“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” Philippians 3:8
Everything Lord, really? Consider everything a loss? This is quite a statement by Paul and it is a crossroad that we, who desire to follow our Lord with all our hearts, eventually come to. Our Father desires to be first in our lives, first above everything, but He doesn’t use His all-surpassing power to get there. Through His Spirit, He gently nudges us, pointing out the things we put before Him. “What about this,” He may say. “This, my child comes before Me in your heart. And this, over here, dear daughter, must be moved so I can take My rightful place.” This process goes on and on throughout our lives until we come to the place where we need to decide, will I give my all for the One who gave His all for me?
Surrendering everything is hard. Oh, it’s not that our hearts don’t want to. The Lord knows that the greatest longing of my life is to give everything to my God and surrender to His will and His leading. How many times Lord, have I poured out my heart, and laid at Your feet all the things that I hold dear? It has been many more times than I can even count. I love my Lord with all that I am, but it seems the moment I lay it all down and I am completely empty of myself, face down on the floor with hands open and desiring with my whole being to be filled with His Spirit alone, in that moment the battle as old as time begins.
Did God really say you should surrender everything? Certainly He does not expect us to be willing to give up everything? Just as the serpent did to Eve so long ago, he does to us. Doubt creeps in, and not only do we begin to doubt the words of God to us; we even begin to doubt His goodness.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5)
With these words Eve looked at the fruit of the tree and believed the God with whom she had shared perfect fellowship and from whom she had known perfect love, this God she believed was keeping desirable things from her, and her heart became full of doubt. Just as easily, we, too, are tempted to doubt the God we love and tempted to doubt the trust we have in Him. Surely God did not say He requires us to surrender everything…
Some of these things you have laid down are good.
These over here are works you are doing for God.
You deserve that over there after all you have been through and done. It is rightly yours.
On and on go the whispers of the enemy, pulling at every child of God who has sincerely laid down their life. Over and over the fiery arrows of doubt are aimed at the one in complete surrender and before you know it, like Eve, our fallen nature begins to believe the lies. To my despair, that woman in me who cried out to God to take it all and be my everything is now slowly picking all of her treasures back up, taking them for herself, gripping them tightly in her hands as she thinks, “Surely the Lord did not mean everything.”
That woman in me was wrong.
I am so thankful for the love and grace of God. So thankful that the One who is Lord of all will take this stubborn woman that I am and lead me back to the crossroad again and again where He will beckon me to let go and follow Him. I am grateful that He knows my heart and will continue to guide me, even as I refuse to take hold of His hand because mine are too full holding onto all the things I think I must have. Yet, in this place I still hear His sweet voice speaking to me and I know I must let it all go, because even when my life is full of many things, my heart is empty when it is not in fellowship with the God that I love. Eventually I grow weary and must confess that I am wrong and replace the lies with truth, and the truth is, He desires and is worthy to have and be our everything.
“For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things, to Him be the glory!” (Romans 11:36)
Truly, Father God, You are worthy of my everything, but I have to confess what You already know, that You are not always first in my heart. Forgive me Lord, for having a spirit of entitlement when You gave Your very life for me and forgive me for holding on so tightly to the things of this world. I thank You, Lord, that You do not expect me to do this on my own. Not only do You desire our all, You desire to be our all. I confess my weakness to You. Help me to allow You to open my hands so that You can fill them with Your blessing and joy, and help me Lord to allow You to be my shield as I lay it all bare before You. Thank You, Lord, that through You, I can do all things, and yet all You require is for me to trust and surrender. I surrender, Lord. I give You my everything today, and I ask, knowing how weak I am, that You protect me, You guide me, and You keep bringing me back to this place, doing whatever is necessary, until I can truly say as Paul did, I consider EVERYTHING a loss compared to knowing You, my Lord and Saviour. I so love You! In Your glorious name I pray, amen.
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