For 47 years I’ve fought various battles. The little nation-state of Jason is war-torn, exhausted, and we’ve used all our resources to fight many different enemies. A little over a month ago I surrendered wholly for the first time in my life.
I’ve fought hard for many things for many years – my job, my family, my livelihood. I’ve taught my children that fighting is living – fighting through the difficult thing, to be persistent and consistent, because it will pay off in the long run. I think I even wrote an article on The War At Home recently, which I just reread in a new context. For 18 years I fought to raise my child, sometimes I fought against him, sometimes I fought other circumstances. But it sure was a fight, and I was left wondering if I did enough. Re-reading again, I can see there were glints of hope in my surrender there – knowing that God would fill the gaps in Jackson’s life where I failed.
What I’ve learned recently is that to live in the fullness of God, you must surrender your whole life, your whole heart, every single drop of it. Surrender has changed my actions because I work on my faith instead of my actions. I don’t focus on trying to do good things or being a good person – instead, I focus on loving God, reading His word, being obedient to Him – and when I do that, the path is made straight and wide. I’m still so flawed and imperfect, but have learned that God loves me because He made me this way. That act of surrender has changed my heart, and has thusly changed my actions. I’ll never be deserving, I can never earn His love, but I’ll always be forgiven, I’ll always receive His grace, and I’ll always be His child.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.Romans 12:1
I’ve been a man of action. I think God is teaching me to be a man of faith instead, which is changing my heart, in turn changing my actions. As Romans teaches us, the Jews knew the law – and in action, worked to obey the law. But knowing the law and being obedient to the law is not what God asks us to do. Instead, he wants us to relent our heart unto Him, through Jesus Christ. I’m relenting and resting in God. I’m not working less hard or giving less effort, instead I’m working on being faithful, listening to his guidance, and following through with obedience.
When a new mountain appears I say “watch God move this mountain”. And, without fail, He has moved those big and little mountains in my life. I didn’t have to work harder to get over or through them, I just trusted in God to move them, and He did! He did! Are you hearing what I’m saying to you?
I’m so incredibly imperfect, so incredibly flawed – but I’m good, created in His image, at this time for His purpose. I was put here and now to thrive and be successful. The best thing I can do is be faithful, trusting in the goodness of God, relenting to His glory for His purposes.
Why I Surrendered
For many years I sought the things of this world, the things that my sinful heart desired. After a long and hard road I discovered that seeking those things, whatever they were, did not bring me happiness or contentedness or joy. To the contrary, they made me unhappy, taking all my joy, and leaving me with less than nothing. A life of sin left me unfulfilled, and more, less than empty.
The enemy is a liar, the king of liars. He will whisper “do this thing, it will bring you happiness” – but it did not, instead it stole all of my joy. I’ve learned in my life that the only real happiness I’ve ever felt on this side of heaven came from the goodness of God.
But, I didn’t start out that way. I didn’t start out even thinking that God loved me. I didn’t start out believing that He wanted my heart. What I knew for certain is that I wanted my children to find joy and love and hope and peace in their lives, and that their sinful nature would lead them where mine lead me.
For them, I started taking them to church. I gave them to God, so that they would find a way toward the only path that provides real joy, peace, love, and hope. I was hopeful those good people could teach them about God. As a side affect, I also went to church. It didn’t change me much for a long time. I was certain God didn’t want my nasty heart full of sin. God may have loved me at some point, but look at my life – He had no purpose or need for me. But then I found rest and comfort – I looked forward to just going and being at rest. I was resting in Him. I needed the rest, because the battle had been long.
Then, over a long time, He began to speak to me – He was seeking me all along in the only way I would listen. My single act of obedience in trying to help my children was just enough to let in a sliver of light into my life. That light became bigger and bigger. I see now that faith is about relenting, resting, surrendering. Many years after that first visit to church when my kids were little, I am able to fully surrender. His love never changes. Maybe you’re hopeless today, maybe you think God doesn’t want you. Let me testify, He does. I just decided that I would try it out, what’s the worst thing that would happen? I would go and sit and church, and I knew it wouldn’t change me or make Him love me. I’m glad to have been wrong. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
My shame can’t separate
My guilt can’t separate
My past can’t separate
I’m Yours forever
My sin can’t separate
My scars can’t separate
My failures can’t separate
I’m Yours forever
No enemy can separate
No power of hell can take away
Your love for me will never change
I’m Yours forever