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564 – Letting Go and Letting God – Steps for Total Surrender
Episode 5642nd October 2023 • Leaving Laodicea • Steve McCranie
00:00:00 00:13:17

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There is So Much More to This Life in Christ

As followers of Jesus, you and I long to live the spiritually charged, victorious life He promises in Scripture— an abundant, overcoming life marked by joy, peace, purpose, and the wonder of having the mind of Christ. But let’s face it, our everyday experience often falls painfully short of the dynamic faith and unimaginable blessings described in God’s Word (Eph. 3:20). But it doesn’t have to be that way.

So what’s the key to unlocking this life to the fullest in the power of the Spirit? Complete and total surrender to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

But What Does Total Surrender Look Like?

Surrender means letting go of our wants, rights, and expectations and fully embracing God’s perfect plan for our lives, even if the future seems unclear and we don’t know what that plan is. Surrender requires trust, obedience, and complete reliance on His supernatural power at work within us, even when we struggle to feel His presence at times. And surrender is trusting Him even when the future is uncertain, and we can’t see what tomorrow holds. But that’s to be expected. After all, we “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). But when we surrender completely, release control of our lives, and submit to His will, we open ourselves up to the blessing of becoming all God created us to be in Him. And the results are breathtaking.

True surrender brings freedom— true freedom to thrive in our identity as children of the Most High God and not be constrained by the world’s definition of who we are. Surrender leads us deeper in our relationship with Him, far beyond surface-level faith, into an intimate walk with the Almighty, the Creator of All. This surrendered life overflows with heavenly abundance, just as Jesus promised. But it only comes through daily submission and complete dependence on Jesus.

If you want to live out the fullness of God’s calling, then it’s time to surrender your all to Him— your plans, dreams, possessions, relationships, everything— even your life itself (Matt. 16:24-25). Lay it all down at the feet of the One who gave it all for you.

If you’re ready to experience the spiritual abundance Christ offers, here are some practical steps to help you surrender yourself completely to the Lord:

Recognize Your Need for God

The first step towards the surrendered life is admitting, “I can’t do this on my own!” As humans, we’re all flawed sinners falling short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). Pride and self-sufficiency erect thick barriers separating us from the Lord and each other. So get honest with yourself about the areas where you fall short and confess those sins to Him. Ask God to show you where you need to grow spiritually and recognize that no amount of effort will ever make you holy or righteous in His sight, outside of Christ. Approach God with humility, knowing you desperately need Him.

For example, when you catch yourself complaining about long lines or bad traffic, pause and acknowledge the pride behind your disgruntled heart. Or when you experience a major failure at work, use it as a reminder that you need God’s strength and grace every moment of every day. For without Him, you can do nothing (John 15:15)

Repent and Ask for Forgiveness

Once you’re aware of your shortcomings, take those sins to God in repentance— don’t justify or downplay them. It’s your sin that separates you from God (Isa. 59:2). True repentance restores your fellowship with God when you acknowledge your sins and ask for forgiveness. Plus, God promises that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). And once we repent and confess our sin, the crushing weight of shame and guilt gets lifted when we experience the healing power of God’s forgiveness. It doesn’t get any better than that.

So examine your conscience before bed and confess specific sins like losing your temper with your kids or lying to a colleague or cheating on your taxes. Ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal to you any unconfessed sin you need to confess. And if you ask Him to reveal the sin that is separating Him from you, He will tell you, in no uncertain terms. The rest is up to you.

Submit Your Will Fully to God’s Will

This requires surrendering your desires, plans, and expectations to the Lord. You must release the tight grip of trying to maintain control of your circumstances to Him. Remember, God sees the full picture, while we only see a small part of it. Therefore, submitting your will means trusting that God’s way is higher than your way (Isa. 55:9) and that His plans for your life are much better than anything you could come up with yourself. And it’s only by surrendering to God’s plan that you will experience freedom, joy, and a supernatural peace that is beyond all human understanding (Phil. 4:7). It is something you will have to experience yourself to fully understand.

Try it for yourself. For example, when you pray about a career change or move to a new city, instead of telling God what you want, try asking God to show you His will in this decision. So when you have a major decision to make, pray as Jesus did in the garden, “Father, not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42) to align your heart with His, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel. And once you do, your faith will soar. Try it, you’ll see.

Trust Completely in God’s Wisdom and Timing

Since God is all-knowing, He knows exactly what you need and when you need it, even better than you do. Timing is everything; surrendering means waiting patiently for God’s perfect plan to unfold in His timing, not yours. So don’t try to rush and manipulate outcomes or make things happen in your timing. Let go of preconceived timelines, trusting that God has a purpose in any difficulty or delay you may experience. Fully believe that God is working all things out for your good according to His wisdom, and not your wants and wishes (Rom. 8:28). After all, He alone sees the full picture, the end from the beginning, while we only catch fleeting glimpses of what is going on (Isa. 46:10).

So, when you are impatiently waiting for months to finally land your dream job, choose to believe God’s timing is purposeful and perfect even when it feels painfully slow. Release all your anxiety over the situation into His sovereign hands and have faith, not only in His plan, but also in His timing.

Rely Completely on God’s Strength to Obey

Once God gives you clear direction in His Word or through the Spirit’s still small voice, rely fully on His supernatural strength to help you follow through in obedience. This is the essence of sanctification. Stay grounded in Scripture, praying continuously for empowerment from the Holy Spirit. Obedience demonstrates the sincerity and completeness of your surrender. But trying to obey God in your own inadequate strength, leads straight to compromise or failure. The key to victorious Christian living is understanding you can do nothing of eternal value apart from Christ’s power living and active in you (John 15:5). So yield to that power daily.

For example, ask God to help you respond with grace and forgiveness when a friend hurts you instead of lashing out in anger. Freely admit to yourself and God that you cannot begin to exhibit Christlike character without the Spirit empowering you from within. And then rest in His Spirit and let God work His forgiveness through you. Just be a channel of His Spirit in you to others. This is one of the greatest blessings of surrender.

Learn to Practice Daily Dependence

Make prayer, God’s Word, and practicing Biblical meditation non-negotiable priorities in your day. Set aside quiet time to hear God’s voice as you slowly read Scripture. His living Word will gradually transform you as His truth renews your mind and sanctifies your heart to become more like His (Rom. 12:2), just as He promised it would. Stay intimately connected to Christ through continual, two-way conversations with God about everything going on in your life. Learn to depend on His strength, wisdom, and guidance to get you victoriously through each day in Him. And remember, the blessings of living in constant, complete reliance on the Lord Jesus is the core lifestyle of the surrendered life. And it is yours for the asking.

The Rewards of a Surrendered Life

While surrendering fully to God is challenging, the rewards are life-changing. Here are just a few of the blessings your total surrender to Him can bring:

•  Feel a deeper sense of belonging through an intimate relationship with God.

•  Experience increased spiritual strength by relying on God’s power at work within you.

•  Gain a greater sense of purpose and meaning when you know your life matters to God.

•  Feel more peace and less stress when you trust God with all your worries.

•  Receive clarity about decisions when your will aligns with God’s will.

•  Discover joy and contentment when you focus less on yourself and more on serving God.

The choice is yours. Will you take that first step of humility today and admit your desperate need for Jesus? Will you choose to let go of control and surrender everything— your will, plans, dreams, possessions, relationships, and even your very life— to God? This total surrender will forever change your life and launch you into the greatest adventure imaginable.

The words of Jesus remind us of this precious promise:

“If anyone (including you) desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” – Luke 9:23.

The choice is yours. What will it be?

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