Now, I am no ‘dog whisperer’ but we had a major dog-training moment with our dog, Maui, a few years back. See, Maui was a handful, a big boxy golden retriever that was full of energy and not-so-pleasant behavior. Maui would chew up everything and anything; he chewed off the plastic wheel of my barbeque, and the wood handles! He chewed the stucco off the corner of the house. He chewed up the phone wires leading into the house. He eat plants, small trees, and even devoured a full rose bush with huge thorns. He even chewed up the big railroad ties in the back yard. One afternoon we came back home to find that all the cable TV wires from under the house, pulled out and chewed and he was having the time of his life flinging the wires around and pulling them out on to the yard. He really did seem so proud of his accomplishment.
However, Maui also was getting a bit aggressive with our young kids. We were not sure what was going on. After talking to a friend we discovered Maui may have dominance issues and he was confused where he fit in our family pack. So we tried a few techniques and they worked. Each time you could see him surrender his will and find his place. He became a different dog, more at peace. The chewing stopped (well most of it, he still liked those railroad ties). He became very obedient and would rarely leave my side. There was victory in his surrender.
This victory of surrender is the same with us and God. When we recognize that He is God and we are not, life aligns.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
The kingdom of God is Jesus on the throne of our life, the One in charge, our Lord and Master, the center of our life. Now, I know this idea is not popular in this me-central, self-focused, ‘I am my own boss’ world we live in today. Yet, when a life is centered on Jesus, it does align, we find our place, there is peace and joy and that sense of sufficiency.
Proverbs 3:5-8 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,
God loves us, cares about us, knows us, and yet gives us the free will to surrender to Him or not. I know for me and my family that living in surrender to God, making Christ central has about great peace and joy. Sure, we face difficulty, yet we know we are not alone.
A surrendered life is a daily, moment-by-moment choice to know God and live life His way, but it usually starts with a prayer. John Wesley (a minister and theologian of the 1700’s who, with his brother Charles and George Whitefield, were used of God to start an amazing evangelical movement) often prayed this prayer of surrender that appeared in the Covenant Renewal Services for the Methodist Movement in 1780.
I am no longer my own, but Thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
Exalted for thee or bought low by thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
Wow, that’s surrender. I wonder what victories we could see if we prayed something like this and truly lived it out? It would be life-changing, revolutionary, and an adventure with the struggle. I’m in. Are you?
If this interests you, we invite you to join us this Sunday as we conclude our current teaching series called “Surrender: An unexpected journey to thriving as a follower of Christ.” You can check out our website for more details, www.cypresschurch.net. We would love to have you stop by or listen in online.
Seeking the victory is a surrendering prayer along with you,