Have you noticed how easy it is to declare your unconditional love and surrender to the Lord, and yet not consider the true meaning of this? Often, we’re really sincere when we say that we’re willing to take up our cross and follow the Lord wherever He leads. But have you ever found yourself in that place where the Lord asks you to let go of your perfect picture of how this will look in practice?
I’m reminded of how zealous Simon Peter was, and how sure he was that he would never stumble and desert Jesus. He proclaimed Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16). He was bold enough to step out of the boat on to the water at the word of Jesus, even if he did end up sinking when he saw the waves (Matthew 14:30). He was the one who rebuked Jesus for speaking of His death and crucifixion, all because it didn’t fit his own idea of how things should be when the Messiah was finally on the scene (Matthew 16:21-23). To summarise, Peter was the one who was very sure of his absolute trust and unwavering devotion to Jesus, but ended up denying his association with the Lord Jesus.
When you’ve been walking with the Lord for a while, you’ll be tested on what you proclaim you believe and stand for. For most of my life as a child of God I’ve sincerely believed, and even told the Lord, that I wanted my life to count for His Kingdom. I’d do whatever the Lord asked of me, and I’d do so willingly and joyfully. Every time I sang ‘I surrender all’, I meant it with all my heart. But I’ve discovered that, even though, like Peter, I really meant it every time, it was much more difficult to put this into practice when God tested me on that which I’d confessed with my lips.
Surrendering, taking up one’s cross, and truly walking by faith daily won’t be a comfortable exercise. It will always cost you in some way. But I’ve discovered that the peace of God which becomes your constant companion when you obey, and make a choice to do it joyfully, is so worth it. The Lord is always faithful to His word to us. He never says something and then changes His mind. Number 23:19 says, ‘God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfil?’
With God, talk isn’t cheap. He always keeps His promises, even when we’re faithless, and fail Him. 2 Timothy 2:13 says, ‘if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown himself’. It’s comforting to know that God sees our hearts, and that He knows our determination and sincere intentions to ‘obey at all cost’, but also our failure to do so at times, when we get overwhelmed by the true meaning of it. Let’s be encouraged to continue taking up our cross daily, walking by faith, and not to allowing past failures to become our focus.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You’re always faithful, true to Your Word and unwavering. Thank You that You never go back on Your promises to me and that You lavish Your grace upon me when I fail to obey You as I should. Thank You that You see my heart, and for Your amazing grace. I love You, Lord. Amen.
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