Weekly Sabbath Survey
Attaining Surrender — 7-27-13
There is in my life, an element of continual struggle for peace and contentment. It’s easier to be happy and at peace when things are okay. But to muster it up when things are NOT as you want is a real accomplishment in the Christian race. It’s the Peace that Passes Understanding. Earlier in my particular race, I kept trying to get myself right, but every improvement lasted only until something from outside disturbed my peace, and I was back to having a bad day. Every time this happened, the discouragement was heavy. In time, the Lord revealed the problem was singing “I Surrender Some.” I started to work on the “More of Jesus–Less of Me” plan, and I have seen some real results. One extreme test was my brush with cancer and the incredible grace and peace I had during that time.
The usual way many people approach life is with this question: How Much of Myself Must I Give? What is the minimum can I do and still be a good guy? We start life with a great sense of our natural self; with our various desire and interests. But early on, we realize there is something else that makes demands on us: the rules of behavior in a civilized society which we encounter even before kindergarten. We call it “morality” or “decency” or “God’s laws.” By whatever name, it is rules incumbent upon this self of mine, which interferes with my own desires. What we mean by “being good” is giving in to the rules. Some of the things our self wants to do turn out to be “bad” so we must turn away from that. The things that turn out to be “good” we try to repeat. But sometimes deep inside we are still holding on all the time to ourselves. When all the rules are obeyed and the demands are met, our desperate little natural self will still have hope for some chance and some time to get on with its own life and do what we really want to do. Somewhere along the way there will be a time for ME.
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This way of thinking is referred to as “one foot in Egypt and one foot in the Promised Land.” We can’t have it both ways. If we persist, we will either give up trying to be good, or we will keep trying but be very unhappy with the results. Some people go back and forth between the two. Obedience alone always results in a feeling of guilt for the many failures. The more we keep the rules, the more rules we find to keep. Being met with failure time and again, we are stressed at every turn, depressed, and finally, angry.
The answer for some is to give up the faith entirely. There are thousands of people who once believed in Jesus as the Savior, but they quit because they cannot “do” Christianity the way they think the rest of us are doing it. So they just quit trying and went back to the old life. Many others keep going, keep trying to serve God, but always in a disgruntled way, complaining not getting the recognition they deserve, or being slighted in some by other Christians. They become self made martyrs.
I tried to live for Jesus, and serve others. But because I wasn’t always recognized as the wonderful, giving Christian I thought I was, or my motives were misunderstood, I was miffed and disappointed with other people a lot of the time. But I have come far enough now that I can look back and see progress. Not so many years ago, thinking along these lines would have made me cry and go into despair over my sorry state as “God’s Woman of Faith and Power.” But now, in His perfect timing, it is encouraging to think about it, and confirming to me that the further I push myself off my heart’s throne, the more room I make for Jesus! I am dying daily, a little bit at a time, singing, “I Surrender ALL,” and praying that God perfects this in me.
Some might ask, what does Jesus require us to give up in order to follow Him? That’s easy. He wants it ALL. All that I am, all that I hope for, all that I plan, all that I do, all that I own, all that I love. Everything on His altar for the rest of time. And, that I worship YHVH and Jesus with all my heart, mind and body; and to love my neighbor as much as I love myself. It’s called being a “Living Sacrifice.”
I am crucified with Christ, but, I still live. Yet, not I, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah