Are You Holding On … or Letting Go?

by | Jun 8, 2010 | Blogs, Fire in My Bones

It’s time to check your posture: Are your hands in the
air? True worship requires surrender.

Christians used
to talk a lot about surrender. They called it the consecrated life, and they
sang about it in hymns such as “I Surrender All,” “Have Thine Own Way” or
“Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go.” These songs fueled the missionary movements of
the past.

Today? Not so
much.

 “My question to
you: Are your hands open and raised to
God? Or are you making a fist? Have you given back to the Lord what He
has
given you? Or are your hands tightly clenched?”

In many American
churches, “altars” are a strange concept. They are referred to as “stages,” and
they are used only for fog machines or music performances. “Altar calls” no
longer fit in the time constraints of our trendy 80-minute services. Meanwhile,
talk of surrender has been replaced by messages about self-empowerment and
self-motivation.

The Good Life has
replaced The God Life. The Path to Prosperity has become more popular than The
Calvary Road. We are more interested in getting a breakthrough than brokenness.

Yet God is
calling us back to consecration. Genuine worship, according to Romans 12:1,
involves a wholehearted abandonment of self. Paul wrote: “Therefore I urge you,
by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice,
acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (NASB).

When priests were
set apart for God’s service in the Old Covenant, they were “consecrated” in a
solemn ceremony. The word for consecration in Exodus 28:41 means “to fill the
hand.” The word is a picture of an empty hand receiving God’s blessings and
then giving them back to the Lord in unconditional surrender.

My question to you: Are your hands open and
raised to God? Or are you making a fist? Have you given back to the Lord what
He has given you? Or are your hands tightly clenched? It might be a good idea to
examine how you are holding every aspect of your life:

Your time. Does God have your life 24/7? Does He
have your weekends? Have you made room in your life to spend time with Him? Or
has prayer been crowded out by your favorite TV shows, time with friends or the
demands of work?

Your talents. Are you using your natural and spiritual
gifts to reach others for Christ? Or did you hide your talents, like the unwise
steward in Jesus’ parable? Have you assumed that, because others seemed more
gifted, you should be a spectator while they serve?

Your money. The only way to know if you are truly
surrendered to God’s will is if your wallet is open. A lack of generosity
toward God’s work reveals a much deeper problem.

Your future. Are you driving your career plans—or have
you allowed God to take the steering wheel? Ambition can take you a long
way—but it must be yielded to His will or it will lead to tragedy. You must
agree with what Jesus prayed at Gethsemane: “Not my will, but Yours be done”
(Luke 22:42).

Your
relationships.
Do you
allow friends, or romantic relationships, to lead you away from purity,
integrity and spiritual faithfulness? The Bible says friendship with the world
is hostility toward God (James 4:4). As painful as it may be, true surrender
will involve cutting some ties.

Your
sexuality.
Many
Christians believe they can be faithful believers while practicing immorality.
Don’t buy that lie. Living the consecrated life means repenting of all known
sin daily—and fleeing from fornication, adultery, pornography and all forms of
lust.

Your children. While we have been commanded to raise our
kids for God, we also must entrust them to His care. After all, they are really
His children, not ours. Once you’ve done your part, give them back to Him.

This week my
youngest daughter—our so-called “baby”—is graduating from high school and
headed to college in Georgia. Meanwhile my third daughter is leaving this week
to minister on a foreign mission field for two months—in a place where women
are not exactly safe or respected. I’ve had to consciously put my girls on the
altar whenever I’ve doubted that God will take care of them.

It’s one thing to
give your own life to Christ. It’s another thing to surrender those you love to
His will and purpose. It requires a whole new level of trust. But it is the
path that Abraham, the father of our faith, was required to walk when he put
his son Isaac on the altar.

True faith always
involves gut-wrenching surrender. I urge you to take the right posture: Get
your hands open, lift them up to heaven and say with all your heart: “Lord, I’m
all yours.”

 

J. Lee Grady served as editor of Charisma for 11 years and is now contributing editor. You can find
him on Twitter at leegrady. His newest book is The Holy Spirit Is Not for
Sale
.

 

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