Spiritual Authority is:
- the power of God in our ministry
- the healing of God through our lives
- the Kingdom of God in our experience
- the peace of God over our days
These are found in surrender.
Are deepened in further surrender.
And are ever-present in continued surrender.
Surrender is the process and journey by which God harnesses our entire lives, the good, the bad, and the ugly, for his glory and for our future and delight.
Surrender is our participation in the life of the Spirit in and through our lives.
Only in surrender do we participate in the Kingdom of God on earth.
Only in surrender do we experience the Kingdom of God on this earth.
Most things about our days and experiences are distortions of all that God designed. Yet, in surrender we become increasingly free of the assignments of the enemy over our lives. Our lives become new as we surrender to God.
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:22-23
1. Our first surrender is to turn from our flesh needs and turn to Christ.
We Surrender – We GIVE to God:
A. We GIVE to God – Our Sin
- turn from sin to Christ
- repentance is deep and true
- we rest in the work of Jesus — he has paid the price
As human beings we tend to like our sin. There is often excitement in what is ‘not allowed’. And yet, to live a life after God we must be ready to turn away from sin and the excitement (this is how it feels). In actual fact, we turn from the dead kind of life that is found there.
When Christ says ‘come to me all who are weary and heavy laden’ he is, in part, talking to those who have become tired of lust that never satisfies, of greed that never ends, of gluttony that just always wants more, and etcetera. Sin leaves us weary and dead inside. But we can turn to Christ and leave all of that behind.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
B. We GIVE to God – Our Ego Needs
- we giver our hurts and harms to Jesus
- we acknowledge our insecurities, inviting God to heal us
- we step away from all pretence
- we refuse all exaggerations of self
Each of us have ego needs of comfort, a sense of value and purpose, as well as needs for identity and security in who we are as people and in the Lord. When we try to fulfill our own ego needs we will continue to run on empty. A deficit of self will always pull us down into our own self-centerdness.
But, when we invite the Lord to be our comfort, when we look to God for our value and purpose, and when we allow the Holy Spirit to heal our insecurities, our ego needs will not over-rule our lives. Our sense of self and value and security will be solid in the person of Jesus Christ.
So, instead of trying to exaggerate ourselves, instead of pretending we are big, instead of falsifying self in order to control how others see us, we can be human, be authentic in our strengths and in our weaknesses, we can invite God’s touch deep into our hurts and harms, and we can put our ego needs into the hands of God — out of this our relationship with God and others becomes honest, pure, holy — we let God minister to us in our deepest needs.
“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” Romans 6:16
C. We GIVE to God – Our Best Ideas
- we surrender our plans
- we no longer run after shiny bright new ideas
- we surrender (give over) our understanding for God’s understanding
When we are zealous for God we will often run ahead of God. In our youth and in our immaturity we can be found doing this thing for God, then this other thing for God, and then this other thing for God too! We love our plans and we have not yet developed the strength to say ‘no’ to things that may be good but not what God would have for us.
Maturity in Christ understands that we cannot do everything and that everything is not for us to do. Surrendering our own best ideas has us leaving space to hear the spirit, to wait on God, to resist moving forward unless we know God is with us. If we are to walk in God’s plans we must surrender our own plans to him. Some plans he may give back to us and some plans he won’t. In surrender we allow him to be boss of our lives, our energy, focus and time. We follow him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
D. We GIVE to God – Our Failures & Loss
- we allow God the full ownership of our lives
- we claim all the good, the bad and the ugly for the glory of God
- we renounce shame and condemnation – we find true repentance that frees us
We like to bring to God what is good and right in our life. We like to offer to God our strengths and our successes. But what if God wants to use our failures and our loss just as much as our strengths and successes?
In fact, what if I was to tell you that your failures can be used in mighty ways for God. Would you give him your failures? Would you allow God to work through what has gone so wrong for you?
A surrendered life understands that there is nothing that God cannot use. A surrendered life does not try to pretend or exaggerate the life, or hide parts of one’s life, but comes to rest in God who is big enough for all our hurts, harms, failures, and loss.
“My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” Proverbs 23:26
2. Our second surrender is the journey of obedience, of hearing the spirit and of doing the will of God in our lives.
We Surrender – We LIVE to God:
A. We LIVE to God – Wholehearted Lives
- the work of God seals us in Christ
- Jesus enables us to bring our whole selves
- we become open-hearted, whole-hearted
In our natural selves we do not want to open our hearts completely to God, and yet, when we come to Christ the Holy Spirit compels us to come whole-hearted.
Wholehearted we are ready to be seen by God and to see God clearly. We are then led into an intimacy with God, a friendship with Christ, a companionship with the Spirit.
We follow as God leads us into his best plan for our lives. We follow as God asks of us crazy love-driven responses to our fellow mankind. We surrender our idea of good and bad and we take on life in Christ. We find new innocence as we live to God.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:5
B. We LIVE to God – Balanced Lives
- we are not perfecting ourselves — Jesus is making us new
- we are not trying harder — we rest in Jesus
- we are not fixing lives — we minister in difficulty
- we are not trying to be good Christians — we live to love God
We would like to believe that when God calls us that life will become gloriously easy and simple. But, over time, we come to see that this is not the case. Will life become increasingly clear? Yes. Will life ease out? Yes. Will we find God in the midst of life? Yes.
Yet, we may not find it all as perfect as we believe it will become. In fact, even as we increase in ministry and favour of the Lord we will find a new set of difficulties – even success brings difficulties.
We must stop trying so hard. And we must stop demanding a certain kind of life from the Lord. Rather, we trust Jesus to make us new, we rest in his grace which is the power to live free from sin. We become strengthened to deal with difficulties, and our focus remains on the Lord. We put down our own goodness – we let him be goodness through us.
“For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.” John 12:29
C. We LIVE To God – Disciplined Lives
- we become Kingdom minded
- we wear the armour of God
- we bear the fruit of the Spirit
Ministering alongside the Lord requires a surrendering of our rights. It requires that we live disciplined, where we put aside the cares and concerns of the common person, and where we come into a higher thinking that looks beyond our own needs and wants.
Disciplined in the Lord is where the chaff of our hearts and minds is blown away. Discipline frees us to be people of integrity, character, decent, with honor and regard for the Lord and for others.
We allow, welcome even, the fiery burning of the Lord. Our false motives become seared. Our selfishness dies. Our eagerness is checked. Our zeal is harnessed in God’s wisdom. We no longer run ahead. We no longer lag behind. We become mature and begin to bear much fruit.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22
D. Resting Lives
- Jesus came to save us from sin and from religion
- we surrender our goodness, self-effort, management of sin
- we enter the rest that Christ promises his people
Our service and ministry will never be a thing of joy if it does not come from a life and heart that is resting in God. Jesus Christ came to relieve us from sin and to relieve us from religion. Self goodness will only exhaust us. Striving will leave us without joy. Ministry outside the leading of God will anger us.
Our souls are meant to rest in God. To find our comfort in the Lord is to return to the original image as God created us and this world to work – to find our life in him, and then and only then, to live out his heart on earth. We do this out of rest and peace in the Lord. Out of this we find our joy.
“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.” Galatians 2:20