[ecko_quote source=" Matthew 11:28-30"]Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My Yoke Is easy and My burden is light[/ecko_quote]
In the light of our previous devotion “The impossibility of Christian life,” the fundamental thing that we have to do is surrender our lives so that Christ can live in and through our lives. Surrender is not the surrendering of the external life, but of our will; when that is done, all is done. There are very few crisis in life; among which the great crisis is the surrender of our will willingly. God never crushes a man’s will into surrender. He never beseeches him; He waits until the man yields up his will to Him. That battle never needs to be refought.
Surrender for deliverance “Come unto Me and I will give you rest”. We begin to experience what salvation means only after we surrender our will to Jesus for rest. Whatever is perplexing your heart or mind is a call to the will- “Come unto Me”. It is a coming that is done voluntarily.
Surrender for Devotion- “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself”. The surrender here is of ourselves to Jesus i.e. our own selves with His rest at the heart of it. “If you would be My disciple, give up your right of yourself to Me.” Then the remainder of the life is nothing but the manifestation of this surrender. When once the surrender has taken place we won't need to think of "suppose" for anything. We do not need to care what our circumstances are or would be; Jesus is amply sufficient.
Surrender to death (John 21:18-19) …” Another shall gird thee” Have you learned what it means to be bound for death? Beware of a surrender which you make to God in an ecstasy; you are apt to take it back again. It is a question of being united with Jesus in His death until nothing ever appeals to you that did not appeal to Him.
After surrender – What? Christ lives in us. The whole of the life after surrender is an aspiration for unbroken communion with God.
All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him; In His presence, daily live……. I surrender all; I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all.
Source: Pastor Jonah Ravinder; The Utmost for His Highest – Oswald Chambers.
[ecko_quote source=" Galatians 2:20"]I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me[/ecko_quote]
Many of us start our Christian life thinking it as very easy. Author and teacher Stuart Briscoe said, When I got saved, it was so wonderful. The burden of sin was gone. Boy, I started out wanting to live for God and be so happy. “It’s wonderful. Here I am, saved. Hallelujah, Jesus! I will never make another mistake. I have been saved; my sins have been forgiven. I have the Holy Spirit in me. This is just wonderful,” I was saying, and then I stumbled and fell. I got discouraged a little bit. I said, “Well, this isn’t as easy as I thought. This is difficult.” And I began to strive and tried to be a better Christian, but again I failed miserably. I stopped saying this is difficult. I hung my head in despair and said, “This is impossible.”
The more I thought about it, the more I came to the conclusion that the Christian life is very difficult. I was supposed to love my neighbours. Some of them I hadn’t even got around to liking! God seemed to expect from me a love that would put Him first, and I wasn’t too sure that was what I wanted. Often I pretended all was well when I knew it wasn’t. Then something happened. Reading through my Bible, I have learnt that I had been wrong about the Christian life. First, I thought it was easy. That was wrong. Then I figured it was difficult. But I realised that was wrong too. For the first time in my life, I understood that Christianity was impossible for a human being. Not easy and not difficult, Impossible.
Then God showed me that what He had for me was CHRIST. He had told me to live the impossible because He had given me Christ to whom it was all possible. My inability was the perfect soil for His ability. My defeat was the stage for His victory. My barrenness was the seed plot for His fruitfulness. The answer to my problem was Christ. I got more conscious of my helplessness and failure than ever before. But I was strangely excited to know that the Lord was resident in my weakness and master of my defeat. The next time when I got up to preach, I whispered “Okay, Lord, here we go again. These problems are too big for me but well within your capabilities. I claim your power to triumph” And I began to do just that. God in His goodness had introduced me to a life of faith, trust, and dependence on Lord Jesus. He was becoming increasingly real to me. In fact, that should be the story of the Christian life. Finding it continually impossible to you, but always possible to the One who lives in you, and being excited about being able to prove Him.
A dear friend used to say, we all are the failures that we were meant to be. In other words, our attempts at living the Christian life in own power were always supposed to fail. God never intended for us to succeed by self-effort, self-motivation, and self-striving. We were never designed (of course after Adam's sin) to live holy lives without trusting the Christ who died for us. In short, we cannot live the Christian life without Christ. Only by grace through faith, Christian growth is achieved (Gal. 3:1-5).
When we attempt to live the Christian life in our power, we find it impossible. We grow frustrated. Our up and down experiences of momentary victory and devastating failures prove exhausting. The cycles of perpetual self-confidence/pride and shame/guilt leave us wondering if we are really saved. Then, we realise that our sense of desperation and defeat is what God is waiting for; he wants us to come to the end of ourselves.
God is waiting for us to admit our struggle, repent of our self-sufficiency, and pray for divine help (2 Cor. 12:8-10). It sounds a bit cliché, but God desires for us to stop trying and to start trusting. He wants us to give up striving and struggling to allow Christ to do the impossible: give us liberty and victory over our on-going struggles with sin (2 Peter 1:3-4).
The Lord’s purpose and goal is to allow his Son, Jesus Christ, to live his life in and through us (1 John 4:9). The only person who ever successfully lived the Christian life was Christ himself. Therefore, we need to allow Christ to live his life in and through us for victory over sin, power over temptations, and anointing for ministry (Gal. 2:20).
The Christian life can only be explained in terms of Jesus Christ, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you, your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarships, your dedication, your sacrifices, or your anything... Then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it!
You know what? Mr Briscoe was right. The Christian life is impossible, without Christ. You see, when Mr Briscoe discovered that God is the God of the impossible and that Jesus Christ was in Him, he then stopped trying, started trusting, and let the Lord Jesus Christ live His life through him. He also stopped saying Christian life as impossible and started saying, “This is wonderful!”
Source: Jonah Ravinder; Mr Stuart Briscoe
[ecko_quote source="Daniel 6:10"]Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days[/ecko_quote]
How can you follow God and thrive in this secular world at the same time? In almost every workplace/ community and the world at large Christians face this question daily and many find the answer so difficult they are tempted to give up. Daniel, the central character of the Book of Daniel, also faced the same question under extreme circumstances and he was successful in every facet of his life.
There are many characters in the Bible such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David and Solomon. Each one of them had played their roles and left a legacy. The Bible writers described their lives without any reservations both positive and negative aspects of their walk with the Lord for our edification.One of the most interesting characters of the Bible and a role model for the 21st century young Christians is Daniel. He is one of the few well-known Bible characters about whom nothing negative is ever written.
His life was characterised by faith, prayer, courage, consistency and lack of compromise. We can notice some excellent attributes in Daniel's life, great teamwork, (with his three friends); great negotiations,(with the chief of eunuchs in relation to the food matters); respect and honour to the king at the same time making it known to the king about the one true God; Daniel never spoke negatively, not even about his enemies; and of visions and their interpretation .
Daniel, even in youth, displayed these characteristics. He was already considered one of the best among the best. Because of Daniel's obedient and submissive heart, God took him and made him better. In fact, the Bible says that in wisdom and understanding, Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were ten times better than any of the magicians and astrologers in the entire empire.
Daniel knew the importance of remaining pure and undefiled, even in a culture that was saturated with pagan practices and idol worship. It was because of Daniel’s love for God and his commitment to purity that God entrusted Daniel with the ability to understand and interpret dreams and visions. Moreover, this divine ability served Daniel well many times during his service to the king.
Daniel lived a pure and holy in the midst of wicked people. Daniel's world is not much different to our present world. The only difference is that this generation is committing techno and cyber sins using phones, computers and other electronic gadgets erroneously. In this era holiness and pure life are outdated and old fashioned lifestyle which is why we hardly see young people looking for a righteous way of living and greater commitment to God. They want new inspiration, new methods of enjoyment and further they have no time to wait; they want everything in real-time.
The book of Daniel shows Daniel to be a faithful man of God. When King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to destroy all the wise men if one of them did not tell him his dream and interpreted it, Daniel and his friends asked for time so he and his three friends could beseech God in prayer to reveal this information (Daniel 2:18). When God answered his prayer, Daniel remembered to praise and thank God for giving them what they had requested (verses 20-23).
Daniel's lifestyle portrays a modest way of life. Adoption of a modest way of life, so that attachment to money, prestige or power do not stand in the way of risking our jobs or careers if we are pressured to do something contrary to God’s commands, values or virtues. Despite reaching the pinnacle of Babylonian education, position and wealth, Daniel and his friends were constantly ready to lose everything in order to speak and act on God’s word (2:24, 3:12, 4:20, 5:17, 6:10, 21).
The secret of his success both in Godly life and as the Governor in the Kingdom lies in his prayer life. He demonstrated his faith by praying to God even though he knew that doing so would endanger his life! “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed [that no one could petition any god or man except the king for 30 days], he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt on his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10). I think this was the secret of Daniel's success, and I wish it would be our custom too in this wicked generation.