I’ve been reading “When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box” by John Ortberg and I really liked this:
Surrender is not passivity or abdication. It is saying yes to God and life each day. It is accepting the gifts he has given me — my body, my mind, my biorhythms, my energy. It is letting go of my envy or desire for what he has given someone else. It is letting go of outcomes that in reality I cannot accept anyway. I surrender my ambitions, my dreams, my money, my relationships, my marital status, my time, and my desires to God.
Surrender means I accept reality…
Surrender means giving up ultimate mastery of my life…
“Only if one experiences that God is good is it possible to surrender to him unconditionally one’s whole heart, soul, and being.”
I’ve been thinking lately how the gospel enables us to fully acknowledge reality. Instead of trying to convince myself that I’m a good person by turning a blind eye to all the bad things I’ve done, I can face them head-on and accept that I’m not a good person on my own. I can acknowledge that I’m not everything I want to be — and rest there. I can be content in who I am and not strive to be someone I’m not. I can trust that God has ordained this moment, this day, this life for me — that I didn’t somehow miss the memo that He had planned for me to be a missionary in Zimbabwe instead of a marketing copywriter in Denver. When we truly believe that everything we have and are is from God, we can stop questioning, worrying and comparing.
Tim Keller has an amazing (free!) sermon (and now, a short book based on it) called Blessed Self-Forgetfulness. I found a CD of old sermons that I’ve been listening to in the car during my commute and that sermon was on it. Keller talks about how everyday, as humans with fragile egos, we’re in the courtroom. All of our actions are either stamping evidence for the prosecutor or the defense. The case being decided is: Am I a good person? Am I valuable? Am I important? Am I loved?
Because Christ went to trial for me, and was unjustly accused and put to death in my place, I can leave the courtroom. Court is adjourned. The verdict is in. And that verdict is:
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (1 Corinthians 5:21).
What does that mean? It means God finds no fault with me. That I am perfect, holy and eternally valuable in His eyes. It means the Father loves me with the same love He has for Jesus Himself.
Keller uses the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 4 to make the point, it doesn’t matter what other people think about me. It doesn’t even matter what I think about me. Only God’s opinion matters. And He says I’m righteous in Christ.
That is why I can accept the full reality of my life. Because in Christ, the reality is I am holy and I am loved.