Read Matthew 10:37-39.Jesus finishes the persecution and one-aginst-another section with this final statement. He has been referring to some persecution to death, but in general it boils down to a complete separation from the world that sets us apart. In the process, we could physically lose our earthly existence, however, we must experience a daily surrendering of our body, mind, soul, and spirit everyday to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." NIV
Surrender is a word that scares so many people. War scenes of captured troops, hands raised, being herded at gunpoint into makeshift prisons, forever forgotten, may come to mind. No one wants to give up their own desires and pleasures to be left with an empty, boring life. But Jesus' form of surrender promises so much more than we can ever create for ourselves.
The "things" we create on earth -- home, careers, cars, other toys, various forms of entertainment -- these are all going to be gone one day. Even today, they can carry an emptiness that leaves us begging for more. These things are what make up our life in the flesh -- where we focus our energy and time. But they are fading and someday will no longer exist.
But Jesus' surrender entails guidance, peace, surety, heaven, and worry-free living. If we will give up our control, His Holy Spirit will guide us as we navigate our life here following the purposes God has set out for us. We can walk in a peace that passes all understanding and with a surety that we are loved and have eternity with God to look forward to. This all encompases not a life without difficulties, but one that I don't have to worry about my needs or many of my wants. I don't have to worry about tomorrow, for He has me in the palm of His hand. I don't have to worry about my children, because He loves them more than I ever could. I don't have to worry about how I will accomplish the jobs He has assigned for me to do, because He is the Almighty Creator of the Universe, capable of anything, and His Spirit lives within me. He will equip and empower me for any purpose He may have. My life is not emptied through surrender, but given a far greater meaning and purpose. I must only let go.
Lord, my hands are lifted into the air. My palms are open to you, hanging onto nothing. I can't do anything alone. My life is yours - do with it as it pleases You.
- God gave Abraham a frightening directive of surrender with his son, Isaac. What in Abraham's beliefs made him trust God with his promised, only son? Read the story in Genesis 22:1-18.
- Surrender is not giving up control to a life of bondage, but to a life of freedom. Read Psalm 119:32, 146:7, John 8:34-36, Romans 6:6, 14, 20 - 22. Search for other passages on the freedom we now have.
- Do you struggle with giving up control? If yes, why is that? What are you afraid of? What do you have to lose? What do you have to gain if you do?
- Pride or fear are the two hinderances to the freedom you can have through surrender. Write down the reasons why they hinder freedom. Support with Scripture.
- Do not let the enemy feed into these two sins - they will stop you from living the life God has for you to live. Ban them from your life and ... let go.