Growing up, I heard all of our pastors say, “in order to get the most out of your faith, you need to be in full surrender” and that's where they would stop. They wouldn't explain what it meant to be in full surrender. They didn't explain why I needed to be in full surrender. I was just left on my own, to figure the rest out, and if I find it … great, and if not … oh well, at least I tried, right?
This was one topic (out of quite a few) that I decided that I wouldn't ask God to reveal to my what it meant to be in full surrender, and why it was important. I simply figured …. “if God wants me to learn what it means and why it's important, then He'll reveal it to me on His own. He doesn't need me to ask Him.”
[pause for a moment]
I know, I know … what kind of mindset is that?
To be honest … as of lately, I have been having a hard time coping with a “trial” my family and I have been going through. This “trial” has really put a damper on my faith … like a lot, thankfully we serve a God of restoration and mercy, so my faith is being restored!! [more on this in another post]
[okay back to the post]
About three weeks ago (I think my time frame is right), I was praying before I started my morning Bible reading. During that prayer, I prayed that the Lord would show me what it means to be in full surrender to Him, and why it was important … I also prayed for my time to be encouraging + edifying. I was quite disappointed when none of the verses I read that morning, didn't mention being in surrender to Him. Ready to give up, I felt as if I needed to read chapter 2 in“Sacred Singleness” by Leslie Ludy … I couldn't understand why I felt that way, but I felt it … and I read the chapter.
I have had the book “Sacred Singleness” for about three years now, and I haven't even finished it once. It isn't a book that I see on my shelf and think to myself “I really need to finish that book”. Instead, it's one that I see on the shelf and think “oh yeah … I haven't finished that have I? Maybe I should send it to a friend … I'll never get around to reading it!”
[back to the post]
What I read in chapter 2 was aah-maay-zing! Below is a snippet from chapter 2:
¹“When I chose to live in purity 'all the days of my life,' I wasn't making a bargain with God: 'I'll stay pure, and in return I want You to write me a beautiful love story.' Rather, I chose a life of purity because I wanted to love and honor the Prince of my heart, Jesus Christ–even if He never blessed me an earthly love story. When I walked through this process of surrender, God exposed and uprooted every seed of selfishness within my heart. Prior to this season of my life, I had always approached Christ wondering what I could get out of my relationship with Him. Now, He was asking me to lay everything down upon the altar, not expecting anything in return.”
After I read this, I realized that God did want me to learn what full surrender was! After leading me to this, He made it clear to me that I wasn't in full surrender to Him.
As I was about to close the book … satisfied that He had answered my prayer, I noticed that Leslie Ludy used Jim and Elisabeth Elliot's love story as an example of being in full surrender … so I read on.
I was astonished to learn that Jim and Elisabeth, even though they were interested in one another, surrendered everything … their dreams, desires, plans, to the Lord. They were willing to except whatever the Lord had in store for them. If that meant that they would remain single, then great … they wouldn't have a “hinderance” or an “earthly distraction” keeping them from the Lord's work. Or if that meant that they would end up getting married, then great … they would be able to serve the Lord side by side.
It amazed me (and still does to this day) that they were willing/able to lay their love for the other on the altar of the Lord … ready to except whatever was in store for them … even though they were in love with each other.
[oh by the way … I ended up finishing chapters 2 & 3 haha]
Still in amazement, I began asking myself questions:
*have I “surrendered” something to Christ, only expecting something in return?
= the answer is yes … my purity. I have decided to live a life of purity, which is great. But I have expected the same “reward” that Leslie Ludy had expected … an earthly love story written and orchestrated by God.
*am I willing to be in full surrender to God, and not expect anything in return?
=the answer is yes … I want to get the most out of my faith! And if I'm not in full surrender, then I will be doing a disservice to my Lord.
*if I'm in full surrender and not expecting anything in return, will I be okay if God chooses for me to be single until He takes me Home?
=this answer was the hardest for me to answer … because being a wife to a Godly man has always been my desire. So I began really contemplating whether or not I would be okay/content or if I would be worried/discontent. However, I finally came up with the answer … if God sees fit to give me a Godly husband, then great – I will be able to serve Him by my man's side! If He sees fit for me to remain single, that's great too – I will be able to serve Him and worry about the things of the Lord, and not the things of the world (1 Corinthians 7:34).
Were those questions easy to answer? Yes and no
Do I wish I would have been told all of this when I was younger? Kind of … there's a reason God revealed it to me now and not then!
I am soo glad I heeded the Holy Spirit's nudge in reading “Sacred Singleness” … it was just what I had needed!
Oh and by the way … I am still reading the book – I look forward to reading it!
In HIS grace, Alisha