Do you ever feel like a hypocrite . . .
Do you ever feel like a hypocrite when singing the lyrics to some of the worship songs? Be honest with yourself, don’t you feel a little bit uneasy after the 4th refrain of “I Surrender All” knowing that your “All” still has some limitations attached to it? I remember in years past a popular praise chorus included “I Give All My Worship to You,” and I wasn’t completely honest as I sang the lyrics and it made me feel somewhat uneasy. But everyone else was singing heartily, if not completely honestly. This kind of draws me back to the great commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deut.6:5) I’m not comfortable that I accomplish all of those “alls.” Are you?
After a while if our eyes and ears are open, we begin to realize that living the Christian life is a progression. Our sins and failures ought to be a good clue that we are on the journey, not at the destination. Many of us start out this way: We feel a lot of excitement when we come to Christ, but at the same time we try to have the best of both worlds. We try to attain the best of what the Christian life promises to offer without giving up the pursuit of what the world has to offer. That is “double-minded” living according to James 1:8. This is not necessarily a “surrendered” life but one bent more towards a “commitment.” There is a difference.
Surrender means giving up control, turning everything over to Jesus. Surrender means giving up “all” rights to oneself. There’s that word “all” again. As Americans, we tend to prefer the term “commitment” better than “surrender.” This makes our relationship with Christ something I do, allowing me to retain a measure of control. What does Jesus say about that? “The greatest among you will be their servant.” (Matt. 11:33) “You cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.” (Luke 14:33 NLT) Yes, we are sons of God. But to fully surrender our lives to Jesus is to become a servant.
Nevertheless, we do start to grow as the same Holy Spirit who brought us to salvation is at work living in us to sanctify our lives and make us holy. Over time, with diligence, our understanding of God brings change. Most of us start out with a lot of personal and spiritual “baggage.” We then progress to thinking we have a handle as to who God is and how mysterious and immense he is. We then begin to see, though through a dim glass, how small we are and how vast God is, and we become overwhelmed with reverence and awe towards Him.
Apart from spending consistent time refreshing oneself with the scriptures which prescribe surrender as the natural response to our relationship with the Sovereign God, our spiritual immaturity and ignorance will cause us to struggle embracing the joy and satisfaction of relating to God on the terms of a servant and allowing him to use us for his purposes. To have become crucified with Christ and not to live as before, but to live as Christ lives in me, provides the will and energy for this “fully surrendered” life.
Are we able to live like this faithfully day in and out? I suppose we can if we are willing to “be continually filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18) who dwells inside us. The better question is, will we live fully surrendered? The evidence suggests, no. The best question is one of the heart. In our heart of hearts, is it our pressing yet imperfect desire to give our lives fully to God in surrender? God knows our weaknesses and yet treasures our heart and its desires. There are a few lines in a song we often sing that help express how we can allow God to fashion our hearts into instruments that please him. I’ll close with them. I feel comfortable and honest singing them. You can personalize the “we’s” and “us’s” to “I.”
“We want to know you more and more.”
“We only want to hear your voice. We’re hanging on every word.”
“When you do what only you can do it changes us, it changes what we see and what we seek. It changes everything.” (Imagine that, changing what we see and seek. Beautiful change.)
Think About It.