It’s easy to love the Lord. He comes to us with arms open wide, taking all of our sins and burdens upon Himself. He offers us life in place of death and freedom from our bondage. He has plans to prosper us and give us a future. What’s not to love?
Unfortunately, many Christians believe in God and love Him, but they don’t live for Him.
The Bible says that our relationship with God should mature over time and that we should “grow up in all aspects into Him….” (Ephesians 4:15 NAS).
So, how do we take our relationship with God to the next level? By developing a spirit of surrender, faith, and obedience.
Living in Surrender
According to Webster’s Dictionary, to “surrender” means “to yield (something) to the possession or power of another.” In our independent, Western society, this is the very definition of weakness, but in the Kingdom of God, it is the source of our strength.
Think back to when you first believed in Jesus. You acknowledged your sins and exchanged them for God’s righteousness. You surrendered to God, turning in the “old you” for a “new you.”
So was that just your spiritual life that you surrendered? What about your daily life?
The world separates the spiritual from the daily routine. However, when we split our lives in two, we also divide our hearts.
You may be serving God “half-heartedly” if:
- You relegate God to Sunday morning and “live life” the rest of the week.
- You’re earnestly trying to obey God’s call on your spiritual life while struggling to maintain control over the day-to-day decisions.
- You’re willing to live for the Lord…as long as He doesn’t interfere with your plans.
To grow closer to the Lord, we must serve Him whole-heartedly. For that, we need faith.
We rarely know what God is planning, or what the big picture looks like. That’s because we’re called to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NAS). With each step, we have to trust that God loves us and wants what is best for us.
A great example of this can be found in Proverbs 31:15 NAS: “She rises while it is still night and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens.” What’s so amazing about this verse is the spiritual imagery: she gets up while it’s still dark, when she doesn’t know what God is up to or what the future will hold.
It’s not unusual for Christians to feel “in the dark” as they wait for the Lord. Perhaps you’re waiting now for God to give you guidance or direction, or for Him to open doors to new opportunities. If so, be encouraged! As your faith is strengthened, you will grow closer to the Lord.
Obedience in Action
Jesus said it’s not enough for us to call ourselves Christians or to do good deeds in His name. We also have to be obedient to His Word and His direction for our lives. (See Matthew 7:21-27.)
You can show obedience to God even as you wait for His guidance, direction, or a new opportunity.
- Use the time to develop patience and perseverance. In fact, this may be the main reason why the Lord is delaying.
- Resist the urge to get angry or depressed. The Enemy will take advantage of the situation to cultivate fear, pride, or anxiety. Don’t give him any leverage.
- Avoid getting ahead of God. Don’t move forward with any new activities until you have His guidance or blessing.
- Don’t neglect your daily activities. Like the woman in Proverbs 31, be sure to care for yourself, your family, and those in need around you.
Once the Lord does give you the answer you’re waiting for or the opportunity you need, then it’s time to take action!
- If God gives you an answer to a question, write it down. Sometimes, God gives us the whole picture, and sometimes it’s just a piece of the puzzle. Either way, cherish the fact that God is sharing His heart with you.
- If God says “go,” then go where He sends you and do what He asks. Don’t delay or waste the opportunity.
- If God’s answer is “no,” then be content. Stay where you are, decline the offer, pray about Plan B, etc. Whatever the situation is, honor God’s decision and trust that He has your best interest at heart.
Don’t settle for less than a mature, intimate relationship with the Lord! Begin developing a spirit of surrender, faith, and obedience today.
I wrote this blog based on a section of my manuscript for Girls with Gusto. I’ve identified eight major steps in the spiritual journey, and this comes from Step Four, “Developing a Disciple’s Disposition.” Unfortunately, many of us falter here—a mere half-way point—and fail to persevere to the next step.
The good news is that you have a choice! Whatever decisions you’ve made in the past, you can decide today to pursue a meaningful, intimate relationship with God.
“I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:7 NAS).