What picture comes to mind when we consider someone who is completely and fully surrendered to the living God? For some, the thought of a sainted person, a person of compassion and virtue, such as a Mother Theresa would come to mind. For others, it might be a monk or a nun who has withdrawn from society to spend his or her days in solitude, meditating on the Lord. Others of us might picture a fiery missionary evangelist, preaching to the masses in a far away land. All of these could certainly be an example of a surrendered life. However, we should not be surprised by the thought that any follower of Christ, regardless of who they are, or what they do, has within them the potential to walk out a surrendered life in the service of the Lord Jesus. This is possible, not by simply following a certain vocation, but rather by walking out a lifestyle regardless of vocation, social standing, marital status, or anything else that might be considered a factor in the shaping of our lives.
So today we will look at the characteristics of a Surrendered Lifestyle as seen in the life of St. Paul, and then see what is needed for us to walk out that kind of lifestyle right where we are in this place, time and circumstance. But be remindedthese characteristics are not out of reach for any of us. They are available to anyone willing to make the choice to be completely Gods and live for Him right here, right now.
The Surrendered Life:
1. Lives with God and with the people of God (v 18).
a. There is a sense of the incarnation (John 1:14). They saw the life of Christ lived out for them by the apostle.
b. There is a sense of community. He was with them.
c. There is transparency.
2. Endures hardship (v 19).
a. Humility not proud, haughty, arrogant; a spirit of deference or submission; lit. on the ground.
b. Tears having been the recipient of pain inflicted by others
c. Trials the proving of a persons integrity, fidelity, and constancy; a test of temptation.
d. Plots a plan formed specifically against a person (John 16:33).
3. Helpful to others (v 20) (Romans 6:13).
a. Profitable helpful, advantageous, bringing together (1 Peter 4:11).
b. Did not shrink (vs 20, 27).
Holding to the simple truth without compromise (v 21).
He understood where he and they were spiritually.
- All sinners
- Different levels of maturity
- Some struggling, others victorious
- All in this together
c. Teaches others to surrender to the Lord.
d. Will minister anywhere
Publicly inside or outside church
House to house individually as well
Will press through the mundane
4. Can live with ambiguity (vs 22-24).
a. The path ahead is not clear.
b. Commits even when things are not spelled out.
c. Willing to keep pressing on, even in the face of threat and danger.
5. Commits to run the race to the end (vs 24-27).
a. Considers self-gratification and self-service as worthless compared to doing the will of God.
b. Maintains a testimony that bespeaks righteousness without condemnation or judgment towards others.
Application: Steps to Take
1. Begin with a quick self-assessment to get an idea of where we are.
2. Look at our own strengths and weaknesses relating to these characteristics.
3. Commit to follow Christ regardless of the difficulty of the road followed.
4. Hold on to the grace and forgiveness of God.
5. Confess and repent of any sin and keep going.
6. Determine to be available to the Lord in order to be profitable to others.
The surrendered life is closer to us than many of us think. It is a matter of humbly, honestly acknowledging where we are, and then giving ourselves over to the mercy and keeping power of Christ and entrusting ourselves to Him. It is also a matter of giving ourselves to the household of faith, understanding that we are all in this together.