Living a Life of Surrender
True freedom is found in surrendering to Christ. The Reward is Way Better Than What You Give Up!
Our society, our culture, our politicians and religion, don’t really have the answers for the huge challenges we face as a nation, and as a global community.
Total transformation is what God does in your life when you surrender to Him. He changes your motives. He changes your drive. He changes your values. He makes you compassionate. He touches you so you can talk to other about Him. He makes you a witness of His glory and power so can reach other for the Kingdom of God.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love." (Colossians 1:13)
Jesus introduces us in the New Testament to what I call an upside-down life style.
His strategies to live your best life ever on this earth, begin at a different point that what the world considers a good platform for success and happiness, and His strategies are not practical advice for successful living, but rather prophetic declarations pregnant with the promise of something way better than what the world offers. So the starting point, and the destination, of Jesus strategies, are both upside-down, counter culture modes of life.
The word Jesus uses through Matthew 5:3-12 is translated as “Blessed” which in the Greek is the word “makarios.” In ancient Greek times, “makarios” referred to the “gods.” The blessed ones were the “gods.” They had achieved a state of happiness and contentment in life that was beyond all cares, labors, and even death. The blessed ones were beings who lived in some other world away from the cares and problems and worries of ordinary people. To be blessed, you had to be a god. This is very important to understand the radical teaching of Jesus, Friend. “makarios” took on a second meaning. It referred to the “dead”. I know this may sound contradictory, but follow me for a minute. The blessed ones were humans, who, through death, had reached the other world of the gods. They were now beyond the cares and problems and worries of earthly life. To be “blessed” ("makarios.") you either had to be a god, or you must have died and gone to live with the gods or become a god yourself. That is the origin of the different saints days – they are remembered on the dates of their deaths. That’s when they reached their stated of “blessedness” or “sainthood.” Finally, with the passing of time the Greek usage of the word “makarios” came to refer to the elite, the upper crust of society, the wealthy people. It referred to people whose riches and power put them above the normal cares and problems and worries of the lesser folk – the peons, who constantly struggle and worry and labor in life. To be “blessed,” you had to be very rich and powerful. Isn’t what the culture defines as a successful life? Happiness? I hear stories every week from people who tell me, “I want to be happy.” “I have the right to be happy.” “I have worked hard all my life and now is the time to enjoy myself and be happy.” In other words, “I want to be above the hassles of ordinary life, and I just want to be free to do whatever I want.” The lure of that life style in our culture is huge! Why? Because we see celebrity and the cultural icons of society seemingly living that life of leisure and hedonistic pleasure. In Jesus thinking it not the elite who are blessed ("makarios"; the happy, successful, accomplished, above the care of this worlds because they have everything they need). It is not the rich and powerful who are blessed. It is not the high and mighty who are blessed. It is not the people living in huge mansions or expensive penthouses who are blessed. Rather, Jesus pronounces God’s blessings (Happinesss, success, joy, “makarios”) on the lowly, the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the meek, those who mourn and grieve. Throughout the history of this word, it had always been the other people who were considered blessed: the rich, the filled up, the powerful.
Jesus turns it all upside-down. The elite in God’s kingdom, the blessed ones in God’s kingdom, the happy ones, the ones overflowing with joy, the successful ones are those who are at the bottom of the heap of humanity. Now, tell me something… Isn’t this radical? Totally counter-culture?
Jesus called people who were at the edge of catastrophe, BLESSED! Did you know that? Imagine, if someone tells you, “I am dying of cancer…” And you say, “Well, you are blessed, because now, you will know something about the power and the peace of God, you have never known before!” It is hard to imagine that… Yet, that is exactly what Jesus said!
“You’re blessed when YOU’RE AT THE END OF YOUR ROPE. With less of you there is more of God and his rule."
“You’re blessed when YOU FEEL YOU’VE LOST WHAT IS MOST DEAR TO YOU. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you."
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought."
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat."
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for."
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world."
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family."
“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom."
All these pronouncements from Jesus are describing extreme conditions in all aspects of life. Environmental, financial, emotional, relational, physical and spiritual conditions. God comes to the assistance and help of people who are at the END OF THEIR ROPE. That explains, by the way, the reason why Jesus’ crowd, was mostly composed of common people, homeless, “sinners”, the sick, the mentally disturbed, people whom the culture looked down on!
What we consider human failure, God calls OPPORTUNITY.
What we call scars, God calls stars!
What we call stumbling blocks, God calls stepping stones.
What we call weakness, God calls strength!
What we call losing the battle, God calls a victory for His kingdom!
What we call impossibilities, He calls possibilities.
What we call sinners, He calls saints!
The apostle James reminds us the following: “Consider it a SHEER GIFT, friends, when TESTS and CHALLENGES come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (James 1:2–4). Suffering and pain have a way to refine you, make you fit for the Kingdom of God, compassionate towards others, and draw you closer to the heart of God!
God is not for strong people! It takes surrendering to give up self, and walk by faith. It takes exactly the opposite of what the culture teaches us to walk with God. Followers of God join a counter-culture movement when they surrender to God. It takes vulnerability to learn to trust. It is easy to grow up, it is hard to “ungrow” and become “like a child” again, once habits, tendencies and behaviors have been established for years! (Matthew 18:3)
Have you ever felt like God is too demanding? Is total surrender too difficult? Throughout eternity, you will realize it was worth it to live for God on this earth! No sacrifice is too big! No effort to bring people to the Kingdom of God, will go unrewarded. God is watching you and me now.
Here is the paradox. While God is not for those who are humanly strong, it takes spiritual fortitude and strength of character, to surrender to God! It is a jump into the unknown!
Jesus replied, “And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a HUNDRED TIMES AS MUCH IN RETURN and will inherit eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then” Matthew 19: 29-30. Can you think of any investment that will give you a greater return? This is not a literal expression. It simply means that what God will give us in the future will hundred times more valuable than what we give up for Him now!
Long term, I believe you will live with peace, and a hope that nothing else, and no one else, will ever be able to give you. Every trial you face, will make you better, when you are following God. God is in charge of your life, and He takes all situations and transform them for your own good. When you follow God, everything happens for a purpose. (Romans 8:28).
EMBRACE SUFFERING, Jesus said!
At the end you will receive your BEST LIFE EVER!
An eternal reward!
A fulfilled purpose for the honor of God!
And then the best is yet to come.
The greatest reason why I am not able to bless more people, it’s because they choose to do things their way, instead of my way. That’s why the reading of the Bible, prayer, meditations, and time with me matters. I long to share with you thoughts that match the purpose for which I created you. I long to share with you the foundational principles of LIFE.
There is a way that seems right to you, you follow it, you become obsess with it… You sweat your way into it. But in the end, I know it will lead you into losing your life. Trust me, if I block the way.
I long to bless you, Friend! I long to bestow blessings in your life far beyond what you have ever imagined!
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
(2 Chronicles 16:9; Isaiah 55: 8,9; Proverbs 14:12; Matthew 11: 28-30)
I believe that followers of God receive immediate positive results when they choose to follow God. Their life style is conducive to health and well being.
Long term, I believe you will live with peace, and a hope that nothing else, and no one else, will ever be able to give you. Every trial you face, will make you better, when you are following God. God is in charge of your life, and He takes all situations and transform them for your own good. When you follow God, everything happens for a purpose. Romans 8:28.
Then you have the grand finale. Because when you die believing in God, it’s but a split before you wake up and se Jesus come in the clouds of heaven. Is anything better than that, Friend? To rest in the assurance that we go to sleep on this earth, under God’s care.
Then we all go to heaven. We will have rewards waiting for us there. Then after thousand years, heaven will come to Earth, and we will forever and ever live eternally on this earth renewed. Revelation 20. We will have the rule and reign of Christ on the Earth in the new kingdom, and we will be a part of that. Earth will become the capital of the universe. No one in the entire universe will be closer to God than humans. Jesus, is one of us, and we will be like Him in body. We will be ruling and reigning with Jesus then. And that statement of Jesus in response to Peter’s question will be fulfilled then. Oh, Peter… Yes… But then, what about you and me, Friend? Don’t you feel like Peter at times?
So whatever you have given up—or whatever you are giving up—will be more than made up to you! Throughout eternity, you will realize it was worth it to live for God on this earth! No sacrifice is too big! No effort to bring people to the Kingdom of God, will go unrewarded. God is watching you and me now. God surprises us with HIS EXTRAVAGANT LOVE when we are working up a deal with Him! His deal is so much better!! If His extravagant love does not melt your heart into surrendering your pride, your perfectionism, your habits, your arrogance, your independent attitude, NOTHING ELSE WILL MATTER! God has the best deal for you, friend! Only, when you SURRENDER to the extravagant love of God as a bond servant, you become truly free! That’s the paradox of authentic Christianity, and the dark side of religion.