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On Pride and Surrender

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Thursday, November 7, 2019 @ 1:25 PM
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Dr. Robert Youngblood The Stand MORE

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”
(Proverbs 16:18)

“Pride says:  ‘I’ve got this.’
Surrender says: ‘God’s got me.’”

That was the 700 Club’s tweet which brought a smile to my face.  But surrender doesn’t always bring smiles to our faces, does it?  Pride points to a prejudice against the power of God or a prejudice we have in trusting God.

If we’ve come to salvation through Christ’s wounds which healed and His blood which sealed, then we should know surrender in faith and grace.  We carry on in life knowing, trusting that God is the author and finisher of our faith.  Yet we still struggle.

Just yesterday I was praying for a brother in Christ.  He and his wife had a procedure where they hope to have a good report on Monday.  Together, we know what we would like the report to be. 

However, as I prayed for him, the word surrender came up.  It sounded something like, “Lord, you know we are asking for a good report.  You know this is what we are hoping for, but even so, when we came to you as our Savior, we came in surrender, and with this issue, we give it to you in surrender too.”

But that wasn’t easy to pray.  Still, my heart swells and tries to beat tears out of my eyes as I think about it because surrender isn’t easy.

Pride says name it and claim it.  Isn’t it foolish to think we who have been given authority can then turn and command the Author of our authority?  Pride pushes our agenda on God, and too often, I’ve been proud.

Surrender, though, asks from the heart with the background of “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” 

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Yet, why haven’t we asked the question What delights the heart of the Lord?  One reason would be pride.

Another is we don’t understand this day’s pain or evil as it relates to God’s full plan.

Charles Spurgeon’s comment fits Psalm 37:4 nicely, “When your will is God’s will, you will have your will.”  Part of God’s will is our surrender, our taking up whatever cross He asks us to bear, and often He provides the cross without any explanation. 

Surrender takes the steps in obedience and trust.  Pride wants the explanation.

When God’s got you, this quote from A.W. Tozer makes perfect sense, “The man or woman who is wholly or joyously surrendered to Christ can’t make a wrong choice – any choice will be the right one.”

My pride rebels at that quote though.  I’ve made choices, which I thought were surrendered to God, but they certainly didn’t feel right.  The results didn’t seem to be what I thought had been promised.  So by Tozer’s quote, during those times, I haven’t been wholly or joyously surrendered.

Right now, my wife and I are working to become foster parents.  We’ve had evaluations, TB tests, physicals, trainings, and an upcoming home study.  In her worry, I told her, “Sweetie, we are obeying what God has put on our hearts to do.  Even if we don’t, for some reason, get approved, then there’s a reason in God’s plan.  God always rewards obedience.  We can’t be wrong in being obedient.”

Obeying rarely comes from being prideful.  Obeying is submission to God’s authority and accepting what authority and responsibilities He’s given to us – which is more than most Christians have biblically explored.  Is it as simple as the old hymn of “Trust and Obey?”

Psalm 37 lays out the answer.  Had we only looked there sooner where verse 1 says not to fret or worry and verse 3 says to trust even as the whole Psalm says to do this when surrounded by our enemies and the turmoil of life.  Charles Spurgeon shares in Volume I of his Treasury of David about the delight and desires from verse 4 here:

“Delight thyself also in the Lord.”  Make Jehovah the joy and rejoicing of thy spirit … There is no room for fretting if we remember that God is ours, but there is every incentive to sacred enjoyment of the most elevated and ecstatic kind.  Every name, attribute, word, or deed of Jehovah, should be delightful to us, and in meditating thereon our soul should be as glad as is the epicure who feeds delicately with a profound relish for his dainties.  “And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”  A pleasant duty is here rewarded with another pleasure.  Men who delight in God desire or ask for nothing, but what will please God; hence it is safe to give them carte blanche.  Their will is subdued to God’s will, and now they may have what they will.  Our innermost desires are here meant, not our casual wishes; there a many things which nature might desire which grace would never permit us to ask for; these deep, prayerful asking desires are those to which the promise is made. 

Surrender delights in the Lord, sitting at God’s feet ready to go if commanded, ready to hear and do if told.  Obedience isn’t about feelings, because we can obey despite feelings.  Yet, how many more blessings are there if we can obey joyfully?

Pride may look to use God as a tool or accessory to our life.  Pride delights in self as god or position or power or feeling.  It is us telling or directing or ignoring God without concern for His will or His precepts.  

Surrender yields self in the hands and works of Jesus to follow as He leads because He was lifted up on our behalf.  Surrender says, “I am Yours.  Here I am.  Send me.”

Pride withholds to self to keep its own desires for its own glory, and this is the pride before the destruction – the greatest fall of all – to the pits of an eternal hell.

Michael Youseff said it this way, “When our pride is not surrendered to the Holy Spirit, we become bold and arrogant, thinking we know better than God.”  Pride is ignoring the clearly written Word of God to redefine sin to mean what suits personal desires instead of God’s Holy standards.  Surrender lives close to 2 Corinthians 12:9 while obeying the rest of His Word.

Dwight Moody said, “Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.”  Doesn’t it make sense an infinite God has more knowledge than the finite beings we are?  Even so, pride ignores or reinterprets what is present in the Holy Bible, while surrender seeks to understand the Scripture by rightly dividing His Word (2 Timothy 2:15).

I pray for all of us that God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give us spiritual wisdom and insight that we may all grow in the our knowledge of God, His holiness, His mercy, His justice, and His love so we may bring joy to Him through our lives in obedience (Ephesians 1:17; Ephesians 4:24).

God’s got you, if you’ll let Him.  Yes, I know, life’s not always easy, but God IS always good (Psalm 34:8, Psalm 119:68, Psalm 107:1; Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:28; Psalm 31:19).

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