What's in a Name?

Ecstasy (n)- 2. Excessive joy; rapture; a degree of delight that arrests the whole mind; joy may rise to ecstasy. (Websters 1828 Dictionary)
Doldrums (n)- A sate of inactivity or stagnation.(Dictionary.com)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lose your life?

How on earth can complete surrender bring complete freedom?? We often hear this question when people ask us about our faith walk. We ask ourselves as well! It seems to be a dichotomy; a total contradiction. But it isn't! In studying just what it means to yield every part of ourselves to God, I can see the freedom. We are all slaves to someone- be it sin or the Savior. Would you rather serve an unquenchable, greedy, destructive monster or a loving, powerful, compassionate and all-knowing King? In surrender, we give our own expectations and desires to God and are driven by His expectations and desires. In doing so, we are fully equipped by Him. When we strive to fulfill our self-conceived destinies, we have only our own power to do it in, which is not much at all. It's tiring just thinking about it.

In my studies on being a stay-at-home daughter, I continue to come to this point:
He [She] who has found his [her] life will lose it; but whoever loses his [her] life for my sake will find it.
~Matthew 10:39 (NASV)

As a daughter, first of the King of Kings, it is my duty to sacrifice my own wishes for His. A wife and mother is called to do the same. In our daily lives we are called to surrender our dreams and ambitions for the ones God has for us, such as nurturing the lives of those around us, serving both the lowly and the renowned, being helpful toward the godly men in our lives. These may seem like base tasks, but they really aren't. These things we do as daughters are as important as the tasks of sons, though they be less exposed to others.

There are things we have to give up, ladies. It hurts us more if we continue to hold on to them. There is such joy in surrender, after the initial pain. I've had friends who were willing to finally give up their desires and after doing so, God blessed them incredibly. He is so good, so loving, so omniscient, that we are safe in the vulnerability of our yielding to Him. I'm reaping the blessings of surrender as the Lord reveals things to me slowly. I am also experiencing the hurt of having held onto these things so long- they do take root in our hearts and become difficult to pull out!

Listed below are a few questions from Nancy Leigh DeMoss' book Surrender. They were particularly convicting to me and I hope they will get all of us thinking about the areas of our lives that we have been unwilling to abdicate.

Have I ever consciously acknowledged Christ’s ownership of my life?

Are there any "compartments" of my life over which I am reserving the right to exercise control?

Am I seeking to live out that surrender on a daily basis?

Do I live with the conscious realization that all my time belongs to God, or have I merely reserved a portion of my time for the "spiritual" category of my life?

Am I living each day in the light of eternity?

Am I purposeful and intentional in my use of time, seeking to invest the moments of my days in ways that will bring glory to God?

Do I readily respond to opportunities to serve others, even if it requires sacrificing "my" time?

Do I use the members of my body to express the kindness and love of Christ to others (e.g. using my hands for serving, for gentle touch)?

Do the words that come out of my mouth reveal that my lips and tongue are fully surrendered to God?

Am I filling my mind and heart with the Word of God, so that what comes out of my mouth will be "messages from Him"?

Do I treat any of my possessions as if they were mine rather than God’s?

Do I view God as my provider and the source of all my material possessions?

Am I "bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5)?

Am I devoting my mental capacity to serving Christ and furthering His Kingdom?

Am I guarding the entrance of my mind from impure influences (e.g. books, magazines, movies, music, conversations)?

Do I consistently seek to know and to do the will of God in the practical, daily matters of life?

When I read the Word of God (or hear it proclaimed), am I quick to say "Yes, Lord" and to do what it says?

Do I love Christ and His Kingdom more than this earth and its pleasures? Is there anything or anyone that I am more devoted to than Christ?

Is it my desire and intent to love God with all my heart, above all earthly relationships? Do I enjoy and seek out the friendship of God as much as I do human friendships?

Am I willing to let God decide whether I am to be married and to whom?

Am I willing to speak the truth in love to others about their spiritual condition, even if it means risking the loss of the relationship or my reputation?

Is there any part of myself- my plans, relationships, possessions, emotions, career, future- that I am knowingly holding back from God?

Is it the intent of my heart, by His grace, to live the rest of my life wholly for Him and for His pleasure, rather than for myself and my pleasure?
That is just a portion of the questions. There are many more. But I challenge you to ponder all of these things in relation to what season of life you are currently enjoying! Remember surrender equals freedom!


Hannah said...

Thank you for that Amanda. There is a lot to think about in those questions. I think in surrendering our lives to God, it's very easy to say "here Lord, take my life, I surrender it to you", but then hang on to the small things. We need to track down all those little things - things we watch, things we do, things we say, - and give them to Him. This can be a very hard and long process. Thankfully, we don't have to do it on our own.

Josie said...

Amanda - here is what I wrote up for you to celebrate International Thank You for Being my Friend Day.

Amanda Chick – Wow, I don’t think that I have ever met a more faithful person. You inspire me to be more like Christ. I don’t believe that most people understand the force of character that exists with that quiet, humble form. Thank you for encouraging me when I’m down, diving head long into crazy schemes, and laughing all the while. You stand by me in this roller coaster of my life with such rock solidness. I love the blanket, you wonderful giving soul. My life without seems like some distant dream that never was, for all it’s worth – I love you dearly my friend and can express only a fraction of my gratitude for you.