It’s in giving that we receive.
It’s in dying that we live.
It’s in being last that we are first.
Perhaps the greatest paradox for me has been learning that true freedom comes through surrender.
It’s an equation that woudn’t make sense in a fox hole during a battle and yet in my battle against the flesh, against sin, against the enemy and this fallen world it makes perfect sense.
I was in my early twenties when I first started to learn this truth. Before that time I thought I’d surrendered everything to Jesus but I really didn’t have a clue. Yes, I loved Him and I knew Him but there was so much I had to learn about true surrender and true freedom. And there still is more I need to learn.
While I was in graduate school at LSU in Baton Rouge I was discipled by a woman name Dean. (By the way, how ’bout that game on Saturday against the Gators…Go Tigers!) Sorry I just couldn’t resist. Now, where was I?…Oh yes…
Dean taught me some hard truth about surrendering. She taught me that one of my biggest obstacles to freedom was clinging to my rights.
We live in a “rights” based society. In our country we stake our claim to freedom and we do this by asserting our rights. It’s all about my right to this or my right to that and how we are entitled to this or entitled to that.
This is the “economy” of our society and politics. And yet not surprisingly in God’ economy this is not so. No, in order to be free from my flesh and my sin, I must not cling to my rights but instead I must surrender them. Here are a few examples…
- If you want to be free from worrying about what others think about you then surrender your right to a good reputation to God.
- If you want to be free from having to be to be liked by others then surrender your right to be accepted and loved by others.
- If you want to be free from anxiety over trials and suffering in your life then surrender your right to have “pleasant circumstances.”
- If you want to be free from having to have the last word then surrender your right to be heard.
- If you want to be free from being defenive then surrender your right to take offense.
- If you want to be free from striving after “things” then surrender your right to possessions
We all have rights we cling to. This list of “rights” is endless.
Here are a few more to consider. Which ones do you cling to?
The right to be successful…
The right to presume on the will of God…
The right to beauty or strength…
The right to have friends…
The right to be right…
The right to avoid reaping what you sow… (ouch!)
The right to see results…
The more I learned about this surrendering your rights thing the more I realized how “bound up” I was in my flesh and in what I thought I had a right to in this life and in my relationships. “My rights” had me so chained to myself. I was not free to love Jesus and others the way I was created to love.
To this day, when I find myself struggling in my flesh, anxious over something or someone, or in general not thinking and responding in spirit, truth and love I can usually trace it to some right or expectation I’m clinging to. And I can usually hear the Holy Spirit telling me to surrender.
When your “rights” are challenged how do you react? Do you find yourself coping in the flesh? Does your “proverbial” back straighten? Is there a “how dare she or he” attitude that creeps into your voice or and actions. Perhaps you turn, run and hide. Whatever your flesh patterns may be, freedom from your flesh requires surrendering all your rights to God. It truly is a paradox.
The more I surrender, the more free I am. And the more free I am the more I can live and love like my Jesus. And that is what this journey with Him is all about.