My wife and I were having a discussion this past week in which we were both being transparent about some of our struggles. We were both visibly frustrated. We talked about the things that had been holding us back for years, things that we want to see eliminated from our lives, things that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt are not God’s best for us, and yet they are things that are still very much present in our lives.
Jesus’ death empowered us to overcome these struggles. We know as it says in 2 Peter 1:3 that, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” Still, these pieces of our old selves linger that do not in any way fall within the description of “godly living.”
During this conversation, a lot of questions came up about what we needed to do differently if we wanted different results in 2019.
- Why had we failed so many times in the past? Why does it feel like the harder we try, the further we get away from our goals?
- If we truly believe that we are supposed to be imitators of Christ in this life, then why doesn’t the fruit of our lives always bear witness to that truth?
- Why should we even keep trying so hard if we are going to see the same results that we have always seen? What are we fighting for? (The toughest question)
When that last question came up, the Holy Spirit whispered an answer to me. It was so good that I had to stop in the middle of the conversation. I grabbed my phone, and type it out so that I would not forget it. The Holy Spirit said, “You are fighting for surrender.”
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The daily practice of being a disciple of Jesus is marked by a faith that consistently fights to lay down our own will so that we can walk in His will. I believe that, in the most real sense, we as believers are not meant to have to struggle the way that we do.
The gospel is easy and straightforward.
We put down all of the things that have held us back our entire lives. We lay down our sins, our shortcomings, our failures, our pride, and our selfish ambitions. As we put those things down, we picked up God’s will for our lives, and in return, we receive everything that we were initially intended to be. We live the meaningful, purpose-driven, abundant life that He created us for.
The only reason that it does not always work out is due to the fact that we hold parts of our lives back from Him. God is not holding anything back from us. He has given us everything we need to live a godly life. We can’t hold on to our own life and still pick up the one that He has for us.
We have to surrender ours first.
My prayer for myself, my family, my friends, and anyone reading this is that we will all look more like Jesus at the end of 2019 than at the beginning. I don’t believe that will be achieved by a simple list of New Year’s resolutions, and I am not knocking resolutions. Having Goals is a good thing. However, even if that resolution is to look more like Jesus, then the real goal is to actively lay down and surrender those areas of my life that don’t resemble Him.
That is what we are fighting for. That is why we keep on fighting. No matter how many times we may have tried and failed, it is worth it to keep fighting. We are always just one small step away from surrendering, and seeing a significant breakthrough in our lives.