Having grown up and living in world that has this true freedom of choice—where every moment of our lives, we have the ability to decide for ourselves because we have the blessing of grace, we cannot fully realize how ignorant we could have been, and how bad life would have become without this choice. How could we look at Jesus, the One who took our sins upon Himself—the One who died because of our sin—and simply go on with life? With all that Jesus faced for us, and because of us, will we still choose to believe the lie that we can attain eternal life on our own—either through our good actions or our smooth tongue?
The pride in us pushes back with the question, “Why should I humble myself before Jesus before I can have the assurance that I am accepted by God?” Looking at Jesus’ life is where we find the answer. He lived a perfect life, one that was without sin, and even more amazing is that He, being the Prince in Heaven, came to earth to take sin upon Himself. “He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.” (Isaiah 53:12).
So what do we actually give up when we ‘give all our lives to Jesus’? Giving all means giving up our polluted and sin-filled hearts, allowing Jesus to purify and cleanse it with His own blood, and to recreate it into being a clean and new heart with His infinite love. However, for some reason we think that it is hard to give our lives to Jesus, and why anyone would choose to keep their sinful heart is beyond me.
God does not require us to give up anything that would be in our best interest to keep. In everything that He does, He has the quality of our lives as His number one priority. With us in mind, Jesus came with an ideal for our lives—and a way to help us become better than we ever dreamed of on our own. We hurt ourselves the most when we think that we know better than God, and instead of following God’s plan, we decide to go our own way. No real joy is found by walking the path that God has warned us to stay off of—because the paths that He has warned us about lead to depression, isolation, and ruin.
It is a mistake to entertain the thought that God is happy when we make mistakes and end up paying for them. All of heaven is interest in our happiness—our true happiness that lasts longer than a simple action or activity. Our heavenly Father does not want to close any doors that lead to joy and satisfaction for us—His creation. Following God’s principles help us ignore and reject everything that would cause us misery and disappointment, really anything that would separate us from community with God and the true happiness that it brings. Jesus, our Redeemer, accepts us as we are, with all the areas where we fail, all the things about us that are imperfect, and with all our weaknesses. It is His desire to not just stop with cleansing of our hearts from sin, He wants to bring us satisfaction with life for everyone who will choose the path that He laid before us. He longs to give us His peace and His rest as rewards for following Him. He requires only what is necessary for us to be truly happy—to reach a level of delight that disobedience will never reach. The ultimate goal and the greatest joy are found when Christ has formed within us a desire to live in God’s presence and to receive His approval and recognition.
Many ask the question, ‘How do I surrender and dedicate myself to God?’ You want to give your life to Him, but you are weak, filled with doubt, and controlled by bad sinful habits. You are unable to keep your promises, and your motivation is weak. You cannot control your thoughts or your desires. Just knowing about all the broken promises brings doubt into your mind, and with it, feelings that God is unwilling to accept you. But don’t give up.
What you must learn is the true power behind the will. The will is the defining piece in the nature of humanity—specifically, our freedom of choice. Everything depends on the quality of our choices. God has given us the power of choice, choosing—whether it be good choices or bad choices—is a gift that we have been blessed with by God.
However, we cannot change our heart. We cannot change our hearts or force our hearts to give glory to God. However, we can choose to serve Him. We can choose to give Him our will. By giving God our will, we invite Him to begin to work in our lives and change our behaviors and our habits according to His plans. With our will being given to God as a starting point, God will transform our whole nature into one that is centered upon Him. Our thoughts will change into thoughts that view the world as God does.
Simply wanting to be good and right with God are positive steps necessary for change, but if these thoughts don’t progress into actions and/or decisions, they will end up being nothing. Many who are simply hoping to become true Christians will be lost because they never reach a point where they surrender to the will of God. By delaying the choice to submit to Jesus, they give up on eternity.
With our God given freedom of choice, we can choose to yield our will to Christ, align ourselves with His Word, and partner with His heavenly power. With this choice, we can look to heaven for the strength to keep us safe, and through always surrendering to God’s will, we will be empowered to live a new life—a life of faith.
Next week, we continue our discussion series about Growing with Jesus and focusing on faith and acceptance.
P.S. As always, if I missed something, or if you would like to respond on this topic, join the conversation below!