I have called you friends . . .John 15:15
Truth jumps out in the very first paragraph of the Oswald Chambers devotional today:
We will never know the joy of self-sacrifice until we surrender in every detail of our lives. Yet self-surrender is the most difficult thing for us to do. We make it conditional by saying, “I’ll surrender if . . . !” Or we approach it by saying, “I suppose I have to devote my life to God.” We will never find the joy of self-sacrifice in either of these ways.
Surrender is undoubtedly the most difficult thing for me to do in my walk with Christ. It is because I want to control my life. I want my plan to work. I think I have a great idea for my life...and so many times that plan goes right on its head. I get very frustrated by this and think, "Why, God?" I keep striving for my own way all they time. I also get consumed by worry. As if worrying over something is giving me more control over a situation. I fool myself into thinking that worrying is helping me. It is basically coming right down to the truth that I do not trust God for His best for me. I think I know best. This want and desire and struggle for control results in joyless living.
But as soon as we do totally surrender, abandoning ourselves to Jesus, the Holy Spirit gives us a taste of His joy...Have I ever yielded myself in absolute submission to Jesus Christ? If He is not the One to whom I am looking for direction and guidance, then there is no benefit in my sacrifice. But when my sacrifice is made with my eyes focused on Him, slowly but surely His molding influence becomes evident in my life.
Lately I'm feeling more at peace because I am learning to trust Him more about my situation. (It also could be because my friend, Claudia says that she is praying for me constantly.) I have gotten to the end of myself and have thrown up my hands and said, "Okay, Lord. Whatever! I believe that you will work all of this out somehow." John 15:9-11 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. If I would just be wise enough to stay close to Him. Listening to His words and being grateful for what He has done for me, I would know joy and contentment.
Hebrews 12:1-2...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
And Chambers again:
“I have called you friends. . . .” Our friendship with Jesus is based on the new life He created in us, which has no resemblance or attraction to our old life but only to the life of God. It is a life that is completely humble, pure, and devoted to God.
Why do I keep wandering away from Him over and over again? It always results in being parched with thirst because I end up in the desert.
Image Source:Wandering in the Desert by Shayantani Sarkar, Wikimedia Commons