Bible study for Oct. 28: A Prayer of Surrender

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Matthew 6:10 (CSB—Matt. 6:10-11a); James 4:6-10, 13-17
Victor S. Lyons, pastor
First Avenue Baptist Church, Rochelle

Surrender is not a word that Americans like to use.

We recall the words of John Paul Jones, “I have just begun to fight.”

We remember the Alamo and the death of its defenders.

We say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

The best teams play the game to the last inning or the last minute even when they are behind, and sometimes they win! Giving up is not for us.

Yet every day, thousands of Americans surrender their lives to harmful drugs, to binge drinking, to powerful lusts. Our lives are a gift from God, but they are reduced to a life of shame with little value for ourselves or others. Individuals and families are devastated in the process.

Paul reveals a more excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31).  He highlights a life of faith, hope, and love in Christ.

Pray with a heart of surrender and submission to the Lord.
Matthew 6:10 (CSB—10-11a)

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. These words are a challenge to live beyond the ordinary, the instant-gratification mold.

For the unjust, the corrupt, the crooked, the deceitful, the abusive, the oppressive, and the greedy, it is the world in which they will feel uncomfortable. Admiring the practices in Leviticus condemned 3,000 years ago, the things God finds abominable (Proverbs), and the lifestyle condemned by Jesus and the early church, these modern-day wicked ones are filled with arrogance and a thirst for power. They find ways to trap the gullible, the innocent, into their lifestyle so they can surround themselves with their modern-day peasants. Clearly the coming kingdom contrasts that envisioned by drug lords and those greedy for influence and pleasure.

Humbly surrender (yourself) to the lordship of Christ.
James 4:6-10

Several of the New Testament’s greatest sayings are found in this section (HCSB used):

  • God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (quoted from Proverbs 3:34).
  • Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.
  • Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.
  • Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

The section begins with the word submit, a synonym of surrender. Here one’s will is bent to that of the Father’s in the pithy exhortation: Submit to God. A familiar hymn reflects this call:

All to Jesus, I surrender, All to Him I freely give / I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live / I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my Blessed Savior, I surrender all.
Verse 2: ..Make me, Savior, wholly Thine / Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine /
Finally: Lord, I give myself to Thee / Fill me with Thy love and power / Let Thy blessing fall on me.

In the phrase Truly know that Thou art mine, the covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ is highlighted.

Humbly surrender your plans to God’s plans.
James 4:13-17

Recovering the phrase God willing is important. For many, when their plans collapse, they fill with despair. What should they do? Too often, we include God in our plans after the fact.

Why not include God in the planning stage?

Several truths flow from this passage. First, our lives are like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Once interviewed, Billy Graham responded that his greatest surprise in life was its brevity. Viewed against the backdrop of eternity, our lives are surprisingly short. 

Second, tomorrow is not in our hands. Boasting about what one will do tomorrow is vanity. Only God knows!

Third, God’s will is essential. Jesus told his disciples: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (eat, drink, wear) will be provided for you (Matthew 6:33).

No one completely lives the life that he/she imagined as a boy/girl?

Did James who grew up in the home of Joseph and Mary and Jesus know his future?

Did Paul envision his later life when he studied at the feet of Gamaliel?

Did Martin Luther, the son of a miner, ever envision the life that God would give him?

Live it Out

Surrendering to God means including Him in one’s future plans.

We should not be surprised at the meaningful life that we can have in Christ when we make ourselves available to God’s Will.

Lead others by example and by word to a life of humility and surrender before God.

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Daily Bible Readings: Nov. 1-15