This past Saturday in our men's group, called Men of Faith, we had a facilitator lead on the topic of Surrender. Our men's group meets the first four Saturdays' of every month and we start at 6:30am and are usually finished by 8:30am. There are donuts and coffee (men need their coffee) and then a time for worship, bible reading and large group discussion. After the large group is where the rubber meets the road in a time for us to come together, as men, and discuss the large group topic or perhaps questions that were raised for us to discuss. Each facilitator either shares a story or a testimony and Scripture or perhaps a thought for the men. It is a great time for us to come together in large group, ponder and then discuss in a smaller group setting. There are very few rules that we have for this men's group except one key rule: What is said in Men's group, STAYS in men's group!!!
This is a sacred place for all men to come, speak, listen and share life's struggles, battles and victories. As I said, this past week was the topic of Surrender. This is a very tough word for most, because it requires us to give up what we strongly do not want to let go of: Control. If you are a Christian, saved by Jesus Christ, then ask yourself this question: What is God's and what is mine? Answer? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different outcome each time this is insane. A lot of us can relate if we take honest stock of our lives and the way that we live. How is trying to control our lives working? How are the relationships around us? Is everything good? Is everything ideal? Is everything the way that God wants it for our lives? Left to our own device, there is no hope.
But God didn't let it end there. You see, He knows us and He knows what we are capable of doing (or not doing). That being said, God has given us a way to Him - through His Son Jesus Christ. He gave us the perfect sacrifice. Jesus is the only way. For all of us who admit that we are sinners and in need of a Savior (a perfect way to Heaven) and for all of us who believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, lived on this earth for 33 years and died on a cross and rose again on the third day and we confess that He is Lord we will be saved. This means that the sins of our past, our present and our future are forgiven. God doesn't require that we try to live perfect lives (we simply cannot without God). He calls us for purity, for holiness and for each and every one of us who profess his name to practice righteousness. This does not mean hypocrisy. This means that we need to practice less of the old sinful nature and more of God's way for life (Read Romans 12:1-2 and Colossians 3).
Steps toward Surrender:
Romans 12:1-2English Standard Version (ESV)
A Living Sacrifice 12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]
Submit & Obey:
2 John 6English Standard Version (ESV)
6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
Do What God's Word Say:
James 1:19-27English Standard Version (ESV)
Hearing and Doing the Word 19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Confess and Get Accountability:
James 5:16English Standard Version (ESV)
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.[a]
James 5:19-20English Standard Version (ESV)
19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Practice Being Right:
1 John 3:7-9Common English Bible (CEB)
Practicing sin or righteousness 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you. The person who practices righteousness is righteous, in the same way that Jesus is righteous. 8 The person who practices sin belongs to the devil, because the devil has been sinning since the beginning. God’s Son appeared for this purpose: to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those born from God don’t practice sin because God’s DNA[a] remains in them. They can’t sin because they are born from God.
My question for you is this: What is it going to take to have you stop living by the insanity of "your way" and to seek God's way in every part of your life? Do you want to keep practicing insanity or do you want to practice God's way. Remember, it is not about being perfectly hypocritical, it is about choosing to seek living God's Way: Admit you are a sinner, Believe in Jesus Christ and what God did for us and Confess that we need Jesus as Savior. Practice living right and trust that God will lead you in this way!