Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Surrender, pt. 3

Today we are going to look at what surrender means practically – applicably in every day life. Luke 14:25-27 is one of the clearest passages of Christ’s call to surrender. “He was calling [all] to come and die to everything that competed with His reign and rule in their lives.” Verse 33 of this chapter includes the same call.
DeMoss explains that “it’s one thing to have an emotional experience at a Christian gathering where you are inspired and challenged to surrender control of everything to God. It’s another matter to live out that surrender once the emotion of the moment has passed.” Surrender isn’t an emotion, and it’s not spurred on by an emotion every day of our lives. It’s a decision and a daily, ongoing thing. So, what does a surrendered life look like?
Frances Ridely Havergal’s hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be” is a perfect example which DeMoss used in her book. She explains that in this hymn, “each line focuses on one dimension of what it means to be fully surrendered to Christ.”
The following is a list of questions stemming from specific areas of surrender for personal examination and application. Think about them and pray about them as you think of your life surrendered to God.

My Life: “Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.”

  • Have I ever consciously acknowledged Christ’s ownership of my life?
  • Have I made a volitional, unconditional, lifetime surrender of my life to Christ?
  • Am I seeking to live out that surrender on a daily basis?
  • Are there any “compartments” of my life over which I am reserving the right to exercise control?

My Time: “Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.”

  • Do I live with the conscious realization that all my time belongs to God, or have I merely reserved a portion of my time for the “spiritual” category of my life?
  • Am I living each day in the light of eternity?
  • Am I purposeful and intentional in my use of time, seeking to invest moments of my days in ways that will bring glory to God?
  • Do I seek His direction as to how I should use my “free time”?
  • Am I squandering time with meaningless, useless conversation or entertainment?
  • Do I set apart time each day for worship, prayer, and personal devotion?
  • Do I readily respond to opportunities to serve others, even if it requires sacrificing “my” time?
  • Do I become resentful or impatient when others interrupt my schedule or when I am faced with unplanned demands on my time?

My Body: “Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.”

  • Am I yielding the members (parts) of my body to God as instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13)?
  • Do I use the members of my body to express the kindness and love of Christ to others (e.g., using my hands for serving, etc)?
  • Are any of the members of my body – eyes, ears, hands, feet, mouth, etc. – being used to sin against God (e.g., stealing, lying, listening to or repeating gossip, inflicting physical harm on mate or children, listening to profanity, viewing pornography, sexual sin)?
  • Do I treat my body as if it is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19)?
  • Am I abusing my body in any way (e.g., with food, alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs)?
  • Am I morally pure – what I see, what I think, what I do, where I go, what I listen to, what I say?

My Tongue: “Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.”

  • Do the words that come out of my mouth reveal that my lips and tongue are fully surrendered to God?
  • Do I habitually verbalize the goodness and greatness of God?
  • Do I regularly ask the Lord to guard my tongue?
  • Am I filling my mind and heart with the Word of God, so that what comes out of my mouth will be “messages from Him”?
  • Do I speak words that are critical, unkind, untrue, self-centered, rude, profane, or unnecessary?
  • Do I look for and take advantage of opportunities to give a verbal witness for Christ?
  • Do I intentionally use my tongue to edify and encourage others in their walk with God?

My Possessions: “Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.”

  • Do I treat any of my possessions as if they were mine rather than God’s?
  • Do I give generously, sacrificially, and gladly to the Lord’s work and to others in need?
  • Do I own anything that I would not be willing to part with if God were to take it from me or ask me to give it to another?
  • Am I a wise steward of the material resources God has entrusted to me?
  • Do I view God as my provider and the source of all my material possessions?
  • Do I give my tithes and offerings to the Lord before I pay my bills or spend my income?

My Mind: “Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.”

  • Am I “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)?
  • Am I disciplining my mind to get to know God and His Word better?
  • Am I wasting my mind on worldly knowledge or pursuits that do not have eternal, spiritual value?
  • Am I guarding the entrance of my mind from impure influences (e.g., books, magazines, movies, music, conversations)?

My Will: “Take my will and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.”

  • Do I consistently seek to know and to do the will of God in the practical, daily matters of life?
  • When I read the Word of God (or hear it proclaimed), am I quick to say “Yes, Lord” and to do what it says?
  • Is there anything God has shown me to be His will that I have been neglecting or refusing to obey?
  • Do I become resentful when things don’t go my way? Do I have to have the last word in disagreements?
  • Am I stubborn? Demanding? Controlling?
  • Am I quick to respond in confession and repentance when the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin?

My Affection: “Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.”

  • Do I love Christ and His Kingdom more than this earth and its pleasures? Is there anything or anyone that I am more devoted to than Christ?
  • Am I allowing Christ to reign and rule over my affections, my emotions, and my responses?
  • Am I allowing anyone or anything other than Christ to control my emotions and responses?
  • Do I trust God’s right to rule over the circumstances of my life?

My Relationships: “Take my love; my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.”

  • Is it my desire and intent to love God with all my heart, above all earthly relationships? Do I enjoy and seek out the friendship of God as much as I do human friendships?
  • Do I love God more than I love myself? Do I seek His interests, His reputation, and His pleasure above my own?
  • Have I surrendered to God all my desires, rights, and expectations regarding my family?
  • Am I willing to let God decide whether I am to be married and to whom?
  • Am I willing to love my mate in a Christlike way, regardless of whether or not that love is reciprocated?
  • Have I released my children to the Lord? Am I trying to control their lives? Am I willing for Him to call them and use them in His service – anywhere, in any way, regardless of the cost?
  • Is there anyone that I “love” in a way that is not pure? Am I holding on to any friendships or relationships that God wants me to relinquish?
  • Am I willing to sacrifice friendships, if necessary, in order to obey God and His call in my life?
  • Am I willing to speak the truth in love to others about their spiritual condition, even if it means risking the loss of the relationship or my reputation?

Myself: “Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.”

  • Have I surrendered all that I am and all that I have to God?
  • Is there any part of myself – my plans, relationships, possessions, emotions, career, future – that I am knowingly holding back from God?
  • Have I settled the issue that the ultimate purpose of my life is to please God and bring Him glory?
  • Is it the intent of my heart, by His grace, to live the rest of my life wholly for Him and for His pleasure, rather than for myself and my pleasure?

(Tomorrow – pt. 4: Examples and testimonies of a surrendered life)

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