Oct 20, 2014
Surrendering to God
We use that phrase a lot, but what does it mean?
I think it means taking every part of your life, and instead of clinging to your own ideas of what should take place, giving it to God to do with as he pleases.
Let’s get specific. Say you long to get married.
Surrendering to God would mean taking your longing for marriage, and instead of clinging to the thought of getting married, giving this part of your life to God to do with as he pleases. It would mean knowing that his plan for you is perfect, whether that means marriage or singleness.
But if you long to get married, that’s not easy to surrender. But why?
Why Is It Hard to Surrender?
Back to getting married. If it’s hard for you to surrender marriage to God, it’s because your longing for marriage shows that you see marriage as essential for your joy.
You see married life as full of happiness, and singleness as not.
And because you see married life as full of happiness, you will cling to the prospect of marriage, and not want to let that go.
But then that raises another question – why should you surrender everything to God?
Why should you stop clinging to the prospect of marriage, and give your marital status to God to do with as he pleases?
There are two reasons.
Reason #1 – Infinitely Greater Joy in Christ
One is because the joy of knowing God in Christ is infinitely greater than the joy of marriage, or anything else.
This will be hard to believe, if you have never experienced Christ in this way.
But Jesus promised that he himself is bread that can satisfy every heart-hunger and thirst —
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)
Notice the good news in that promise: to experience Christ in this way all we need to do is come to him and believe in him. More below on how to do that.
But first, here’s the second reason you should stop clinging to the prospect of marriage, and surrender your marital status to God.
Reason #2 – God’s Plan Brings the Greatest Joy in Christ
It’s because God promises to give you whatever will bring you the greatest joy in Christ.
Really? Even if he gives you singleness? Yes.
If God chooses to give you singleness instead of marriage, it’s because singleness will bring you even more joy in Christ’s glory than marriage.
That’s taught in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 –
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
If you long for marriage, then singleness would be an affliction.
But it would be a light, momentary affliction that would prepare for you an eternal weight of joy in Christ’s glory.
But if that’s true, then why is it hard to surrender our desires for marriage (or for biological children, health, or a promotion) to God?
Why Is It Hard?
It’s because at that moment you don’t believe the above two promises.
You don’t really believe that the joy of knowing Christ is infinitely greater than marriage, or that God will give you whatever will bring you the greatest joy in Christ, or both.
Think about it. If you really believed both of those promises, you would be at peace with whatever God has for you.
Because your heart would be content and satisfied in Christ, and you would know that whatever God gives you, whether it’s singleness or marriage, will bring you even more joy in Christ.
So the problem is that all of us often struggle to believe those two promises. So what can we do?
What Can We Do?
The good news is that as you come to Jesus and believe in him, he will satisfy every heart-hunger that you have in himself. That’s what he promises in John 6:35.
He doesn’t promise to satisfy your heart hunger by giving you those things you are hungering for. They wouldn’t satisfy your hunger anyway.
But he does promise to satisfy your heart-hunger in himself.
And here are steps I have found helpful to experience Christ in this way –
- Turn to him as I am, looking to Christ by faith, and knowing that by faith alone in Christ alone I am welcomed and loved.
- Confess that I have been sinning by hungering for something else more than him. This is sin, because he IS our all-satisfying treasure.
- Ask God to forgive me through Christ’s death on the cross. Be assured that because of Christ I am completely forgiven and clothed in his perfect righteousness.
- Ask God for more of the Spirit’s work so I once again see and feel Christ as my all-satisfying treasure.
- Since the Spirit works through the word, find Scriptures that display the beauty, truth, love, and glory of Christ. Here are some you might find helpful – Jeremiah 23:5, Daniel 7:13-14, Luke 18:42-43,Mark 2:5, Luke 13:11-13, John 13:3-5, 1 Peter 3:18.
- Pray over those Scriptures, thinking deeply about them. Fight to see Christ in all his glory.
- As you do that, in God’s perfect time, you will feel your heart change. The eyes of your heart will see Christ’s glory, and your heart will be fully satisfied in him.
As a result, you will know by experience that the joy of Christ is infinitely better than the joys of marriage.
Then you will also want to take some time to pray over the promise of 2 Corinthians 4:17.
As you do that, the spirit will strengthen your faith so that you know that God will give you whatever will bring you the greatest joy in Christ.
And then you will be able to surrender your longings for marriage to him, because you will know that whether God has marriage or singleness for you, your future is full of joy in Christ forever.
“My Heart Is Yours”
To help you with this, here is a powerful worship video based on Kristian Stanfill’s song “My Heart Is Yours.”
Enjoy — and let me know below what God is doing in your heart through this —
I’d love to hear them. Leave a reply below — thanks.
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
- What to Do When It’s Hard to Surrender to Christ
- How to Surrender to God (with a Short Worship Video)
- How Can I Gain Assurance When I Struggled to Surrender to Christ?
- Indiana Jones on Fighting Sin (with a Short Video)