Open Hands ~ Open Heart

Totally surrendering every idol in my life has been a TALL order.

I would love to tell you that I have accomplished this, but I am sure as soon as I made any such boast, my LORD would be faithful to reveal yet one more thing that I am holding on to, instead of surrendering all.

pexels-photo-1037914.jpegYes, “surrendering all” is a very tall order.

For some of us it is our money or possessions. We in the Western Church have so much to give up! We are like the rich young ruler in the Bible.

Remember the story of the rich young ruler?

Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good.

But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’”

The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”

When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.

When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!

In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”  Luke 18: 18-25 NLT

I believe surrender is the key to destiny’s door.

bloom blossom close up color

So how are we to obtain this key, especially when we can’t know for sure if we have surrendered everything, and indeed, are living in this state of “openhandedness” before the LORD?

It isn’t easy is it? Especially when your idols aren’t tangible things you can see. What if your idols are some of the intangibles? What if they’re not on the outside, but on the inside, wrapping your heart up in strong emotions and feelings?

What if they’re tied to deep wounds and scars?

You don’t know you have made something an IDOL until you have to lay it down!

Growing up in a highly dysfunctional home meant I had a lot of idols I wasn’t even aware of; self-protection, privacy, and family approval, spring immediately to my mind. I hung on so tight to these things that the Lord had to patiently, but persistently, pry my fingers from each one of them!

Yes it was painful, but I had to learn that to obey the Lord’s, “Follow me,” meant He was to be my primary place for love, approval, and esteem. God wanted me to surrender my ideals of safety—for His, “Trust Me in ALL things.” And no, it wasn’t easy, because idols can wrap their tentacles around our hearts without our even being aware they are there.

Then, Jesus comes to us and says, “Follow Me.” and suddenly you are faced with an unexpected and unwanted decision to lay down something you think you cannot live without; a good thing; a treasured thing.

You didn’t know that “following” would mean laying down something so precious to you.

When God said, “Lay this down.” I said…

pexels-photo-169908.jpeg“Wait a minute! You can’t mean you want me to give up this!” 

These things had been my life raft from my earliest years!

And so… destiny, and Jesus—waited.

Yep! Idolatry is painful and total surrender can be very costly.

Following Jesus might mean laying down good things for God’s better purpose.

The Bible has some help for us however.

There are a couple of verses in Hebrews, the twelfth chapter, that helped me a great deal.

Here is where I found “a four-step plan” for surrender!

Let’s take it one bite at a time.

First,

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight,

Idols can get very heavy can’t they? Something we grasp too tightly can become a weight so heavy that the effort to continue carrying it clouds out everything else. Then Jesus comes to us, and gently reminds us, “My yoke is easy. My burden is light. Lay this down. Surrender all of this to Me.” And we must decide,

“Do I want destiny, or my own way?”

Secondly, idols can become so important to us, that they actually lead us into sin and rebellion.

…and the sin which doth so easily beset us,

We can get so obsessed with chasing after something, that we can’t see how it is taking over our lives, and pushing the Lord to the back of the bus! We have abandoned the One who is only content with being, “Our first love.” And so Jesus says, “This thing you are pursuing so intently, in and of itself is not wrong, but it has become more important to you than your relationship with Me.”

Ouch! Idol alert!

God knows exactly what we need to run our race—to achieve and accomplish our purpose in His kingdom.

…and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

So He says to us, “In My time. In My way. Be patient, and focus your beautiful eyes on Me… You’ll get there!”

…looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…     [Hebrews 12: 1-2]

No, idols and destiny cannot coexist in God’s kingdom. Absolute surrender and being sold out to God’s plan, done God’s way, and in God’s timing, is the only key to kingdom-destiny’s door.

Down on my knees again…

Finally, I love this quote by Ravi Zacharias. It challenges me to examine my relationship with Jesus and ask the question, “Have I surrendered all?”

I came to Him because I did not know which way to turn. I remained with Him because there is no other way I wish to turn.

I came to Him longing for something I did not have. I remain with Him because I have something I will not trade.

I came to Him as a stranger. I remain with Him in the most intimate of friendships.

I came to Him unsure about the future. I remain with Him certain about my destiny.