Total Surrender

“He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’” -Genesis 22:2 (NIV)

It was an interesting request. God asking Abraham to sacrifice his child? It seems so strange that there has to be something more. What is even more interesting is how God asked Abraham. God specifically instructed him to “take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love,” Born to them while Sarah was old and barren, Isaac was truly a miracle from God. He was the son that Abraham always dreamed of and the proud father did not withhold any love from his son. There must have been countless questions running through Abraham’s mind when God instructed him to go to Moriah and sacrifice Isaac. But he did so fully trusting God, that all will work together for good according to His perfect plan. Pleased with his faith, God prepared a ram caught in a thicket for Abraham; drawing his attention to it so that Isaac would not be harmed and the ram would be used for the sacrifice in his place.

What does it mean to surrender to God? We would like to think of it as a partial surrender. There are areas in our lives where we can confidently say that we would be able to willingly hand them over to God. But what about those areas that we don’t want to give up to Him? Our life-long plans, our deepest desires, our friendships, our loved ones. All these things may be good in and of themselves. They may have even been bestowed upon us by God Himself. But if we try to manage these on our own strength or understanding, thinking that only we are capable of doing so, we will only end up depriving ourselves of the wonderful things that God can do with what He has given and placed within our hearts. Surrender to God is total, not partial. When we trust in God and allow Him to direct our paths, He will take all that we value and treasure and manage it in such a way as to leave us in awe of His flawless wisdom and perfect will. It can be hard to surrender every aspect of our lives to Him. On our own efforts we will fail in this endeavor. But in His grace, God has given us His Holy Spirit to all who believe in and call upon the name of Christ. Through the indwelling of the Spirit, He will help us surrender where we need to, so that we may live life to its fullest, dwelling in the faithfulness of God.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Whose Gift Is It?

“Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.’ ‘I cannot do it,’ Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‘but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.’” -Genesis 41:15-16 (NIV)

Joseph had an incredible gift. The ability to correctly interpret dreams is definitely something to marvel at. This gift which Joseph had reached the ears of Pharaoh, who as ruler of ancient Egypt was the most powerful man on Earth. Though he had many under him who claimed to have the ability to interpret dreams, all of them failed to deliver on their claims. What an opportunity for Joseph to make a name for himself! Standing before a man of such stature, he had the perfect chance to advertise himself as the undisputed authority on dream interpretation. He could gain the prestige of being the man Pharaoh goes to whenever he is disturbed by a troubling vision. Yet, Joseph knew that his ability to interpret dreams was not through any capacity of his own. It was solely by the work of God in his life and he humbly acknowledged this fact before Pharaoh. For his humility, God rewarded Joseph by prompting Pharaoh to appoint him as prime minister over Egypt; giving him power and status that was subordinate only to Pharaoh himself.

All of us have gifts and abilities given to us by God. But what do we do with these gifts? Do we use it to boost our pride, our reputation amongst men? In our egocentric attitudes we wrongly attribute that which God has graciously bestowed upon us to our own human capabilities and determine that only we are able to discern their proper use. However, if we rely on our faulty wisdom tainted by our sinful nature to direct us, we cheat ourselves out of the vision God promises us for an inferior one. God knows us intimately well, and knows of the abilities He has given us. Shouldn’t He therefore be the only one who can help us guide us in how to use them? When we cast aside our pride and humbly allow the Spirit of Christ to work in our lives, He will exalt us as we permit Him to use whatever we have for His restorative mission to the world. Our humility before Christ and our surrendering of our gifts to His perfect plan for our lives will take us to places we would have never imagined; leaving us in awe of His faithfulness and love.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Loving As A Body

“So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” -Romans 12:5 (NIV)

Our bodies are like finely tuned machines, with each part dependant on one another. Though they are diverse in appearance and function, they work together in order to carry out the many tasks the body requires. If even one part of the body was rendered unusable, the entire body would be affected. For example, the brain can send signals to the legs to move and run, but if the legs are paralyzed or some other part of the body is preventing the legs to move, then the body will not go anywhere. Or suppose if the eyes see trouble brewing yet the mouth refuses to speak. How then will our voice be able to call out for help in that critical moment? That is why we seek treatment from doctors when something is wrong with our bodies, so that all its members will be able to work together in an effective manner.

Whether we like it or not we are all connected together in the same way as one body. Thus our attitudes and actions affect those around us. If we think that our anger and pride only affects the person that these are directed to, we are sadly mistaken for everyone will suffer in some form or another. Our selfishness and hatred can do devastating damage in our lives and just as how a spider’s web can fall apart if one thread is cut, so too will our relationships crumble. At the root of the problem is our innate sinful nature. This is what propels us to give into harmful attitudes that will only cause us to become mired in unnecessary conflict and misery. It is only when we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts that He will break the hold sin has over us so that He can begin His restorative work in our lives. When we abide in His Spirit and allow His love to shine from within us, there is no room for sin to taint our relationships with others. We will move forward together in unity as Christ propels us to love so that He may impart life to the people around us.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.