Surrender That Makes Us Squirm

Woman relax sitting on the rockDeposit Photos

Peter began to tell Him, “Look, we have left everything and followed You.” Mark 10:28

“Our motive for surrender should not be for any personal gain at all. We have become so self-centered that we go to God only for something from Him, and not for God Himself. It is like saying, “No, Lord, I don’t want you; I want myself. But I do want You to clean me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I want to be on display in Your showcase so I can say, ‘This is what God has done for me.’” Gaining heaven, being delivered from sin, and being made useful to God are things that should never even be a consideration in real surrender. Genuine total surrender is a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself.” -My Utmost for His Highest (YouVersion 30 Day Devotional)

These were some of the devotional words I read this morning about total surrender. Can you say ‘ouch’? I was okay with the part about gaining heaven not being a consideration. The part that makes me squirm is the part that says wanting to be delivered from sin and being useful to God should never be part of your decision. If I’m honest with myself, I did take those details into consideration.

This made me realize something else this morning. “Lord, even when we ‘surrender’, our human nature is to do it for selfish gain” It made me think of POWs. Why do some of them surrender? Some surrender in hopes of having their lives spared. I am fairly certain none of these folks surrendered because in the middle of the war they realized…oops, I’m on the wrong side. That side over there…that’s the side I belong on!

But, in a way, that is what this devotional is saying. Surrendering for ‘I’ is not genuine surrender. We surrender for Him and only Him.

I think another ‘ouch’ is appropriate here.

This morning I thought about the three big ways I’ve been selfish in my quest for surrender.
I wanted freedom from addiction. I didn’t want to be in ‘prison’ anymore.
I wanted to live a life that was honoring to God
I wanted to live.

I wanted
I wanted
I wanted

To want something that is good for us is not a bad thing. However, genuine surrender should be for God himself and not the potential good things and gains that come from that choice. I thought back this morning of  the one prayer I prayed over and over during that season in my life when I surrendered my drinking problem to the Lord “God, change my heart.  Make your desires my desires too”   And, I believe God answered my prayer.   He changed my heart and I had a desire to do things His way.  Yet, I wonder how much of that request was more for me and not for Him?  I’m still pondering this.

This made me think of Paul. He spent a huge portion of his life in chains for Christ. I’m certain imprisonment didn’t fall in Paul’s ‘I want’ category. Yet Paul’s heart was focused on one thing…to live for God alone.  And his life reflected a life of total, genuine surrender to his Savior. Jesus, I choose you…no matter what the cost. I need and want You and You alone.  And that is what I choose to focus on. That is how I choose to live my life.

I have to say. I’m not there yet. No even close. Selfish gain is constantly creeping into the equation and muddling up what I know to be true. What about you?

Lord, please keep working on me. Help me to walk with You in genuine surrender. Help me to say, like Paul was able to say, Lord, all I want is You and You alone.

6 thoughts on “Surrender That Makes Us Squirm

  1. Debi

    Yikes! Boy did this hit home. I am right there with you sister, So then how do you/ we change our thinking? How do we change the I want into what He wants. While its true I want to focus on God and live as God wants to be able to show others how great following Him is. How can we best change and I want to Christ centered?

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  2. Lesie Bestman

    Thought hard on this more than a few times…I believe that part from those divine, “wholly apart from me” moments when God gives us absolute purity in deliverance n surrender, that we are never fully surrendered only fully for the moment and place we are in our growth. The glorious part is that I don’t think that creates any concern to God. He already knows our limits, our narrowness, our selfishness. All that we have done or been, will do or be, is in the design – what we will give Him, what He will bring us to give Him, the materials He is working with and those He will add are all givens to Him. I believe it is what makes God’s grace and mercy so spectacular and irresistable. He is absolutely aware in advance of all the intricacies that make up us and still He loves, gives reward, blessing, correction without condemnation. Paul looks awesome; no doubt was awesome by any of our standards, but he was selfish too. He struggled. He became new that day, but he too was saddled with the flesh but God had a plan for it. God didn’t worry a bit. This is what I so love about what you shared. It reminds me of all the glorious stories of men and women who had great and shining fruit because of a God who was willing, able, and predetermined to include things like whatever Paul’s need for a thorn in the flesh was, for King David’s Bathsheba and Uriah wickedness, Samson’s lust and foolishness, Rahab’s life for a glorious shining moment that would bring her into a faith family…These are the things that give me soo much confidence in our God. He doesn’t hold back correction but He is always ready to make glorious victorious and delicious fruit in whatever fields we offer. It tells me that even after all my own dark places, I CAN LIVE LIKE I’M BRAND NEW! Because I am.

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