Why giving up is the most important thing you can do

1 Chronicles 19, John 14
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Surrender is sort of a cliche term we throw around in church, but it’s not something we’re attracted to doing.

As Christians, we like to tote around “fruit of the Spirit” picnic baskets, but I think many prefer different fruits over others. Some of them are sweet: love, peace, and kindness, for example.  Aren’t those nice?

But some, while quite nutritious, are bitter to the taste.  Self-control.  Some translations might use the word “temperance.” It means keeping yourself in check. It also means removing your significance and placing yourself in submission to God.

This attribute is imperative to the Christian walk, yet many insist on doing it alone. We’d rather free-wheel it and do it ourselves, when the critical ingredient to making self-control work is having the Lord involved — and not just that, but allowing Him absolute control.

We expect to go to church and do all of the spiritual disciplines (prayer, worship, etc.) and “see” or “feel” God, yet we are often unwilling to actually let Him be a part of it.  We’re more interested in our own set of parameters, stretching Him out in places He hasn’t revealed Himself, and blotting out the inconvenient stuff. We lose control simply because we’ve decided to take over the things that involve Him.

We’d rather make sure the music is just right, or pray for the things that only benefit ourselves, and hope this sidelong attempt appeases God just enough so we still get our way, so we can be “filled with the Spirit,” when, in fact, we’ve merely filled ourselves up with sugary emotions and an inflated self-perception. This isn’t the Lord at all.  This is simply a man-fueled effort.

In 2 Chronicles, a king is looking to make some amendments to the kingdom. He appoints some guys to carry out the duty, but issues them a condition:

“Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment.”

If this king did not allow the Lord’s influence, and dispatched his own ideas unto his subordinates, much of what he was able to accomplish would have been impossible.

Take heed to what you are doing

Likewise, we must take action, but always in reverence and submission to the Lord. “Taking heed” means walking cautiously, and in this case, we must be cautious that our life and experiences are not as important as the influence of the Lord.

You do not judge for man

Most men do not care for judgment because they are more concerned with personal motives. Christians must operate under the notion that we are concerned only with pleasing God, and often times, this is at the expense of men’s expectations. This may seem “offensive” to others, but this should only be a concern if it causes them to stumble before God, not if it is simply uncomfortable.

You judge for the Lord…the Lord is with you in judgment

If we judge for any other reason, we are immediately wrong. Our firm intent should be to glorify the Lord. This does not mean that we operate as God, but that we should be constantly concerned with His righteousness, both in our thoughts and behavior.

In His name (John 14)

When we say, “In Jesus’ name” in our prayers, we are placing a stamp or seal on the words we’ve spoken.  We’ve said, “Yes, Lord, Your will be done.” It says that we are no longer praying for ourselves, but that His will shall be carried out, and our own ideas are worthless. If we expect the Lord to be involved, what we say and do must always be in His name — otherwise, while something might still be accomplished, and you might even feel fulfilled doing it, it will not bear the mark of Christ.

Jesus and the Father as one (John 14)

Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He was in full submission to the Father.  Jesus never ran off with His own ideas of what was good, but only operated with the purpose of glorifying God. This should be of paramount importance to you as well. Does your activity glorify yourself, propping up your spirituality for others to witness, prompting a response of praise: “Yes, that was spiritual! Amen!”? You may be doing it and not even realize it. But as we draw near to the Father, just as Jesus had, we will become less important, and finally, one with Him.

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