I was pondering the idea of surrender verses suppression, yes again. I can’t shake this one so I know God has a strong message for me and hopefully you. When we live in fear, out of obligation we tend to suppress stuff instead of surrendering it. Grace says we get to bring it to God. He has the answers. Are we willing to lay it out on the table? Here is a little comparison of what surrender looks like compared to suppression. Which column do you find yourself? The good news (Gospel) is Grace so if you are in the second column you are only one belief from the first. Check it out.
|I can’t do it on my own||I have to do it on my own|
|God’s power makes it possible||My power is all I have|
|From God’s strength||In my weakness|
|Increases faith, trust and belief||Increases fear and failure|
|Glorifies God||Reduces God to rules|
|From Grace||From works|
|Out of Joy||Out of obligation|
|Changes atmospheres||Boasts in morality|
|Freedom to be like Jesus||Bondage to moral failure|
I once heard a teaching about the presence of God and sin. This guy said that in God’s presence there is no sin or we don’t have a desire to sin. There are some truths in that statement. He then gave an example. He said that when he was at his father’s dinner table, as a kid, he wouldn’t pull out a Playboy magazine and plop it on the table. No way would he do something like that with his dad around. This was his example of how the presence of God gets rid of sin in our lives. That kind of teaching shows a lack of understanding of Grace. What he describes is actually opposite of what God wants.
Paul said that where sin abounds Grace superabounds. We have taken that verse and flipped it from what God intended. The verse is not about sin but about Grace. Want to know how I know? God forgot our sins (Heb 8, 10, Jer 31). We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 3, 4, 14, 2 Cor 5, 1 Cor 1, Eph 4). If we have sin in our lives, “I just can’t get rid of XXX”, God wants to pour out Grace in that area. Jesus came to set us free, period, no compromise. We have the Spirit of Christ in us. We have been set free from the flesh (Rom 8:9). We have been set free from the lustful desires of the flesh (Gal 5:24)
Galatians 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. (AMP)
Galatians 5:23-24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.(MSG)
Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified ·their own sinful selves [the sinful nature; the flesh]. They have given up ·their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do [its passions and desires]. (EXP)
The problem with the example above is it assumes that God’s goodness will displace your badness. We don’t have badness. We have wrong thinking. We have some old wounds that need healing. We have issues that need resolution. We have bondages that we have been freed from but don’t know it. We are listening to the enemy instead of our Papa. He loves us so much He wants to see us set free!
God actually wants you to put the Playboy magazine on the dinner table. He wants you to stop suppressing some desire, some hangup, some addiction, some hurt, some idol, whatever IT is and deal with it with HIM. In the Playboy case He actually gave you the desire for the opposite sex, surprised? But there is something in you, something that SELF wants to hang on to, something in your thinking or from the enemy that has taken a God-given desire and warped it. Maybe you are afraid of being rejected, have issues with control, feel neglected by your spouse, are lonely, etc. In all those areas God has an answer. The Playboy is not your answer. God’s Grace will bring healing. The warped substitution is no longer needed. It wasn’t possible however until you were ready to surrender to Him. He might bring healing to you in a way that “hurts” a little. You might have to revisit some old hurts and need His supernatural forgiveness for yourself or others. You might actually have to elevate others above yourself, like your spouse. Get the idea? If you weren’t willing to surrender for His healing, you aren’t available to be healed.
The alternative is suppression. You just pretend that IT isn’t an issue. You hide your hangups, hurts, skeletons in the closet. No healing comes and you are still struggling with SELF.
God actually wants to give us all He has. That is what it means to be an heir. To receive, we must be willing to give Him all we have. Surrender is not “obedience of self” but “death to the right of self.” God is still working for His good in our lives. Our struggle with self however will continue until we embrace our death fully.
Go ahead and just put it on the dinner table. His presence is healing in surrender.