God is calling us to love as Jesus did, to love God with all your heart and to love other people. This is the work of the Holy Spirit; it is He who transforms our heart. However, most of us, if we are honest, are self-centered and maybe even narcissistic. We prefer our own way.
Only when we trust God can we surrender to him. That phrase may be overused to the point of being a cliché. However, real trust in God is the marriage of faith and hope. This is what the scripture promises:
“Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5 NRSV)
Childlike trust defines me as a disciple of God; surrender and trust together define authentic discipleship.
We often surrender to things that are not spiritual. An attachment to anything other than the true God enslaves me, whether it is money, drugs, sex, food, alcohol, work, or the desire for power, prestige or possessions — the three P’s, as Francis says. When we come to the Lord Jesus Christ and surrender to Him, He has the power to break the chains that keep us in bondage and fear. There are two groups of people who find it hard to surrender their lives to God: those who are trying to work out their own salvation and those who refuse to accept grace because they are punishing themselves for their sins and mistakes. The consequences are that many Christians live in guilt and fear.
The core of surrender is to give up your will for God’s will. “We know and rely on the love God has for us…” (1 John 4:16). Trust, remember, is faith and hope wedded. We trust that God has only good intentions for us. He has only perfect love for us; he has a purpose, a plan, a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
I had a man say to me, “I’m afraid He will ask me to do something that I don’t want to do.”
I said, “You can count on it!” Surrender is difficult. But the assurance of God’s love for us allows us to give up our will for God’s will without fear.
Surrender and obedience set the stage for us to have an encounter with the Living God. Obedience rises out of surrender. When I surrender, my desires change and I want to obey God. In contrast, if I am not surrendered I will not easily turn to obedience.
Within all of us there is a division in the human spirit. In other words, we have been saved, but we haven’t yet been completely healed and redeemed. We can’t just say perfunctorily, “Lord, I surrender,” because there are parts of us that are not fully ready. Most of us still live in the “false self.”
The false self is based on self-protection, including pretense, an excessive need for security, a need to control, an unwillingness to be vulnerable and behaviors which serve to help us escape pain whatever the cost. The false self emerges to survive the trials of this life. No amount of theological study, scripture reading, or liturgical study can heal the false-self system. In fact, the false self will prevent healing from taking place. One of the most tragic things about the false self is that it prevents us from hearing the cries of human hearts around us because we are so fearful and self-centered. It also causes us to displace our desire for God with lesser attachments, which we call idols.
The identity with which God created you — your “true self” is based on honesty, truth, humility and love, all rooted and grounded in God’s truth.
C.S. Lewis said, “I have found a desire within myself that no experience in this world can satisfy. The most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” Once you came into the Kingdom of God you became a new creation and you entered into the beautiful realm of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is a realm of love, beauty, purity, holiness, fun, joy and all of the wonderful attributes of God. So the truth is , you were not made for this world! Remember the Bible says that you are in the world, but you are not of the world.
Your un-surrendered desires will never line up with God’s desires for you. Isaiah said, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8) When I refuse to put something, or someone, or myself in God’s hands, I am essentially telling God that I don’t trust Him. I am saying that I can handle the situation better than He can.
He allows us choices. He says, “Okay, go ahead. I will just watch you for awhile. You want to take matters into your own hands? Go for it!”
God rarely works on changing your behavior; He works on changing your desires. God will work in your heart as you surrender and as you release your will to His will, He will work to change your heart. A surrendered heart says, “Yes Lord, I will do whatever you have called me to do.”
For more than 30 years, Judith MacNutt, alongside her husband Francis, has been one of the most recognized and respected leaders in the healing ministry. They are co-founders of Christian Healing Ministries, Inc. (Jacksonville, Fl.), a Christ-centered, ecumenical and non-profit ministry that is dedicated to the practice and teaching of healing prayer. Francis and Judith have traveled the world teaching about the love of Jesus Christ and the power and effectiveness of healing prayer. Together they have authored more than 10 books. For more information about Christian Healing Ministries, please visit their website at christianhealingmin.org or ring them at (907) 765-3332.