“7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…”
One of the hardest challenges for the Christian is surrender. By surrender, I mean becoming a living sacrifice for God. That is, by God’s grace we daily choose to die to self and live by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. Though this is exciting to preach and readily acknowledged by the believer as our calling before God, the actual living out of this command is not so much a moment in time decision as it is a lifelong process. Yes, there is a point in which God deals with us and we (by His grace and power) make a decision to die to self; however, the ultimate outcome of such a decision is not instantaneous, but is a journey begun with God who in the course of time will make you into that living sacrifice set apart for His good pleasure.
My ultimate goal in life (as I am sure it is for many of you reading this) is to glorify my Savior Jesus Christ and identify with Him (become like Him) in every possible way. But the only way that this will come to fruition in my life is to let God teach me how to surrender. That is, to learn to lay my life down at His feet and ask Him to make of me what He desires. This means that I will have to lay down many of my dreams and ambitions, my dependence on fleshly/earthly securities, and cling to Jesus as a young child clings and looks to his/her parents to meet their every need.
Though the ultimate result of this transformation from self to Christ brings us to a place of peace and joy unspeakable, the journey is tough – tough, but worth it! Our flesh will fight us. Our selfish appetites will war against us. Sadly, some even throw in the towel because our “passions” often have a very strong hold over our lives. But, this struggle is exactly what Christ Jesus, Paul, and others were speaking of when they called us to maturity in Christ – denying self and taking up our cross. The struggle is much harder when we are looking at the wrong things, and looking with the wrong perspective. You see, many concentrate on what they feel they are missing. They see the appetites of the flesh as something they are being denied, when in reality they are losing nothing, but gaining everything…even eternal life.
Jesus did not come to put shackles and chains on any person, but he came to set people in bondage free. Sin and excess, though they may seem fun at the time, only serve to leave you empty and ultimately enslave you! Jesus explained it this way, the enemy (Satan) has come to steal, kill, and destroy. That is the only work that he desires to do in your life… period! So, anything you might feel you are “losing” is in reality the discarding of something that was intended to enslave and destroy you. Jesus, on the other hand, explained that He came to give us life, and abundant life at that.
If we are willing to receive it, this is a life changing truth. I have come to understand that I am not really forfeiting anything when I deny my flesh and surrender to God. I am simply trading the snares and temporal rags of this life which are fading for an eternal joy and life that will never end. My quest is single, to know and identify with Jesus in every possible way. In this work of daily surrender I have found a love, life, peace, and joy that I could not have imagined, because when we surrender to Jesus and die to self, His Joy and Life is given to us! I pray you will seek the same.