by Rick Warren
So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. Romans 12:1-2 (TEV)
Offering yourself to God is what worship is all about.
This act of personal surrender is called many things: consecration, making Jesus Lord, taking up your cross, dying to self, yielding to the Spirit.
Our total surrender to God is blocked by several things, including –
- Our ignorance of God – not knowing what he’s really like.
- Our sinful nature – the desire to be God ourselves, and
- Our misunderstanding of surrender and the trust that it requires.
Can We Trust God?
Trust is an essential ingredient to surrender. We won’t surrender to God unless we trust Him, but we can’t trust Him until we know Him better. Fear keeps us from surrendering, but love casts out all fear. The more you realize how much God loves you, the easier surrender becomes.
How do I know God loves me? He gives us many evidences:
- God says he loves you (Psalm 145:9);
- You’re never out of his sight (Ps. 139:3);
- He cares about every detail of your life (Matt. 10:30);
- He gave you the capacity to enjoy all kinds of pleasure (1 Tim. 6:17b);
- He has good plans for your life (Jer. 29:11);
- He forgives you (Ps. 86:5);
- He’s patient with you (Ps. 145:8);
- He sacrificed his Son for you (Rom. 5:8).
God loves you infinitely more than you can imagine –
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1, HCSB)
If you want to know how much you matter to God, look at Christ with his arms outstretched on the cross saying, “I love you this much! I’d rather die than live without you.”
God is not a cruel slave driver, or a bully who uses brute force to coerce us into submission. He doesn’t try to break our will, but woos us to himself, so that we might offer it freely to him. God is a Lover and a Liberator, and surrendering brings freedom, not bondage.
When we completely surrender ourselves to Jesus, we discover that he is not a tyrant but a savior; not a boss, but a brother; not a dictator, but a friend.
How serious are you about wanting change in your life? A lot of us want our lives to change…but we’re not willing to do our part.
If you really want things to change in your life—and experience the fullness of the life Jesus died to give you—here are some things that you need to do.
Spend Time with God
First, examine your priorities and see what needs to change. You can’t think spending 45 minutes or an hour in church on Sunday mornings is all you need to live in victory. Since the devil is alive and well every day, then you need a daily walk with God.
The wonderful thing is, there’s no formula. You can just be with Him. Pray, laugh, cry, talk or sit still and not open your mouth. It’s that easy.
Stand Up on the Inside
Next, you need to get serious about changing your life. Every one of us has an outer life and an inner life. Many of us want our outside circumstance to change while we stay depressed on the inside. But before you can get up on the outside, you have to get up on the inside.
You may have a circumstance in your life right now where you feel like you have no choice but to sit down. If that’s the case, tell yourself you’re going to stay enthusiastic, passionate, stirred up, excited, positive, and full of hope and faith on the inside. Make up your mind that you’re never going to quit.
Get Up and Clean Up!
In John 5 there’s a story about a man who I believe represents a lot of people who refuse to change.
During a Jewish feast in Jerusalem, Jesus visited the Bethesda pool where sick people gathered, hoping to get healed. One of the people waiting to get healed was a man who had been crippled for 38 years. When Jesus saw him, He asked if he wanted to be healed.
To me, the man’s answer tells us why he hadn’t been healed in 38 years. He said, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred.” Bottom line, the man had avoided responsibility.
His second problem was that he blamed others. The man said, “While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
How did Jesus respond? Jesus didn’t feel sorry for him. Instead, Jesus said, rather sternly, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” In other words, stop being lazy and get on with your life.
For change to occur in your life, it’s not only important that you stop being a prisoner of your circumstances. You also have to choose to become a prisoner of hope. This means being a person who cannot get away from hope. If you’ll do this, you’ll receive double of anything that’s taken away from you. That’s a promise from God.
Never Give Up!
It was a special day in my life when I realized I didn’t have to give up; I could have hope in the worst circumstances. Regardless of what the situation looks like, I believe that God can give me a breakthrough.
We all want instantaneous breakthrough, but it’s going to take time. And you may go through long periods, even years, feeling like you haven’t made any progress at all, but you have.
Most of the time change occurs daily in little increments that you don’t even notice. But if you’ll just look back after a year or two, you’ll realize that things in your life have changed.
No matter what your circumstance or situation is, you can choose to change. You can choose to hope. You can choose to never give up. You can choose to experience the life Jesus died to give you. Now get up and go!