Are you the Master of your life? If so, how’s that working for you? Is it going to take being bucked off our horse on the way to Damascus before we realize who has total control over our life? Hint: It isn’t us (men or women). It is Jesus, our God, Savior, Lord, and Master. John the Baptist said; “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Spiritual growth; it’s a process and the process begins by yielding all we are too all He is. I remember a hymn I sang as a young boy called “I surrender all” it starts with:
All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
“All” means just that: “All!”
Think on these words: Jesus, surrender, freely, ever, love, trust, presence, daily, and live.
Surrendering our life fully to Christ is not freedom’s end; its true freedom’s beginning. Growth comes when we let the “Old Man” go and welcome the “New Man.” Paul says, “If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!” Grace fully realized; is a life freely, fully, and daily surrendered to Christ.
How is it possible to love when to do so make a person vulnerable to being rejected, wounded, and hurting; or perhaps worst of all – ignored? Is it really wise to be so risky and open ourselves to love without condition? Will not those who forget themselves in “self-giving love” be forgotten? Soren Kierkegaard says, “No, the one who in love forgets himself, forgets his suffering, in order to think of someone else’s, forgets all his misery in order to think of someone else’s, forgets what he himself loses in order loving to bear in mind someone else’s loss, forgets his own advantage in order lovingly to think of someone else’s – truly, such a person is not forgotten. There is one who is thinking about him: God in heaven. Or love is thinking about him. God is love, and when a person out of love forgets himself, how then would God forget him! No, while the one who loves forgets himself and thinks of the other person, God is thinking of the one who loves. The self-lover is busy; he shouts and makes a big noise and stands on his rights in order to make sure he is not forgotten. But the one who loves, who forgets himself, is recollected by love. There is One who is thinking of him…” God’s Grace thinks of him.
Grace is the very thing that breathes life into dust (Genesis 2:7); the very thing that fuses muscle to bone (Ezekiel 37:6), the very thing that make loving our neighbor possible (Matt 22:39), and the very thing that makes serving others a priority (1 Peter 4:10). A monumental task, you think? Not for God! And God does not expect you to selflessly love without help. No, He offered the agent that has been with Him from the beginning: His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. So, I implore you; activate by Love, the Spirit, whom has been dwelling within you from the time of your salvation. Do it not for your sake alone, but selflessly for the sake of Christ and the hearts of those created in God’s Image.
Have you ever heard the phrase; “You’re a chip off the old block?” This phrase is normally used to relay parent to child lineage. For example, a parent says, “you are a chip off the old block” the parent means, you are my offspring, and in you I delight. Typically, this phrase is used of someone who exhibits multiple similarities and mannerisms of their parent. I find Peter’s comments in (1 Peter 2:4-5) brings the phrase “Chip off the old block” to life. He says, “As you come to Him (Jesus), the living stone (Jesus)—rejected by men but chose by God and precious to him (God)—you (Christians) also, like living stones (chips off the old block), are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood.” When, I view myself as a “chip off the Living Stone” I realize I am but an imperfect chipped shard from the perfect Living Stone. A Stone that was hand selected by our Father in Heaven, and just as the Living Stone is precious to His Father, because of my privileged lineage In-Christ I too am precious to my Father in heaven.
Peter’s reference to Christians being “living stones” identify us as being like Christ. Therefore, we must see our self as individual living spiritual temples; each filled with the presence of God stacked one upon the other to form the Church of the Living Stone. And within both the congregation of living stones and the individual living stone exists – Christ – “the precious rock.” In Isaiah 28:16 “the Lord God says: I will put a stone in the ground in Jerusalem, a tested stone. Everything will be built on this important and precious rock. Anyone who trusts in it will never be disappointed.”
I believe the deeper our faith in Christ the closer we walk with God. When our faith matures we pass into a symbiosis with the Trinity. This is where true spiritual rest resides. It is great to know that, when we lay our head on the bosom of Christ, the weight of our love, is felt by God: “There was at table one of His disciples–the one Jesus loved– reclining with his head on Jesus’ bosom.” (John 13:23 WNT) The thought here isn’t that John physically placed his head on Jesus bosom. Rather, it demonstrates the closeness Jesus has with the one’s He loves (Us – His elect).
Hebrews 4:10 says, “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” In contrast to this, we can see outlined in Ecclesiastes 2 the typical earthly human existence – striving for things of this world – that have no meaning to us in the next. I believe King Solomon’s outline provides us with the antithesis to God’s rest. It seems that King Solomon becomes more restless and disappointed by the more he does, and the more he acquires. Notice how many times the terms (depending on bible translation used) “Me, Mine, Myself” are used. We do not belong to ourselves; therefore we will not find rest in anything we do for ourselves or others until we surrender our all to Him.
Is God’s rest possible in our lives? I believe so. God’s rest can come in this lifetime. However, it will come only through surrender and obedience to God, the only one, which can provide authentic rest. As long as we continue to take ownership of our self and engage in our own agenda; authentic rest will elude us. It is true, while living in this world we will always have work to do, and labors to perform. However, Godly rest comes when we decide our current labor isn’t for the people; we work for or for Me, Myself, and I that matters. We enter his rest here on earth when we abandon our self and our efforts totally to Him and His cause. Especially in the work place, because this is where He witnesses to others through us. As we abandon our self to Christ our countenance changes to obedience, and we pass through exertion and exhaustion into exhilaration. Colossians 3:23-24 says “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” We find God’s rest here on earth, when we surrender all we do, and all we are, to His will and His Glory.
What does it mean to trust? The word “Trust” Means: Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing. Many Believe in God, at least intellectually. But, very few unreservedly and unconditionally trust God with their heart. Why? I think it is because humans are predisposed to a skeptical thinking process. I have found that most decide to consider trusting God, when they are staring into the face of crisis and trials which offer no other alternative but to trust God. The human mind seems bent toward the need for a proven track record before trusting. Think about it; it would be just silly to trust without evidence, right? It would be even sillier to take God at his word, right? And of course the silliest thing to do is to trust God without complete, concise, and clear explanations of everything in life, right?
What do you think: Can God be trusted? Better yet, can we trust Him without a complete, clear, and concise explanation of all that He is?
I believe we can learn to trust God unreservedly and unconditionally. Why? Because, I believe God’s word, his promises within His word, and the testimonies of others provide an answer to skepticism and many of life’s mysteries. If we let him we can learn to trust God as he walks with us through the trials and crises of life. In Psalm 22:4 Kind David said, “Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusted in You, and were not ashamed.”
Since I am the Men’s Minister of my church, I usually send out texts to men inviting them to our monthy men’s meetings. Today, I sent a text to an 18 year old man inviting him to a Men’s event. He responded, “I can’t come I am not a man.” My response to him was this: “Don’t believe that lie! You are a man and don’t you forget it!” Pastor Ed Cole said, “Being male is a matter of birth; being a man is a matter of choice.” I know, I know the world today can seem to make manhood ambiguous. The fact is this, legally, the world says, you are a man at (18). God says, you are a man when you choose to be! Seems to me like King David was mocked a bit for showing up at the valley of Elah. However, when the giant Goliath was struck, it was at the hand of a boy. But, when he fell – Goliath’s head was removed by a man. Enough said?”
God looks upon each of us, individually, as perfectly and wonderfully made. Let’s not get uprooted by comparing ourself to others. I would lay money on the fact that what we see in material possessions and the supposed success of others, is merely a façade to cover what is really going on underneath.
“What makes this constant assessing and comparing so self-defeating is that we are often comparing our lives, our marriages, our families, and our communities to unattainable, media-driven visions of perfection, or we’re holding up our reality against our own fictional account of how great someone else has it. Nostalgia is also a dangerous form of comparison. Think about how often we compare ourselves and our lives to a memory that nostalgia has so completely edited that it never really existed: “Remember when…? Those were the days…” (Brene Brown)