Lord, I’ve wrestled with you over letting go parts of what my heart thinks it wants. Those parts that look to something other than Thee which promises satisfaction. My spirit longs for You, but my flesh cries out bitterly for its own way. Here in this place of coming before you, all of my desires are laid bare. I continue to wrestle, day upon day, but I know you will win for I offer myself to you. Here is merely another layer of self that must go, so that I might gain more of Thee. I must choose obedience to what I know You have placed your finger on, so that we can continue our ascent.
Those who have stood in the shadow of the cross and accepted the fate of their flesh as dead to self but alive in Christ have an opposite viewpoint from this common worldview. Man’s logic reasons: “It is my right to do this or that to make me happy.” Those who walk on the heights with God Almighty, who experience Him in the everyday, who commune with Him as friend with friend, who taste and see that the Lord is good have a different paradigm: “To live is Christ, to die is gain. Not my will, but Thine be done. I give all to follow Thee, even the right to myself.”
As follower’s of Christ – total, unrestrained followers of our Beloved – what rights do we have to ourselves when we offer our lives to Him who loves us? The short answer, none, If we really want to experience God in this life the way He desires and created us to. We offer all to Him as a savory sacrifice and replace our own consuming heart cries, will, and choices with “Your will be done.”
When it comes to obedience to Christ, logic is not part of the equation. If it were, we would not be walking by faith. Often the Lord calls men and women to do the impossible in the physical realm and asks only that they go to a land He will show them, cook a last meal and share it with another, offer the most precious one up and reason that God will provide, or walk across a parted sea. Many who have walked before us understood and applied this principle and experienced God in mighty ways. Here is the place where obedience defies logic.
Obedience is usually not fun to our flesh. It may leave us in a place of unknowing. Our obedience may cost us everything we once held dear such as power, prestige, relationships, emotional ties, position, or other fortress in our lives we had to give up to say yes to Christ. In this place of obedience, it may look as the valley of the shadow of death where all we know for sure is that God must bring us through if we are to come forth. Our, “Yes, Lord” is a reply of obedience when God bids us Go or Wait and we have no resources to provide for ourselves. This is the place of utter letting go of the life we dreamed of, and saying, “Yes, Lord. I give all to follow Thee.”
Here in the letting go, we cast our hopes, dreams, present, and future into His hands. We are prisoners of the Lord, but live in a freedom that the world knows not of. This is where logic is cast off and obedience is perfected. When we follow Christ to the end of ourselves and hold nothing dear to our hearts save Christ and His will and way in our lives, we lose what is temporal but gain everything in Him. We gain more of His intimate presence, His peace, His strength, His authority, His assurance, the unhindered flow of the Holy Spirit, His giftings, and all of His riches. This decision of letting this or that go to Him may be painful, but the fruit will be abundant and it will be a choice we will never regret.
Each part of ourselves we release to Him in a total letting go, the fuller we are filled with Christ. He will never leave His vessels empty, but satisfy the longing heart.As we wrestle with what we think we want, let us be still before Him and choose obedience over logic. Let us choose His sweet way of death to self and release our own rights to be fully alive in Christ.
- “It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates.” Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)
- “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ Peter answered him, ‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.’” Matthew 19:26-30
- “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:1-6
- “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. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2
- Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” I Peter 4:1-11