We live in a world that glorifies independence and self-sufficiency. Rugged individualism is the idol of our modern society. As a result we fear old age as it is seen as a time of weakness and dependency. We live in denial of the reality that all of us will grow old and all of us will die – sooner or later. We cling on desperately to live the life of our own making and miss out on the life of wonder that God wants us to live.
Life is unpredictable, uncertain and full of surprises. Until we face this reality, we will be fearful of changes and angry when things don’t go the way we want them to go. We miss out on the joy of living a life with God – when we can turn our problems, our weaknesses and suffering into opportunities to experience God’s power and grace.
To seek a life with God we need to let go of our tendency to cling to the things that we think will give us independence and control over our lives. Only then will we be able to welcome the changes that come our way and turn our struggles and difficulties into times when we seek God’s grace to let go and to let God have His perfect way with us.
Our sinful nature drives us to seek God only when we have problems that we cannot solve or when we think we need supernatural help for achievements that will glorify ourselves. Billy Graham reminds us that becoming a Christian means that God will provide for our needs according to His standard which is higher than ours. We should not expect Jesus to make us rich or healthy or give us whatever our hearts desire. We are to exchange our will for His good, acceptable and perfect will.
God created us as creatures with a free will so that we can grow in love. We have the freedom to choose between good and evil as well as between the good and the best. But our sinful nature keeps us from choosing the best that God wants for our lives. This is why we need to live a life of surrender. A life of surrender is not a life of defeat – a resigned acceptance of God’s will for our lives. A life of surrender is a life of victory – a life of adventure that is seeking the perfect will of our Heavenly Father by receiving the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit so that our minds will be transformed and taken captive to the mind of Christ.
To live a life of surrender is a commitment to seek the transformation of our minds and to be a living sacrifice. We are not thinking creatures that are in control of our feelings. We are feeling creatures who driven by our unconscious thoughts. Much of our conflicts with one another arise from our involuntary and instant reactions when someone press our emotional red buttons. Hence we need to become more aware of our feelings which are the signals and barometers of our distorted thinking.
God’s blessings are so abundant every day that we take them for granted. We complain about our inconveniences and disappointments instead of giving thanks for the many small blessings we have each day – the time we have with our family and friends and the food and homes that we have. We can thank God for the difficult people that we encounter as they drive us to seek God’s grace. We can thank God in difficult times as the dark nights of our soul draw us to a deeper experience of the God’s abiding Presence. We can even give thanks for cancer when we see cancer not as a death sentence but a messenger to number our days so that we will gain a heart of wisdom.
But it is no simple task to live a life of surrender. First of all we need the grace of God to deliver us from our slavery to our egos so that we will live a life of repentance. Secondly, we need the Holy Spirit to search our hearts as we live a life of self-examination and confession. Thirdly, we need to enthrone Jesus as Lord so that we will live a life of obedience. Finally, we need to live a life of prayer so that we will abide in Christ and be His Body to a suffering world.