“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” ~Matthew 26:41
There are moments in life where we honestly don’t know how to surrender a situation, a person or ourselves to God. Have you ever been in a situation where you simply could not bring yourself to do what the Lord has asked you to do? We may mull it over for a while, but we can’t quite make it over the line. We know the right thing to do, but we do persist in the direction of wrong. The Apostle Paul captures our uncomfortable predicament in Romans 7:14-25, “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.” And there it is. Sin. Whether we realize it or not, anything that opposes God comes from a place of sin.
Sin encourages us to wrestle with God even when we know God’s way is best. “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) However, to understand our struggle with sin, we must dig a little deeper to understand the root of our resistance. Our internal struggle with sin is usually rooted in our thoughts, which are based in feelings of fear, pride, unforgiveness, anger, lust, greed, bitterness, etc. Each of these emotions can lead us to act in direct opposition to the nature of God. Take unforgiveness, for example. That’s a tough one isn’t it? Unforgiveness is something most of us have struggled with at one time or another. This strong emotion is usually tied to a deep hurt or offense so our initial response is to withhold forgiveness. When someone hurts us deeply, the last thing in the world we want to do is forgive. Of course, God knows how much we were hurt, yet He encourages us to forgive anyway. Why? To mature us and protect us and our relationship with Him. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15) Through the lens of unforgiveness, we can see more cleary why God calls us to run to Him and work through our emotions in His Presence. When we resist going to God, it allows difficult emotions to lead us deeper into sin and away from Him. So, SURRENDER is for our good because God knows what we’re really waring against. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12).
Surrendering emotions, such as unforgiveness, to God can feel really, really uncomfortable to our flesh. This internal war happens when we subject our flesh to God’s will. It may be uncomfortable, but there’s a cause to celebrate because it means we are growing! Each time we move in God’s direction instead of obeying the sinful desires of our flesh, we transform spiritually. With the help of the Holy Spirit, God renews our minds by changing the way we think about, and react to, difficult situations. He challenges our bad habits so that we’ll grow and mature spiritually, gradually conforming to the image of Christ. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (Romans 8:29)
Prayer: God, I glorify you. I lift you up. I am so thankful for the blood of Christ, which grants me freedom from my sins. When I’m struggling to do what is right, help me to come running to you instead of depending on my own understanding. Help me to realize that the real war is not against flesh and blood but against the works of the enemy. When you encourage me to surrender, may I always remember that it is for my protection, my good and my growth. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray. Amen.