Summary: Have you realized that the Christian life is about surrender and not conformity? Many who come to Jesus think that the first thing they need to do is conform to the status quo of the group - dress like others, talk like the others, make sure their prayers
1Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied. 2Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
3Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” (Genesis 12:1-5)
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
Have you realized that the Christian life is about surrender and not conformity? Many who come to Jesus think that the first thing they need to do is conform to the status quo of the group - dress like others, talk like the others, make sure their prayers sound “spiritual.” In trying to fit in they miss God’s purpose, and it’s not conformity, its surrender.
A rural village was located in an area inhabited by parrots. One day a falcon landed on a windowsill. The owner of the house caught it. The villagers had never seen such a bird. They decided to trim back its feathers. They cut its talons. The beak was the next to go; it was filed down so that the falcon looked like a parrot.(1) We should look alike in our efforts to be like Jesus, but we should allow for unique giftings and talents to develop in accordance with God’s plan not our preferences.
Each person gives his or her life over to something. You surrender to a schedule, pleasure, other people’s expectations, to your past failures - each of us surrenders to something. Do you realize that God wants all of your life? Not a fraction, but a whole life. E. Stanley Jones said, “If you don’t surrender to Christ, you’ll surrender to chaos.”(2)
You were created by God to give all your affections and allegiance to Him. If you hold anything back, you end up sending it off to lesser unions. This sending off of your affections and allegiance is called surrender. If God doesn’t get all of you, you will surrender partially or completely to something or someone else.
Billy Graham was once asked the secret to victorious Christian living. He said there is no magic formula for such a life; then he went on to offer what he thought was the one word that described it - “surrender.” (3) So, what does a surrendered life look like? I’m glad you asked. Let me give you a verse that best describes the only person who ever completely surrendered his life. His name was Jesus. “I have finished the work which thou hast given me to do.”(John 14:4 KJV)
Look with me at a snapshot of another life that was surrendered to God. In our photo we see beautiful mountains in the background and a father and son walking hand-in-hand. On Dad’s face is a look of determination to please God. Nearby is the sound of a ram caught in a bush. We learn several things from this scenario.
Surrendering your life to God starts with trust. (Vs. 1-2)
It’s the “bottom of the ninth” for Abraham. The bases are loaded and his team is a run down. Abraham delivers when the game is on the line. You are about to see what a “bottom of the ninth” experience looks like with God. Abraham has faced many tests up this point, but they are nothing more than batting practice compared to what he is about to experience. It is this last test that establishes him as the Father of Faith. Abraham’s life teaches us what it means to surrender our lives completely to God. Only when you completely surrender your life to God will you ever experience the Heart of Worship.
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. (This is the true worship you should offer). (Romans 12:1-2)
Did you notice the word offer in this verse? That’s what true worship is about, offering yourself to God. I think it is interesting that the first place in the Bible that the words love (vs. 2) and worship (vs. 5) come on the scene is in our story today. When you love, you surrender.