Cultivating a Movement: Surrender!

As I wrote previously, I just started a sermon series at Centre Grove on Cultivating a Movement. The series began with a focus on surrender.

The word “surrender” has mostly negative connotations—on the battlefield, in the political arena, on the sports field, and in life, in general. But in the spiritual life, surrender is essential. It’s also essential for cultivating a movement. Movements begin with people who are fully surrendered to God!

God gives us the greatest example of surrender. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son …” (John 3.16, CEB).

Jesus modeled surrender …

he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit. But he emptied himself by taking the form of a slave and by becoming like human beings. When he found himself in the form of a human, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2.6-8, CEB)

In Jesus’ final hours, he prayed, “Father, if it’s your will, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, not my will but your will must be done” (Luke 22.42, CEB).

In Philippians 2, Paul challenges readers to “Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus” (2.5, CEB). But before that, he writes …

Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. (Philippians 2.3-4, CEB)

When we surrender ourselves to God, we live for God. We also live for God on behalf of the world. That’s why I love the statement I learned nearly ten years ago from Dr. Stephen Seamands …

I have entered into the ministry of Jesus, to the Father, through the Holy Spirit, on behalf of the world.

This statement is always a great reminder for me; it helps me stay focused and, hopefully, surrendered!

I also think our willingness to pray dangerous or risky prayers is a sign of surrender (most prayers from a fully-surrendered life are dangerous!). One such prayer is Wesley’s Covenant Prayer …

I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

Surrender involves giving ourselves completely to God. When we do, God is free to move in and through his people, thus creating a movement (i.e., a move of God).

My one verse for the year is 2 Chronicles 7.14, which is also about cultivating a movement …

if my people who belong to me will humbly pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. (CEB)

Movements begin with people who are fully surrendered to God!

How do you stay fully surrendered to God?

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