We don’t surrender too well.
There’s just something in us that resists giving up. Guilt. Pressure. Expectations. Conditioning. Whatever it is, we just seem hard-wired to resist authority. Even in training leaders, we are reminded that people don’t respond to commands as well as suggestions and direction. Why? We don’t surrender too well.
As a pastor, I teach my fair share of membership classes and I really enjoy it. But every now and again you get “that person”. This person questions everything the (local) church stands for and does so with an incredulous smirk. Additionally, that person tends to really bristle up at the very concept of what membership in a church means: you’re submitting to a church’s authority (and that includes the pastor’s).
We don’t like to surrender anything. As Americans (as most of my readership is), it’s especially hard for us because we have this strange idea that God gives a hoot about our “rights”.
We don’t surrender too well.
We’ve been journeying through Acts 1:6-8 for a month now and we’ve hardly made a dent in the surface in this “more than meets the eye” passage. Now we examine more closely the power they would receive (we looked at this idea of the Lord’s power last week) and the power we enjoy.
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Jesus said the Holy Spirit would “come on” them. Jesus is telling them (by the use of Luke’s word choice in Greek) that the Holy Spirit will “descend from the superior position to them”. When the Apostles would surrender themselves to the Lord, the power would come.
This ragtag group of down-and-outs in their culture would be transformed into a spiritual army when the Holy Spirit would descend on them and liberate them from their sin, weakness, and pride. When they abandoned themselves, they found liberation. As Jesus told the Apostle Paul “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
This grace is the same for us as for him. He is able to do far more with our lives than we are able.
Why do we give our lives to Him? He can do more with it than we can.
Why do we give our money to Him? He can invest it better than we can.
Why do we use our abilities as He leads us? He made us and knows the best way to use them.
“When the Holy Spirit comes on” He would grant them incredible power. When the Holy Spirit comes on our lives at the point of our turning from sin and turning to Him, we are granted an incredible power.
We are liberated when we surrender to Him.
Hebrews 13:15-16 exhorts us, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess His name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” The offering is ourselves to Him. It is the surrendering of ourselves to Him for His mighty purposes.
In our sin nature, we don’t surrender too well to Jesus. As we grow in Him, however, we can get better at it–we must! Find your liberation and power by ending the fight in your heart between you and Jesus. Give up. Give in. And experience a love, grace, and power you have never known.