What a wonderful promise: “I will give you your life as a prize.”[i]
My life is a prize. I hope yours is. Every day–yes, every day–I say, “I am the luckiest man alive.” My well-meaning Christian friends are quick to suggest I say “blessed” instead of lucky, but I must tell you, I feel lucky. I feel like I have received a prize, and that prize is my Jesus-filled, joy-filled life.
Have you ever watched people at a sporting event react to the cheerleaders when they start throwing out t-shirts to the crowd? Grown men and women abandon all decorum and flail themselves about the stands trying desperately to catch these t-shirts. (Probably cheap cotton t-shirts at that!)
We love prizes, don’t we? We feel so lucky when we win a prize. I vividly recall missing all the little plastic ducks at the fair when I was a little fellow, and as I turned away, dejected and forlorn, the man behind the counter handed me a little stuffed bear anyway.
I felt so lucky!
But not as lucky as having my life as a prize. A prize given to me by Jesus. How do you get this life? In the Old Testament God gives you a very clear process:
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)
In the New Testament Jesus gives the same process:
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matt. 6:33)
To delight yourself in the LORD is to find your delight in Him, first and foremost. To delight yourself in the LORD is to seek Him first, to seek to live in His Kingdom first, here and now. To receive the desires of your heart you must abandon the cheap t-shirts of this culture and seek simple joy in Jesus. And the promise is that all these things–the desires of your heart–will be given to you.
“Okay,” you say, “I hear that loud and clear. What is the catch?”
You do not know the desires of your heart. You simply do not.
But He does.
You think you do, but how many times have you been sure something would bring you happiness, but it did not–not at all? Anyone who has lived long enough, and especially those who are seeking Jesus first, can attest to the fact, the absolute fact, that when they let go of actively flailing themselves after the cheap cotton t-shirts of the culture, Jesus gave them the desires of their heart.
And they will tell you they are so surprised to find they didn’t have a clue what they would be.
But Jesus did.
Jesus gave them their life as a prize, and they now feel like they are the luckiest people on the planet.
But how to do this? How to receive the desires of your heart? Let go. Let go of what you are so sure will bring you happiness. Release the cheap cotton t-shirts of the culture and find your delight in Jesus–in his companionship; in his presence; in his deep, rich, love.
Release. Let go. In essence, abandon the outcome to Jesus.
Because you do not control the outcome. Let me repeat that for emphasis:
You, my friend, do not control the outcome–not in any way, not in anything. And it is your trying to control the outcome that is keeping you from experiencing your life as a prize.
So, relax, release, and abandon the outcome–and He will give you your life as a prize.
Next Week: What does “Abandon the Outcome to Jesus” look like?
[i] My Utmost for his Highest April 28 Oswald Chambers