Thursday, July 19, 2007

Surrender

I'm auditing a week-long counseling class at Reformed Theological Seminary this week. It's called "Sex and Sexuality," and is being taught by a counselor from Colorado named Sharon Hersh. It's excellent.

Later I will post some of my reactions to the class. But the main takeaway so far has been one word: surrender. On Monday we listened to an audiotaped testimony of a man who struggles with same-sex attraction. He's a Christian. By God's grace his life changed when he came to a point of surrendering his same-sex attraction to Jesus. In the testimony he said this: "I surrendered my homosexuality to Jesus because Jesus asked me to."

It was a moving testimony and the highlight of the week for me. I've been asking myself, "What have I surrendered to Jesus just because He asked me to? Something that cost me as much to give up as that man's same-sex attraction meant to him?"

The Christian life is about many things, but one of the main things is surrender. It's what Jesus meant when He called us to deny ourselves, carry our cross daily, and follow Him. It's what He meant when He said we have to die in order to live.

I think we in the Christian community treat this subject very superficially. When we talk of surrender it's usually in terms of surrendering our "hearts" to Jesus (synonymous with conversion), or surrendering our wills to Jesus (synonymous with consecration). But I wonder if Jesus is calling us to a much more specific, personal, practical - and painful - life of surrender. Examples that come to mind are:
  • Surrendering our wish for a different marriage partner
  • Surrendering our desire to be healthy
  • Surrendering our love of people's praise
  • Surrendering our addiction to gossip about people
  • Surrendering our love of TV watching
  • Surrendering our need for a new _________ (fill in the blank)
  • Surrendering our secret world of sexual fantasy
Surrendering one of these types of things feels like death. It's scary because what if God doesn't fix my marriage and I'm stuck for the rest of my life? What if I end up not being well-known or respected? So surrendering calls us to die. But isn't that how Jesus experienced surrender?

What have you surrendered to Jesus just because He asked you to?

4 comments:

Bill Reichart said...

Wow, great post Mike! I will be chewing on this for a while.

James said...

yeah, great post. Good thought.

Matthaeus Flexibilis said...

I guess no one wants to confess their sins publicly, Mike. :-) Well, I'll have a go.

I have for some months made a conscious effort to curb my eating. Since Anna makes very healthy meals for our family, I'm not talking about the quality of the food (it wasn't an excess of pizza, ice cream, and Coke) but about quantity. I came to the conviction that I was simply eating too much and was guilty of gluttony, one of the obvious outward sins (cf. Deut 21:18-21; Prov 23:1-3; 23:20-21; 28:7; Phil 3:19; etc.) from which we Americans excuse ourselves with a rather shocking nonchalance.

This has not been easy for me, as I greatly enjoy good food and (Dei gratia) have the means partake of it regularly. Yet, I believe God desires that I enjoy this good gift more moderately than I have done in the past.

Mike said...

Thanks MF! It occurred to me later that I should have included gluttony on my list of things many of us shelter at the same time we talk about surrender. God bless you in the battle.