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Welcome back. This week we’re going to be talking about surrender to Christ. The idea for this podcast comes from the book, Becoming a Healing Presence by Dr Albert Rossi. (Amazon Link) And chapter 6 is on Surrender. Specifically, surrender as it relates to becoming a healing presence to others, but I want to touch on surrendering to Christ with our whole lives and by doing this, we will become a healing presence to others.
Surrendering to Christ.
One of the most profound verses on surrender comes from St John the Baptist, “he must increase and I must decrease.” John 3:30
We live in a world of increase. Everything we watch and listen to is telling us we need to obtain more. Even many of our Christian leaders are telling us that we can get more stuff if we just trust God. A pastor bought his wife a Lamborghini and gave it to her on stage to show how God will bless us if we are faithful. And St John the Baptist said, “He must increase and I must decrease.”
We talk about surrender as Christians today in a way that belittles the early church, or the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.We talk like surrendering is something THEY did back then. We’re too sophisticated, or too intelligent. We can manage on our own. And in most things we can manage on our own. I can tie my shoes without Christ. I can drive my car without Christ. But should we?
1 Corinthians 3:18-20 says ,
'Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” '
Surrender is what we are all called to do on a regular basis. It isn’t something you do at an alter once then get up and walk away saying I gave my life to Christ 30 years ago. Surrender is something we do on a daily, hourly, minute by minute basis.
Because of my volunteer work, I talk to alcoholics and addicts on a regular basis. If you want to talk about us as Christians not being able to surrender, ask an addict how much of their life is surrendered to drugs. Ask an alcoholic how much time he or she spends thinking about alcohol. Addicts and alcoholics are completely surrendered to their drug of choice.
We as Christians have the same choice. We can surrender to Christ and let him rule our life or we can continue to give in every day to the world.
God Will Let Us Go
Because of free will, God will let us go on our own. God wants all of us, See Matthew 22:36ff, but he will let us go to the bitter end if we wish. God will not make us surrender to him, that has to be a choice. Dr. Rossi shares this from St Theophan the Recluse,
Seek God: such is the unalterable rule for all spiritual advancement. Nothing comes without effort. The help of God is always ready and always near, but it is only given to those who seek and work, and only to those seekers who, after putting all their own powers to the test, then cry out with all their heart: Lord, help us. So long as you hold on to even a little hope of achieving something by your own powers, the Lord does not interfere. It is as though He says: ‘You hope to succeed by yourself -very well, go on trying! But, however long you try you will achieve nothing.’ May the Lord give you a contrite spirit, a humble and a contrite heart.”
Let’s go back to my friends in the half-way house. Their victory over their addictions came after they surrendered to God. They had surrendered to their addictions for so long that they had lost all hope, but a spiritual awakening through surrender to God is how they are overcoming their addictions. But when they decide to take their will back, the urges return.
Dying to Self
I saved a quote from Pinterest that says, Surrender is the intersection between acceptance and change. Surrender is us dying to ourselves, to our ego, and letting God change us into the men and women he has called us to be.
Matthew 16:24-26 says,
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?”
Dr Rossi gives two examples from the fathers St Irenaeus and St Gregory the Theologian. St Irenaeus said, We relax in God’s hands. And, St Gregory said, It is necessary to be at ease to know God. We have to start by not starting, not trying to force ourselves to surrender, by just surrendering. And, while many theologians hate the phrase let go and let God, we really have to just let go, and let him catch us.
We have to start by Asking, Seeking, and Knocking. If this is truly what we want with our lives, all we have to do is start asking in prayer to be willing to surrender to Christ. For him to give us the willingness to surrender. This is not an overnight process because we haven’t gotten to where we are overnight. Our willingness at first is to just start. Our surrender comes by showing up and asking every day, or as often as we can and not giving up when we don’t see immediate results.
I hope you found this encouraging and useful. If you did, please subscribe or like the podcast on whatever platform you listen. Each like and subscription move the podcast up in stream and will help get more listeners. As always, Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you in a couple of weeks.