“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. —Isaiah 55:8A couple of hours ago I published a blog post on my other blog titled, “Between Palm Sunday and Good Friday,” since this upcoming week is Passion Week (it’s available at this link). However, I still had the urge to “blog on” after I published it, so here I am for “Round Two”; however, the subject won’t be on Passion Week or Easter.
I read a short devotion this morning in book titled, “Experience the Power of God’s Names” (2017), by Dr. Tony Evans, pastor, speaker, author, widely syndicated radio and television broadcaster, and founder of “The Urban Alternative.” He stated the following on page 97:
It’s human nature to respond to a situation by trying to alter the circumstances or change other people. We quite naturally put ourselves at the center of the problem, and we base our responses on feelings and emotions. but attempting to operate from our own limited perspective and understanding doesn’t usually work out well.
When we believe something is unfair, we should refrain from jumping to conclusions and taking matters into our own hands. Instead, we need to remember the God is always in control. He is Jehovah Elohim Tsaba, the Lord God of hosts, and He will always defend us and allow us to rest in His care.
Through our relationship with the Lord, His strength is made available to us. His forgiveness, grace, and mercy help right our wrongs. And when we choose to honor Him, He rewards us with His peace and His presence.
We don’t have to come up with our own solutions. We are never left alone to fight our own battles. And we’re never expected to retaliate when things aren’t going our way. Even if we have been mistreated or overlooked, we need to resist the temptation to strike back or get even. We should keep the love of God in our hearts and look to Him to right any wrongs that have occurred in our lives and bring repentance to those who have wronged us. (Quote source: “Experience the Power of God’s Names,” page 97.)
Most likely we all have some unanswered questions regarding our circumstances that we’d like for someone to answer. I know I do. As Dr. Evans stated above, God is always in control, and God’s control extends everywhere to everyone and in all situations, and our understanding is vastly limited compared to his. Isaiah 55:8-11 states:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
God’s bigger picture goes way beyond our own set of perplexing circumstances, but that doesn’t mean He’s not intimately involved is what is going on in every detail of our lives and in this world. But we have to yield to God–we must yield our control to him. He didn’t make us robots; he gave us a will. We can deny him, live life on our own terms, and/or relegate him to Sunday mornings, Bible studies, etc., while keeping the rest of the week for what we want to do. That’s not yielding.
This world is a battleground. Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:17-19), the world God created has been in conflict with Him (Romans 8:20-22). Satan is called the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and due to Adam’s sin, we are born on his team (Romans 5:12). John Bunyan pictured this conflict in his allegory “The Holy War.” Prince Emmanuel besieges the city of Mansoul to wrest it from the power of Diabolus. Unfortunately, the citizens of Mansoul are blindly committed to Diabolus and fight against Emmanuel, to their own detriment.
When we reach the age when we can make moral choices, we must choose whether to follow our own sinful inclinations or to seek God (see Joshua 24:15). God promises that when we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). When we find Him, we have a choice to make: do we continue following our own inclinations, or do we surrender to His will?
“Surrender” is a battle term. It implies giving up all rights to the conqueror. When an opposing army surrenders, they lay down their arms, and the winners take control from then on. Surrendering to God works the same way. God has a plan for our lives, and surrendering to Him means we set aside our own plans and eagerly seek His. The good news is that God’s plan for us is always in our best interest (Jeremiah 29:11), unlike our own plans that often lead to destruction (Proverbs 14:12). Our Lord is a wise and beneficent victor; He conquers us to bless us.
There are different levels of surrender, all of which affect our relationship with God. Initial surrender to the drawing of the Holy Spirit leads to salvation (John 6:44; Acts 2:21). When we let go of our own attempts to earn God’s favor and rely upon the finished work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, we become a child of God (John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 5:21). But there are times of greater surrender during a Christian’s life that bring deeper intimacy with God and greater power in service. The more areas of our lives we surrender to Him, the more room there is for the filling of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we exhibit traits of His character (Galatians 5:22). The more we surrender to God, the more our old self-worshiping nature is replaced with one that resembles Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Romans 6:13 says that God demands that we surrender the totality of our selves; He wants the whole, not a part: “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” Jesus said that His followers must deny themselves (Mark 8:34)—another call to surrender.
The goal of the Christian life can be summed up by Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Such a life of surrender is pleasing to God, results in the greatest human fulfillment, and will reap ultimate rewards in heaven (Luke 6:22-23). (Quote source here.)
If you get as frustrated as I sometimes do with my own set of circumstances, why not make this a “white flag“ day and surrender to Jesus and let him have complete control again, or for the first time….
You’ll be amazed . . .
What He . . .
Can do . . . .
YouTube Video: “Gracefully Broken” by Matt Redman ft. Tasha Cobbs Leonard: