I remember exclaiming,“God, if I cannot have your presence I will die! I can’t go on, I won’t go on! Kill me otherwise!”
Quietly in my spirit I heard God reply, “Yes”
“What do you mean “Yes,” Lord?” I replied
“Yes, good then. Die,” He said.
“I’ve been waiting for you to die, but you just won’t. You keep striving. You keep planning. You keep trying to mix me in with your aspirations and worldly appetites. You will never have me till you die to yourself. So die already!!”
That was a hard word to swallow, but it was a true word. I received it. God didn’t want words he wanted obedience. He wanted me to get out of the way.
You know, we make all kinds of intellectual assents. God gets tired of that stuff real quick. Entire congregations sing “I surrender all” every Sunday and God weeps! He knows most will never even act on those words at all. What a stench in God’s nostrils it must be! Its as if we think God can’t detect our patronizing lies! It is better to remain silent if you have not counted the cost of identifying with Christ.
I have respect for those who are honest enough not to walk to the front of churches when every pew and has been emptied and every hand raised by an overzealous/manipulative altar call. The peer pressure is enormous. Even pure and Spirt-filled people cave to the pressure to go forward for no other reason than “not looking like a sinner sitting in the pew.”
For the sinners that remain; at least they have the fortitude to acknowledge they’re rebellious position before God without being hypocritical. They are more righteous before God than those who cave to peer pressure or make hasty, meaningless public gestures of religion but are dead inside.
The Lord says:“These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. (Isaiah 29:13)
“Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah” (Jeremiah 3:11)
Israel made no claims to even following God and God considered them more righteous than Judah who made all the claims of following God but lived like devils.
I wonder, do we really consider how truly costly it is to declare a phrase like “I surrender all” publicly? Think of cost of following Jesus: Your life’s savings, retirement, time, hobbies, respect, home, health, security…and that is just the beginning of “surrendering all!” Check out this post for more on surrendering yourself to God.
So what is it to reckon yourself dead and raised in the power of the Holy Spirit. How do we come before God with a truly acceptable sacrifice? You know, the Romans 12:1 kind: to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. Its our only, holy, acceptable, and reasonable act of worship. We’ll dig into this in the next post.