Protect, Not ProhibitFebruary 25, 2016
That One Thing (that’s Holding You Back)March 10, 2016
I know now that learning the unforced rhythms of grace, learning to live freely and lightly, can only be found through surrender to Jesus Christ. I realize this is an offensive idea to many, and to us men especially. Surrender is not a word men like. We weren’t raised to surrender. We were raised to be tough!
But the truth is you ladies struggle with surrender as well. Do you know why? Because, like men, you are …human. We like our independence. It is part of the Fall. May I take a few minutes to share with you how we find this new life of the unforced rhythms of grace through surrender?
What I want to convey to you is precisely what for me was getting in the way, and will always get in the way of surrendering to Jesus: my … Self – King Peter.
Surrender is the key. It is what we all have to do. We don’t accept Jesus. We don’t agree intellectually or even emotionally to allow him to be our Savior. No, we flat out surrender to him. We surrender ourselves, and our claims to our personal rights. We surrender our old familiar enemy, Self.
This is precisely what Jesus was talking about when he said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves (their Self) and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
You have to give up Self. You must actually abandon him, or her, so to speak. Release him; lose her; loosen your grip on him. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, will then be able to give you a real life. But not if you go to him for just a little help improving Self. This is not a Self-help process. As long as your own life is what you are trying to save, you are not going to get Jesus’ Life at all.
The very first step is to try to forget about my Self altogether. If I want to find my new, real self, the one I know the Holy Spirit wants to bring out in me, I surely will not find him as long as I am looking just to benefit me. I will find him only when I am looking for Jesus.
Does that seem odd to you?
I have found this works in all areas of life. With my marriage for instance: if I try to hold onto my rights, Ruth and I inevitable argue. And the harder I try to win for my Self, the more we spiral downward. But if I humble my Self, and surrender any claim I think I have to getting my way, we come closer to each other, growing in harmony with each other.
In my former fishing career: if I was pushy and demanding, trying to control the outcome, I ended up white-knuckling everything, making everyone more tense and agitated. And even if I made more money in the process, in the end, was it really worth the stress and hassle?
The bottom line is this: If I push and control to get my way, I lose in the long run. If I try to “save” my desired outcome, to get my way, then I “lose” – as do the people most important to me. But if I am willing to “lose,” to let go, then the outcome is always better. My way may at times prevail, but it will only be because we decided together it was the best, not because I won.
My way may or may not render good results, but my way will always be far inferior to the Holy Spirit’s way. Always.
This principle runs through all of life. If I give up my Self, I will find my true self. The one my Father created me to be. The one I’ve been getting in the way of all my life. If I will lose my old life, the make-believe life of King Peter, I will find Jesus’ new Life that is truly life.