How to Yield Your Rights to God Without Neglecting Key Responsibilities - 2 Cor. 10:4,5
Some people make the mistake of thinking that when they yield their rights to God they absolve themselves from all personal responsibilities. When we yield our rights to the Lord we must be careful to not absolve ourselves from our essential responsibilities. For example, one student said, "I gave God my grades so therefore I do not have to study as hard as I used to." One parent said, "I surrendered my rights to discipline my children so I’ve stopped chastening them when they do something that irritates me." The Lord gives us key responsibilities, but He wants us to let Him direct, empower and work through us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. The following contain a few guidelines in allowing the Spirit of God to help us yield everything to God without becoming fatalistic.
1. Follow the principle of allowing every thought to be taken captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor. 10:4,5 Put away the faulty assumptions you might have about controlling your time, money and decisions. Unless people are willing to divest themselves of their rights to driving their life’s vehicle to the Lord, they will force Jesus to remain in the backseat as merely an advice giver. He wants to be the driver of your spiritual automobile. Learn to follow the Spirit’s leading in every decision you make. Ask the Lord, "May the mind of Christ my Savior live in me from day to day, by His love and power controlling all I do and say." Paul knew that unless we are obedient to Christ we will follow the leading of the world, the flesh or the devil. There is no middle ground obedience.
2. Yield the chief priorities of life to the Lord. Jesus said, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you." (matt 6:33) There are many uncertainties in our future that will include financial, health and relationships. God knows best how to meet our needs. Pursue His kingdom’s advancement in quantity and quality along with His will. This often goes against natural lines of human reasoning. We must focus on doing HIs will more than our own.
3. Follow the example of Jesus Christ who said, "Not my will but your will be done." (Mark 14:36) Jesus easily could have insisted on showing the Jews and the Roman authorities His power, but He chose to submit to the Father’s will. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus as the author and perfecter of our faith. Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free? No there’s a cross for everyone and there’s a cross for thee. (Luke 9:23,24)
Illustration:Criticism is always difficult to accept, but if we receive it with humility and a desire to improve our character it can be very helpful. Only a fool does not profit when he is rebuked for his mistakes.
Several years ago I read a helpful article on this subject. It stated that when we are criticized we ought to ask ourselves whether the criticism contains any truth. If it does, we should learn form it, even when it is not given with the right motivation and in the right spirit. The article then offered these four suggestions: (1) Commit the matter instantly to God, asking Him to remove all resentment or countercriticism on your part and teach you the needed lessons. (2) Remember that we are all great sinners and that the one who has criticized us does not begin to know the worst about us. (3) If you have made a mistake or committed a sin, humbly and frankly confess it to God and to anyone you may have injured. (4) Be willing to learn afresh that you are not infallible and that you need God’s grace and wisdom every moment of the day to keep on the straight path.
When we are criticized, let’s accept what is true and act upon it, thereby becoming a stronger person. He who profits from rebuke is wise. H.G.B.
4. Thank God that He is the only one who will ultimately bring satisfaction, forgiveness and meaning to your life. (Psa 73:25,26) David wrote, "Whom have I in heaven but you and besides you I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength and my portion forever." Learn to think that people are always going to disappoint in the end. ONly the Lord provides all that we need. He is the total source that provides all sufficient grace for whatever need, problem or challenge.
5. Concentrate on exhibiting a meek and quiet spirit that is precious in the sight of God. (I Pet. 3:3,4) Many people have a hard time not focusing on appearances either for themselves or for others. Know that while man looks on the outward appearance, God looks on the heart. Concentrate on beautifying your inner character more than what impresses others.
6. Set your affections on things above not on things on the earth. (Col. 3:1,2) Too many people spend more time reading the newspaper or watching the news than they do reading the word or spending time along with God in prayer. Where your treasure is there will your heart be also. Perhaps you have a hard time yielding your rights to God because you have spent too much time and energy focusing your attention in the wrong place.
7. Remember Job who had everything taken away from him and yet he said, "The Lord gives and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job. 1:21) When we surrender everything to the Lord we can be assured that He will work all things together for good as long as we love God and fit into His plans. (Rom. 8:28)
8. Surrender all your relationships to the Lord. Know that people do not reject you but they often reject the one who you are representing. Jesus said, "He that receives you receives me but he who rejects you rejects the one who sent me." (Matt 10:40) This often helps me in my teaching and preaching because then I know it is not me people are rejecting but it is God’s will for their life that they are resisting. James says, What is the source of conflicts and quarrels among you, is it not your own desires. (James 4:1-4)
9. Yield your choices of entertainment to the Lord. The Lord is able to supply you with suitable substitutes to provide you with enough fun to keep you buoyant and happy. Jesus said, "These things are written so that you may have my joy and that you might be filled." (John 15:11-14) This is a difficult one for most Americans who have been conditioned to think they deserve to be entertained, but living in Africa for nearly 20 years I learned that the Lord replaces western entertainment with more satisfying means.
10. Give the Lord your health as you ask others to pray for your healing and well being. ONe of the reasons why the Lord allows us to go through sickness is so we can ask brothers and sisters to pray for our healing. James 5:16. Know that God’s grace is sufficient for the diseases or affliction where relief is not provided. Paul knew that God allowed him to suffer with the thorn in the flesh for a special reason. Do not demand to always understand a reason for your adversity.
11. Surrender your reputation to the Lord. Too many of us are afraid of what other people will think of us. Know that He leads you in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. (Psa. 23:3) God is carefully guarding His reputation through us as He wants His image, identity and kingdom to be evidenced in us and through us. Ask the Lord to let you be meek, humble and giving credit to the Lord for everything instead of being anxious to impress others.
12. Give up the control of your schedule to the Lord. Jesus said, "Whoever wants to be great let him be a servant to all." (Matt 23:11) When we get on God’s time table for life we will see He is never late. The wheels of God’s will may not turn quickly but they always move surely. Thank God that there is a time for every event under heaven. His ways are perfect and all of His ways bring peace, blessings and eternal success.
Give up any of your problems, disappointments, fear or anger to the Lord knowing that He is able to deliver you. Know that God will help you make the distinction between your rights and responsibilites as you trust in Him with all your heart and do not rely on your own insights. But in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. (Prov. 3:5,6) Do not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you can approve what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable and perfect.
REconfigure some of your mis-beliefs and mistaken notions about rights and responsibilites. . Maybe you have to correct some of your distorted perceptions about what is ideal for you. Even Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. (Heb. 5:8) Jesus said, As the Father has sent me so send I you." (John 20:21) Know that we are in the process of learning as Paul wrote, "I’m sorrowful yet always rejoicing, poor yet making many rich as having nothing and yet possesssing all things." (2 Cor. 6;3-13)