or maybe your pride is getting in the way because you don’t want to admit that the way you are running your life (or not running it,) is not working. Whatever the reason, Matthew 24:36 (NLT) is clear about the end times:
“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen [when Jesus will come back to judge the world], not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.”
So don’t wait, make the decision today, you will never regret it!!…You can read more on this in a previous blog called ★ Thought for the Day – All the Time in the World ★
Okay, so now that we have covered the critical first surrender, let’s talk about surrendering daily. My pastor has been talking for the past few weeks about “living on mission” where you live, work and play, having an eternal perspective in all that you do. When we talk about surrendering our lives daily to Jesus, it will result with us living on mission for the kingdom of God. Philippians 2:5-8 (NLT) has some insight for us…
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up his divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”
So the first step of surrendering daily to Jesus is humility. Everything that Jesus did illustrated His humility and was done for our benefit to know how we ought to live. Now as you live out life in humility, does that mean you will get it right every time? Absolutely now! My mother was named after the late country music legend, Loretta Lynn who made this astute statement,
“Nobody’s perfect. The only one that ever was, was crucified.”
I like that so much!! So often the enemy screams lies at us that as followers of Jesus we should be perfect and when we don’t measure up that must mean that we are no good or don’t have enough faith. But that is just a lie because he knows that if we truly surrendered to Jesus we would be unstoppable, see James 4:7-8.
“I Surrender” is one of my favorite songs off the “Cornerstone” album from Hillsong Live. As you continue to read, let this song play in the background and wash over your spirit.
Here are a couple of verses from this great example of what turning our lives over to Jesus daily looks like…
Here I am
Down on my knees again
Like a rushing wind
Jesus breathe within
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me
I wanna know You more
As we surrender, we are putting aside our desires, our agendas and our thoughts and placing it all on God’s capable shoulders. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT) gives great advice.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Because of the joy awaiting him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility He endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”
Jesus “endured the cross, disregarding its shame”…why, because of the “joy awaiting Him.” So if you want to me more like Jesus and serve Him daily, realize you will face opposition and harsh words from non-believers because of what it says in 1 Corinthians 1:18 (HCSB),
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.”
But don’t let naysayers stop you from reaching out to them because that is What Jesus Would Do.
“Every decision we make will ultimately result in regret or reward for all eternity.” Marty Collier
While here on earth Jesus dealt with His fair share of scoffers and cynics but with humility and He lived a life that was without a doubt “mission minded,” doing His father’s will. But following Jesus will not only bring insults but will also cost you as he warned in Matthew 16:24-27 (NLT)…
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of His Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.”
Now surrendering to Jesus daily may not actually cost you your life but it may cost you friends who don’t want to be around you because the light you emit will shine a spotlight of their sin. I love what Lara Casey said…
It really is about Surrender vs. Self-Reliance. Are you strong enough to admit that you need Jesus and surrender daily to Him or will you pride get in the that like a strong-willed 2-year-old, you say “I can do it on my own?”
The key to happiness is full surrender to God. I know I have already shared a song in this post but I would be remiss to neglect to share Jeremy Riddle’s song “Sweetly Broken” that displays the heart of a person who is “Sold-Out” for Christ, daily surrendering their lives to Him…
What a priceless gift, undeserved life
Have I been given
Through Christ crucified
You’ve called me out of death
You’ve called me into life
And I was under Your wrath
Now through the cross I’m reconciled
In awe of the cross I must confess
How wondrous Your redeeming love and
How great is Your faithfulness
My favorite part by far…
“And I was under Your wrath / Now through the cross I’m reconciled”
Wow!! Because of Jesus, we are a “new creation,” (see 2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB) and have eternal life through faith in Him, so there should be nothing stopping you from surrendering daily and serving Him with everything in you!