Love your enemies.
It is not the first thing that comes to mind when I am in a trying situation.
God’s Word is filled with challenging commands and nonintuitive expectations. Can anyone say “With humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves?” (Phil 2:3) Ouch.
A vibrant walk with God only comes through a laying down of my fleshly response, a surrender of my will. I am not held hostage by God… I choose. Surrender is an act that by definition must be initiated on my side.
And every day I catch myself resisting. I resist because I want control. Even if it is an unconscious resistance, there it is. Every day I fight an internal battle over who will be Lord of my life.
When my qualifications are placed next to the Creator’s, you can imagine who looks more suited for the job of Lord. It is the very character of God, and what He has done for me, that compel me to lay it all down.
God is Good
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
I can safely surrender my will to God because God is good. And He does good. His love is forever! Jesus is the good shepherd Who laid down His life for His sheep… for you and for me. (1)
God is Trustworthy
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
God will not abandon me. I can trust Him! He has a plan for my life, and it is a good one. He even created good works in advance for me to do. (2)
I am Not My Own
But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
I am His. The work of His hands. His adopted child. My very body houses the Holy Spirit. I am a vessel created by God, to be filled by Him. I am not my own. It’s really that simple. (3)
I Have Been Redeemed by the Blood of Christ
… you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
1 Peter 1:18-19
God created His children to love and obey Him, yet we embrace sin. And still He pursues us. God sent His son Jesus Christ to die a criminals’ death in our stead. For all the disobedience and pain we live out, Jesus shed His blood. We have been redeemed. We have been purchased. The blood of the Lamb is the price that was paid for God’s fleeing bride, the church. (4)
It All Comes Down to Who He Is
In the end, I weigh my options. Do I surrender to the all-powerful, good, trustworthy Lord of the Universe? Or do I surrender to my own whim and passions?
As hard as it can sometimes be to walk in obedience to God and His Word, the fact is that I am a lousy director of my own life. God has never failed me, but I fail myself every single day. God doesn’t change! (Malachi 3:6)
So when I face a difficult person, I know that if I choose to surrender my desire to speak angrily, to surrender standing my ground, God will bless my obedience. I still have to deal with my emotions, and there’s nothing magical that makes life suddenly easy. But when I lay my very self down as an offering, God heaps blessing upon blessing on me.
God’s pleasure when I choose to obey by surrendering to His will and His Word, because of Who He is, results in the gift of a joy that fills me up to overflowing.
Do you have a favorite verse about the character of God that gives you strength to surrender to His will? Share in the comments!
(1) 1 Chronicles 16:34, Psalm 34:8, Psalm 119:68, John 10:11
(2) Psalm 9:10, Deuteronomy 31:6, Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 26:4, Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 2:10
(3) Isaiah 64:8, Galatians 4:7, Ephesians 1:5, 1 Corinthians 1:19, Ephesians 4:7, Ephesians 3:19
(4) John 14:15, 1 John 2:5, 1 Peter 1:18-19