Last month the hubster and I flew to South Florida for our friends’ gorgeous wedding, and pretty much as soon as we arrived, I picked up the October issue of Christianity Today for some poolside reading.
I spent an amazing day of rest and read an article on grace that included this verse:
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20
Did you see that? Paul is talking about crucifixion. But here’s the part that God pointed to most as I read this piece. Paul’s not just talking about Christ’s crucifixion, which paid the debt of our transgressions for all time, but his own. Which means he’s also talking about your crucifixion and about mine.
You and I were crucified the moment that we accepted Jesus into our hearts and told His Spirit to make us His. Except instead of a bloody and physically painful crucifixion on the cross, we endure a crucifixion of what the Bible calls “the flesh” and what my pastor calls “our selfish nature.”
The lives we once lived only to please ourselves are gone. A new life is born. But – and this is the thing that gets me every time – it’s a life only possible one moment at a time, each day at a time, completely in the present. Because it’s a life of constant moment by moment surrendering to the Spirit as we’re made evermore into His likeness. It’s a life of a near constant exchange of the wills.
I’ve noticed in my own life I do one of two things when it comes to surrender. Either I surrender willingly and feel really good about myself (and fall for the mistaken notion that I really have surrendered all) or I resist and play dumb until I have no other choice but to give in.
In the latter case, I’m the one who’s missing out. Because surrendering doesn’t mean giving up, it just means giving over what we were never meant to clench to the only One who’s able to hold it for us.
Which leads me to the question: what could your or I be surrendering today that we’re having a hard time surrendering? What could we safely put in the hands of the One who laid down Himself for us – not so that good things could die but so that the best things could be born and you and I can continue to become who He made us to be?
I can think of lots of things – like lists of them: expectations and dreams and good ideas for myself and others. Which means every time I lift my hands up in church and sing, “I surrender all,” there’s more surrendering to come. I want to boldly ask that question, because I believe you and I deserve it. I believe we deserve a life of moment by moment surrender. Not imprisoned by our pasts or racing toward our futures, but standing firmly in our today’s and entrusting it all to Him.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! – Isaiah 26:3
Original photo of Young Girl with Open Palm by twobee from freedigitalphotos.net. Adapted for this post by Stephanie Oh.