One of the most challenging aspects of receiving blessings from God is to remember that the blessing is not really ours. Imagine a child receiving a gift from his parents, and then, when asked to share it with his sister, he protests, “No, mine!” On the other hand, when we, as children of God, recognize that the gifts he gives us are intended to bless others, then we can live freely in the abundant life that God has for us.
The practice of surrender is one of the most difficult for the believer. It challenges our desire for comfort and it challenges our faith, among other things.
What kind of prayers excite God? Luke told us a story about a Roman centurion, a non-Jew, whose servant was sick and close to death (Luke 7:1-10). Jesus’ ministry had been to Jewish people. This Roman sent people to ask Jesus to heal his friend and highly valued aid. He sent word to Jesus that a visit was not necessary. He believed if Jesus would only speak a word, his servant would be healed.
Have you ever had to tackle a daunting task? Imagine having to take on huge project with the highest stakes imaginable. Imagine that the fate of the world is in play. It’s on you now. Everything in existence is riding on your decision. Can you feel the heat? Can you grasp the pressure of the moment?
When we experience temptation, Jesus not only prays and intercedes for us; he also knows what it feels like to be tempted. He empathizes with us, and he even demonstrated during his time on earth what it looks like to walk through temptation without falling subject to sin and the enemy.
Have you ever needed an Advocate, someone who speaks on your behalf for your benefit? Maybe a friend, family member, or coworker has spoken for you in your defense. Maybe someone opened a door of opportunity for you by speaking up for you? Or maybe you have felt helpless, discredited, or alone, wishing someone would speak for you and plead your case. As Jesus prayed in John 17, he assumed his rightful role as our Advocate. He is in your corner!
Today we come to the end of our journey through The Lord’s Prayer. This prayer that starts with worship of the name of God, ends with understanding the vastness of his power and majesty and beauty. To recognize the greatness of God and his kingdom opens up our prayers and gives us the boldness to make some wild declarations. The kingdom, power, and glory belong to him, yet Jesus has given us access to that power.
Pain is one of those why moments for us when it comes to our relationship and conversations with God. Why does God allow pain in our lives? What’s the point?
We live in a world that fears vulnerability, that lives behind the filter, and that believes that power only comes from a perception of perfection. In our faith journey, however, we learn that our point of weakness is often where we find our greatest strength.
David in Psalm 139 identifies this process of surrender as a continual choice of allowing God to search our hearts, test our thoughts, see if there are ways in us that are not in-line with who God is and to lead us in the way everlasting.
Surrender is not a word we like to hear. And it’s no wonder why! Surrender is most often associated with losing to an enemy, and who wants that? But Christians are called to live a life of surrender. God is not our enemy, and he is not opposing us. He’s our loving heavenly Father who has great plans for our lives. He cares more for us than we probably can ever understand. Yet in order for him to work in our life the way he wants to, we have to become people of surrender.
Noise comes at us every day in relentless succession, numbing us with extreme emotions, dotted with political arguments, news about deeply broken parts of culture, followed by the latest viral video sensation of the world’s cutest tiny baby sloth eating lettuce to a bouncy ukulele soundtrack. How do you hear God in all of this?