Some days we may be enthused, through the power of the Holy Spirit, by certain scriptures which encourage complete surrender to God. Perhaps it is a book that we have read, a sermon we have heard or a song we have sung which inspires us to respond to the Lord wholeheartedly. On those days it may be easy to say, “Lord I will do anything for You, I will go anywhere” or sing the song ‘I surrender all’, but what does that really mean for me today?
Am I really willing to do anything, go anywhere, lay down all that is precious to me in order to be obedient to the Lord? We can set high standards for ourselves with our Bible teaching, but the difficulty comes in applying this in our own lives today.
Simon Peter struggled with this when he promised Jesus that he would even die for Him. ‘Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the cock crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same’ (Matthew 26:33-35). Yet, as we know, just a few hours later, he denied he even knew Jesus.
The rich young man who wanted to follow Jesus and was doing so many of the right things but found the challenge of giving away his money a step too far. ‘Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth’ (Matthew 19:21-22).
Maybe we say, “Lord I will do anything for You except …” I wonder which particular stumbling block we may be facing. We can all set restrictions, maybe sub-consciously, on our service to the Lord. We perhaps have fears about certain situations and these form an invisible barrier in our lives. Maybe it is travelling to certain foreign countries. Maybe it is flying or even just leaving the comforts of our own home. Maybe it is working with a certain person or a group of people, doing a particular job, standing up and praying out loud, or giving away our riches.
We soon discover that we are not always as whole-hearted for the Lord as we hoped. We may want to set conditions on our service or on our roles. But is that true service? I may want to do a particular job within the church, but am I willing to lay that down and do what the Lord asks of me? It may be different to my wants or expectations. Am I a true servant of the Lord, or am I withholding something?
When we find we are able to let go of our “anything but …” and trust God, we will always find blessing. However much we don’t want to do something – letting God in to deal with our fears, anxieties, pride, prejudices or preconceived ideas will always bring a fullness and richness to our lives. God is so much bigger than our petty likes and dislikes and I believe He is waiting for us to grow in our ability to trust Him with all these issues.
The challenge is in discovering that God is sufficient to meet all our needs in each and every situation that He may put us in. Learning to overcome the challenges is the precise lesson the Lord has for us, not because He is a hard task master, but as a loving Father He alone knows where we need to grow in our ability to trust Him and what will ultimately bring blessings in our lives and give glory to Him. ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to be wholehearted for You. Please help me to see the barriers and blockages that I have formed in my heart which prevent me from moving into all that You are calling me to. I want to be obedient to You in every area of my life. Please help me to trust You in each of the areas I am struggling with and to experience Your grace. Amen.
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