As we make our way through the Believe series, we come to the topic of Total Surrender. The underlying issue of total surrender is a battle between wills. God’s will - which is perfect, good and pleasing, and incorporates total knowledge of every situation - past, present and future. Our will - which is often imperfect, self-centered, and always lacking complete knowledge.
It should be a no-brainer whose will is best to follow - yet, we often find ourselves in a battle of the will - of course, some more than others. What comes to mind? Where’s the battle for you? The irony of it is that much of what we long for in life will be found and bestowed up us through our total surrender to God.
A good question to ask – “Am I more surrendered now than I was 6 months ago?” Your answer will reveal much - for
Total surrender is a continuous response to God.
It’s not a one-time thing, nor is only for a few select pious super religious people.
Total surrender to God and His purposes is the call of God to all.
That call never ceases until we stand before His throne.
And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
Wait a minute? You were talking about total surrender, now you’re talking about sanctification and holiness? Understand that sanctification, holiness, total surrender are synonymous. You can’t talk holiness and sanctification without talking surrender. Can’t talk surrender without consecration - which we’ll get to in a moment.
Sanctification or holiness (often interchangeable) in its simplest form means separated or set apart.
– not just a little, but entirely. When Scripture says God is holy, it is speaking of God’s total and utter uniqueness, His total otherness and complete separateness from His creation. There is no God like our God. There is no other being in the universe, physical or spiritual like Yahweh.
For us, holiness is not so much about moral perfection, though that is included, as it is being separated, called out, set aside for specific use (Yes, Lord, use me) (Israel – priests). So, when God says, “Be holy because I am holy” (Lev. 19:2) or be sanctified, He is saying come out of “Egypt,” come out of the world’s system - come out of the spiritual darkness and be separated unto Me. God says, “Become like me – unique, different, other (next time someone asks for your identity ….)
Question: Do you want to be sanctified? How?
Key Idea: I dedicate my life to God's purposes.
To help us apply that idea, I’ve tweaked that statement a little.
1. I dedicate consecrate …
Cross out dedicate and write consecrate. There’s nothing wrong with dedicate, however, it seems to lack the force that we often find in the Bible. We are called to consecrate ourselves to God, not necessarily dedicate – and I think there is a difference.
We can be dedicated without consecrated. Dedication is a commitment. Consecration is a lifestyle – it is the intentional laying down of oneself to another. For instance, I spent 12 years in the Army. Seen a lot of people – many men and women joined primarily for personal benefits. Dedicated – they wanted to serve – but overall it was more about them than their country. Get in, do my time and get out. Others, however were consecrated – their level of dedication went much deeper than the average soldier. It was a lifestyle – in the heart and soul ….
Are you consecrated or just dedicated? Or neither?
“ ‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.
Another example of positional and practical? God calls us to be holy and He also makes us holy.
Consecration is the key to a totally surrendered or sanctified life.
Consecration is the willful response of yielding to God by which we allow Him to purify and to set us apart.
Consecration is the willful act of standing before God with open arms and open hands.
We cling to nothing and we say, “Here I am – take it all” – all that I have and all that I am – past, present and future.
When you get home, I encourage you to physically put your arms out and notice how it feels. It feels vulnerable.
Consecration involves trust.
How trustworthy is God?
The biblical idea of consecration is this – taking something that is ordinary and unclean, purifying it and setting it aside for special use. The fork we saw earlier.
God can use any of us if we consecrate ourselves to Him. It’s not about waiting until we get our lives figured out and our acts together – it’s about letting go and trusting God to provide what is needed …. Let God do the cleansing ….
Have you consecrated your life …? If so, understand it’s not a one time event.
2. I consecrate my life [continually] …
Consecration is laying it all down before God and letting it all go. It’s a continuous life-long response to God. Consecration is not static. As we mature as a person, grow in our faith, acquire new experiences, skills, possessions, as we go through different seasons of life - there is always something to surrender.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?
Daily - not a one-time event. Total surrender is moment by moment, day by day, year by year, situation by situation - continuous life-long response to God.
Fear of losing that which I enjoy … not necessarily true. Sometimes yes - sometimes we hold onto something that needs to go - it’s destructive. Sometimes we need to let go so God can simply put it in the right perspective.
3. I consecrate my life [continually] to God’s purposes [so I can participate in my calling].
We know about the general plan of God - redemption, restoration, reconciliation …. Within His general plan, He has specific plans for us. So, The more I consecrate my life to Christ, the more my specific calling becomes clear. The more my specific calling becomes clear, the better I can participate in God’s plan of redemption.
Only God knows how to orchestrate my life so that my moment by moment, day by day and year by year decisions intersect with His plans. You would have read that this past week in the stories of Esther, and Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego. You would have read that they were in times and places that intersected God’s plan of saving people. That only happened because they totally surrendered to God.
Army missions – the mission depends on what equipment I take. Take only what is needed.
Total surrender often creates fear because we think that God will then call us to a life or death situation. We think that total surrender means we will be placed in a super dramatic event of biblical proportions where the survival of the entire human race rests upon our shoulders.
May I suggest to you that a totally surrendered life is not as cosmic and complicated as we make it. A totally surrendered life is saying no to the things that hinder me from becoming all that my Heavenly Father wants me to be in any given situation. Total surrender (sanctification) is not so much about giving up this or that, as it is saying, “Yes, Lord – use me whenever, wherever and however.” For some, that means saying no to _____ so you can become the most Christ-like father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter … that you can be. For some, a totally surrendered life is say yes to impeccable integrity when no else in the office has an honest bone in their body.
“When we pray, asking God to sanctify us, are we prepared to measure up to what that really means? Are we prepared to pay the cost of sanctification? Sanctification means to be intensely focused on God’s point of view. It means to secure and to keep all the strength of our body, soul, and spirit for God’s purpose alone.” ~ Oswald Chambers
If we read that wrong - it sounds huge, unattainable …
But if we read it through the lens of true Christianity … are we prepared to pay the cost? What cost? The cost of …
We cannot speak of total surrender without mentioning the total surrender of God and His Son Jesus Christ upon the cross.