Tag Archives: surrender

Stop Asking for God’s Grace

How do I react when I make a mistake, when I don’t do what I want to do and I do what I don’t want to do (Rom. 7:19-20), when I sin?

Hopefully, the immediate or near immediate reaction is remorse and repentance. Often that is the case. Often another human emotional response is guilt. Guilt can be good to an extent, if it leads to repentance and change.

If I’ve repented and changed, guilt no longer has a place. But what if it won’t let go? It could mean that there’s more the Holy Spirit is trying to show me. Or I could just be holding into the guilt because of shame or habit or some other reason. That’s no good.

It can be hard to let go of guilt, especially if my sin affects or harms others. If I lash out in anger at someone, I can ask God to forgive me, and He does. But I also have to ask that person to forgive me and then deal with the consequences of my actions. If it’s been a habitual problem, it can be even more difficult to lay down the guilt.

Recently, I was discussing with a local priest this issue of guilt robbing us of grace. How does a repeat offender (aka all humans), keep coming back and asking for more grace? His answer floored me.

He basically reminded me that, as a human, I’m never worthy of the grace and mercy that I need. I have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). But he also reminded me of the good news – I can never exhaust God’s grace and mercy. His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:23).

He gave, what was for me, life-changing advice: “Stop asking for God’s grace, and start cooperating with it.”

Stop asking for grace, and start cooperating with it. That one sentence changed my entire perspective. Why would I ask for something that’s already been given? The grace of God is a gift that was already given two millennia ago. It is free. It is for you and for me.

So what does it mean to cooperate with grace? I don’t know that I have a complete answer.

It seems that this cooperation begins with repentance. Then laying down guilt at the foot of the Cross and walking in a new freedom. It means laying that guilt down every time we’re tempted to pick it up again. It means finding ways to change and grow stronger in spirit to better resist the next temptation which tries to come between us and God. It means allowing the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and root out anything that exalts itself against Him.

That is what it means to me, but I’m more interested in what you think. How do you cooperate with God’s grace?

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ABC’s of Surrender – Goals

G is for goals. Lord, today I surrender my goals to You. I have many aspirations and dreams for my future, but none compare to the hope of glory. Help me to keep my eyes on the true prize and not be swayed by the ambitions of the world. Make Your goals for me become the desire of my heart. I cannot fathom what is in store for those who put their hope in You. May I be counted among those who join Christ in His prayer of ultimate surrender: not my will, but Thy will be done.


I can’t do it

I can’t be holy. I can spend my whole life trying to be perfect by my standards, by the world’s standards, even by God’s standards. I will fail. Apart from Christ, I have no hope of salvation, no hope of glory, no hope of true success.

So to be holy, to follow the way of Christ, I have to turn my heart from what I can do. I must remove my focus from myself and my inability. I must look instead to Christ on the cross, Christ risen, Christ in me. Then, I have the only hope that matters, the only hope that is true.

This year my mantra has been the song, “Lord, I Need You” by Matt Maher. It perfectly captures my heart at at this moment in time. And it’s popularity suggests that it echoes the hearts of many Christians.

I especially like the second verse and the bridge:

V2: Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
 
Bridge: Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

The theme of grace, freedom and holiness are tied into one thought. No matter where I go, what I do, how many times I fall, Jesus is my hope and stay.

I tend to be such a control freak that I don’t always realize that I’m doing something in my own strength instead of relying on Him. Until I hit the wall or fall on my face. But the more I make a habit of falling on Him, running to Him, looking to Him, the more I realize I need Him in every way, in every minute of every day.

Needing Christ doesn’t make us weak, for He is our strength. His grace is always bigger than our sin. His power is always greater than our need. His love is always enough.

I can’t be holy, but I can surrender to Him. It’s a daily choice, sometimes hourly or even by the minute – but I can choose to cooperate with His unending grace. I can choose to let Christ be Holiness in me.

If you don’t know it, check out the song:

 


ABC’s of Surrender

F is for failures. Lord, today I surrender my failures to You. Sometimes when I fall, I'm tempted to hold onto my guilt and punish myself for not measuring up. But I know that You have purchased my redemption with your own precious blood. Therefore, I will not let the enemy tempt me to despair even in my weakness. For it is in my weakness that You show yourself strong. So I surrender those failures and falls to You. By Your Holy Spirit help me to learn from my mistakes and not to repeat them. When I fall, help me to hear Your call to rise again and follow You.


ABCs of Surrender – Emotions

E is for emotions. Lord, today I surrender my emotions to You. You created us to be emotional beings, but not to be controlled by those emotions. You are my Rock, and the core of being finds strength and hope in You alone. While I may feel strongly and have deep emotional responses to the events and people around me, I will not be led by the leash of my emotions. Instead, I will remain grounded in Your truth. I will look to You, the Author and Finisher of my faith and a firm foundation. I will love when I don't feel like it, hope when things look bleak and pray with confidence knowing that I will not be moved as long as I cling to You.


ABC’s of Surrender: Desires

D is for desires. Lord, today I surrender my desires to you. I'm a human, there are many desires of my heart. Some are godly, some are not, some are neutral. I surrender all of them to You. I trust You. When things go my way. When they don't. I will trust in You. I let go of my desires and cling to Your will. Help me make my desires fall in line with Your desires for me.


ABC’s of Surrender: Cares

C is for cares. Lord, today I surrender my cares to you. I cast my cares upon You, because You care for me. I lay down my pride that tells me that I'm right. I lay down my pride that gets wounded. I cast these things at the foot of the cross. I cling to you, steadfast in the faith knowing that the same (and much greater) sufferings are experienced by my brothers and sisters around the world. Any care that exalts itself against Your wisdom, I cast out.


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