In the past three Facts we have discussed:
#1 – The Discipline of Simplicity Through the reordering of our private world. #2 – The Discipline of Silence Through leaning the practice of being still before God. #3 – The Discipline of Serenity Through cultivating the practice of inner stillness.
In this Facts we will discuss the fourth imperative to developing deeper intimacy with Christ: #4 The Discipline of Surrender Through trusting the Lord completely.1
55 years ago I made my way down an aisle at an evangelistic meeting and wonderfully found Christ. During those early years especially, I wrestled with fears, failures, and inner struggles. But I always found my way back to the Source. I read the promises in the Word of God, claimed and applied them, and increasingly experienced His gentle, sovereign hand, forgiving, guiding, supplying, empowering, and enriching my life beyond anything I could ever have imagined.
God can do anything, you knowfar more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. (Eph. 3:20 Msg)
How could I ever have harbored fears that he would fail me? Today, 55 years later, I can say without reservation, based not only on lifes experiences, but also on the promises found in the Scriptures, that God can be trusted if we will but trust Him and surrender. The truth of Proverbs 3:5,6 has been proven true to me over and over: In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success. (Living)
As I look back over those many years and I suspect you can identify with me – I daily faced the inner struggle to surrender to Him a struggle so aptly stated in a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions:
When thou wouldst guide me I would control myself. When thou wouldst be sovereign I rule myself. When thou wouldst take care of me I suffice myself. When I should depend on thy providing I supply myself. When I should submit to thy providence I follow my own will. When I should study, honor, trust thee, I serve myself, I fault and correct thy laws to suit myself. Instead of thee I look to mans approbation, and am by nature an idolater. Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to Thee.2
Will you join with me in this prayer of surrender: Lord, when I think of your surrender to the Fathers will that spelled the extinguishing of your life for mine, how could I entertain for a moment the fact that you do not have my best interests at heart co-mingled with your grand purpose and glory. At this moment I choose to release my death grip on the control of my life. As an act of the will, based on the promises of your Word, I surrender afresh all that I am to you: My rebellion, pride, fears, manipulation of people and circumstance, inclination to speak half truths, the desire to impress, the need to control my and other peoples lives, my past secret sins, failings, and omissions. I renew afresh my resolve to carve out regular time alone with you. I confess that I am depleted and tired from living a half committed life. From this day forth by your grace, and with your empowerment I will daily surrender to your sovereignty and live a life empowered, and centered on you and on service to others. In Jesus Name. Amen.
1 Many of the ideas in this Facts are drawn from Intimacy with the Almighty, Charles Swindoll, Word Publishing, Inc. Dallas, TX 75039
2 Arthur Beet, ed., The Valley of Vision (Carlisle, Penn.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975)