Surrender to Christ...
This is the last thing many of us want to do. Sure, we might be willing to surrender some things to Him. I mean, after all, we know that there are things in our lives that need work, and so we gladly give them over to Jesus.
But then Christ says, “No, I don’t just want parts of you. I want all of you. Don’t give yourself to Me in pieces. Give Me everything.”
The problem is we don’t want to give everything. There are things we are keeping a firm grasp on, and no one is going to pry them from our hands.
Maybe it’s a relationship. You know it doesn’t honor God. You know it’s not for your best. But you like it. You don’t want to give it up. Maybe it’s a job. Maybe you have to cut corners. Maybe you have to be less than honest. Maybe you have trouble sleeping at night because of this job. But, hey, the money is good, right? You just can’t give that up, can you?
Maybe it’s a habit. You know it is affecting your relationship with the Lord, and with others, but you like it too much to give it up. Maybe it’s entertainment choices. You know you shouldn’t let Hollywood influence your time and life so much. But, come on, can’t a guy relax in front of the tube for a couple hours every night?
It could be one of a million things that you probably know you should give up, but quite frankly you just don’t want to.
In the book of Mark, one of things we see the Pharisees clinging tightly to is their traditions. Time and again, the Pharisees stomp angrily toward Jesus and sternly question why He is breaking one tradition after another. In Mark 7, it is the tradition of washing hands. The Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, "Why don't your disciples follow our age-old customs? For they eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”
Jesus responded to this by saying, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was prophesying about you when he said, 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. Their worship is a farce, for they replace God's commands with their own man-made teachings.' For you ignore God's specific laws and substitute your own traditions." Then he said, "You reject God's laws in order to hold on to your own traditions.”
Don’t we tend to do the same thing? Don’t we tend to reject what the Bible clearly teaches in order to hold onto the things we don’t want to surrender? Like that job: “Yeah, I know the Bible says not to lie, but I need to lie in my job from time to time. And no one gets hurt. It’s just a little creative financing.” Like that relationship: “Yeah, I know we shouldn’t be having sex, but we love each other. One day we will get married, I just know it.”
Like that hobby or sport: “Yeah, it takes up a lot of my time, and I miss church a couple times a month to do it, but God has given me a joy for this. Besides, I can worship God anywhere.” Like that movie collection: “I know some of my movies are rife with foul language, God’s name is treated like nothing, and there are sexual situations; but it’s just entertainment. It doesn’t really affect me anyway.”
We do just what the Pharisees did. In our refusal to surrender these things, we reject God’s Word to hold onto our pet-loves. In the end, it is these very things that keep us from God’s best. We will never experience the incredible joy and love and hope and peace that God has for us so long as we hold on to these lesser things.
I know, this is not what we want to hear. Yet it is true nonetheless. The key to knowing and experiencing more of Christ is surrender.
Have you raised your white flag yet?