Tuesday, June 26, 2007

True surrender

I was talking to a friend of mine at the weekend discussing my plans regarding moving house. I proudly announced where I was going to be living and talking about my future at my church. Then he said 'How do you know this is what God wants?'

I thought about it for a moment and realised he was right. I had assumed that as I had found a church in Sutton that I should be living there. I hadn't put God at the centre of my decision. I hadn't even questioned whether He wanted me to stay at my current church. I hadn't surrendered these decisions to God.

My pastor, Jason, spoke recently about surrendering our lives to God and putting Him at the centre of every decision. On Sunday someone responded and said what had happened when they didn't put God at the centre of their decisions. They were uncomfortable at their new church and in their new home. The had moved before asking God and found a church afterwards.

When Jason asked us to respond I knew he was talking to me. I had to go up. I realised how scared I am of the future. As I started to let go of things I started to feel this fear even more. However, I knew that the fear was a sign I was doing the right thing - it was the enemy trying to stop me. I pressed on and let go of all the decisions in my life. My relationships, my job, where I live, where I go to church.

I don't know what the answers are yet, but I'm listening for the answers. Am I afraid of the answers? A little. But I know that if people are praying about it, I've surrendered it and am listening to God about it then He will tell me and make it clear to me. I don't know what the future holds exactly. But I do know that my future will be building God's kingdom not my own.

It will not be me making decisions about my life then asking God to bless them. It will be asking what God's plans are and then making decisions in obedience to that. Its scary but exciting. Who knows where its going to lead me.

I finally know the meaning of the song lyric "I surrender all to you, all to you".

Its not saying "I surrender the stuff I choose". But "I surrender all". That's the challenge to us all.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Our lives are not our own

I was at church today listening to Jason, my pastor, talk about values, about how as Christians we should not be letting our lives be defined by the culture we live in, but by Jesus. He was right. But the thing that spoke to me most was a story he told about himself, the day after he became a Christian. He realised his life was no longer his. It belonged to Jesus.

What an amazing truth and such a liberating one. Imagine, not having to worry any more about how you're going to get through each day, that you no longer have to worry about deciding what you're going to do with the rest of your life. Why is that? Becuase when you belong to Jesus, your life belongs to Him. You're obedient to his will, His calling on your life, His teachings and your lifestyle changes to fit His standards, rather than the standards of this world.

Its not 'what's best for me?', 'how can I promote myself?', 'how can I achieve success and happiness for myself?', 'its my life'. Instead it's 'love others as you love yourself', 'how can I serve and glorify God?', 'how can I change my lifestyle to fit His standards?',' what does God want me to do?', 'what job does He want for me?', 'where does He want me to live?'. It's a totally different set of values, and those are what really show that you're a Christian.

We still make our choices, and we are still responsible for those, that doesn't change. What changes is on what basis we make those choices, and the values that govern those choices. Faith is demonstrated through action, as another, more famous James wrote.

The bottom line? Our lives don't belong to us if we're Christians, they belong to God. His values become ours and on that basis we make choices, according to God's will and purpose for our lives.

And I personally feel a whole lot safer that way.