Surrender vs. Striving!

Surrender, in the mind of most people, has a negative connotation. You surrender to the opposition, you lay your weapons down in defeat, you give up something that you really don’t want to! Surrender isn’t something most people seek out or strive to achieve…it’s much more common to strive for victory, conquering our opponent or gaining the leadership position that we desperately think we deserve! Surrender means something SO much different in the follower of Jesus’ life and this weekend we began to look at an age-old story in the Bible to discover what true surrender looks like and why we so desperately NEED IT!

Jesus often used parables when trying to help people understand the deep concepts of God! One particularly popular parable was about farming. Now many of us have never been farmers, and maybe some have never even stepped a foot on a farm, I can’t even say I really like gardening…but here it is…scripture that still means something today, even if planting things isn’t really your thing!

The parable we discussed is found in Matthew 13. Jesus spoke of a farmer who went out to plant seeds, as he scattered the seeds in his field some fell on the path and birds came and ate it up, some seeds fell on rocky places where there wasn’t much soil and it started to grow but there wasn’t enough dirt to maintain and grow it so it withered up and died, other seed fell where weeds were growing and it couldn’t get enough sunlight and nutrients to grow properly and then some seed fell into just the right spot, had enough soil, could get enough sunlight and water to grow and thrive and mature perfectly!

Nice story right? Makes sense! Of course seed needs water, soil, light…we know all these things EVEN if we don’t have a green thumb! How does this story apply to human life? AND then on top of that…how does it apply to MY life!?

I am convinced that in this parable Jesus is teaching us a very basic principle of Christian faith! God is the Sower, the one planting the seeds! The seeds are us, people who have many choices to make about what they believe and what the strive for! The various kinds of soil represent our heart or our receptiveness to the word of God! I, personally think, we all have a little bit of each of these various “soils” within ourselves at all times! We can be cynics, followers, or riding the fence not making a choice all in the same day!

This weekend we focused on the HARD soil…or our hard hearts that sometimes shut out truths of God, especially in certain areas of our lives! Maybe we shut out love because we’ve been hurt too many times, maybe we shut our finances up tight because we don’t trust that God could provide to help us through tough times…we need to take care of ourselves! Perhaps we don’t trust that God could forgive us and love us because we have NOT been faithful in love. There are SO many things that we let get in the way of fully accepting what Jesus did for us on the cross! TOTAL FORGIVENESS and RECONCILIATION to GOD! So, we put up walls, harden our hearts, so we won’t get “hurt”.

Well, God wants to heal those hurts that we try to lock up so tightly! He wants to have us surrender these hurts to Him so He can heal us completely! HOW DO WE DO THAT? How do we let surrender be a positive word in our vocabulary with God rather than a negative one?

Step ONE…is to really take inventory of your heart; your hurts, your joys, your fears…I find it best to make a list, a very detailed list! As you look back at this list ask yourself, do I REALLY want control of that issue OR for that issue to control me? Why would I not want to give this issue up, and let it go? Does having this hurt make me feel like a stronger person?

Step TWO….this may sound trite…but OPEN your heart to God’s healing! Take that list and pray it back to Him. Matthew 13:15 says “For the hearts of these people are hardened….and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them!” If we turn over those hardened areas to God HE WILL HEAL THEM!!! We don’t have to carry them any longer! He’s GOT US!

We will be talking more about Changing our Hearts, finding our Identity in the ONE WHO MADE US is essential and moving into a posture of SURRENDER to HIM is VITAL to our lives! We can experience the fullness of life now and forever if we put our trust in God our Creator!

If you have spiritual questions, please connect!

If you want to check out our first of four series Change Of Heart click here!