The Practice of Surrender
“If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives [daily] to follow me.” (Matthew 16:24 NCV)
Ramblings from Evan’s dad – Evan, like all of us has his weaknesses. Like me, there are things in his life that tempt him more then others. For me salty things like peanuts or popcorn, and bread, are my Kryptonite. As a matter of fact, I almost got sick the other night from eating too much buttery popcorn at the movie theatre.
Early on we noticed Evan’s weakness was his sweet tooth. The boy never met a piece of candy he didn’t like. I am pretty sure I know which of his parents he inherited that from.;) Many a time I have found candy wrappers mysteriously laying by or under his bed, or discarded into the trashcan by his desk.
Recently though, he saw his sister go sugar-free for a month. He decided he would try it and went for a week with no sugar. When Lacy decided to go a whole year, Evan humbly bowed out. A week was long enough for him. The miscellaneous candy is once again in fear of its life when he walks into the room.
I am like that in many ways. I will give up something for a day or two. Maybe I will surrender it for a week or two. But eventually I will go back to it. Case in point: Kris and I went on a low-carb diet recently. I dropped 15 pounds while we did it. However, the day we went off the diet, I happily devoured some buttery popcorn at the theatre. I am now back up a few pounds from my low because of the tempting S’s (starch and salt).
Isn’t life in general like that? Jesus tells us if we are going to follow Him, we have to take up our cross daily. To take it up, it is a conscious decision we have to make, daily. Sometimes we may have to re-surrender 50 times a day. Why? Because it is a constant struggle we are in, if we are followers of Christ. The world is telling us one thing, and typically it is the opposite of what the Bible tells us.
This morning as I prayed, I held my hands out once again, palms up and opened. As I prayed I pictured myself holding on to nothing. Everything I had, mentally was offered up to God. I prayed that today He would find me surrendered. He would find me a clean and empty vessel. He would find me usable.
Unfortunately, I often find myself later in the day or evening with my hands closed again. Once again holding on tightly to “my stuff”.
Tomorrow I will have to go through that same exercise again, probably several times….
I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! (1 Corinthians 15:31 ESV)