I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.~Philippians 3:8-9
Life is a taking in and giving out.
Life is a receiving and restoring.
We take in nourishment and give to others in the form of work.
We take in knowledge and give out thoughts and feelings, prose and poetry.
"In the healthy exercise of giving and taking is all the enjoyment of life." ~p.98, Abiding in Christ by Andrew Murray.
The Bible is full of paradox.
- Sell all to secure the treasure.
- Lose your life to find it!
- Forsake all; receive a hundred-fold.
In order to have a new life in Christ, we must forsake sin. In order to become wholly a servant of righteousness, we need to be purged. In order to gain the presence and feel the love of Christ, we must surrender sin. We must give up unrighteousness, but more than that, give up self-righteousness.
Instead of absolute dependence on the Holy Spirit's leading,
SELF is expected to do a work it can never do.
In me (that is, in my flesh) NOTHING GOOD DWELLS. ~Romans 7:18
In order to use our natural gifts in the service of the Lord, we must sacrifice and surrender.
All of our gifts and powers are still defiled by sin and they are still under the power of the flesh. I can't use them for God's glory until I lay them at Christ's feet, to be accepted and cleansed by Him.
I must feel myself utterly powerless to use my natural gifts correctly.
My gifts - the gift of gab, the ability to write, the tendency to teach - are all under the power of the flesh, and are still defiled by sin, unless they are given up and given to Christ.
Lord, I give You my gifts, my talents, the things that come easily to me. I give them up entirely. I do not want to use them under my sin nature - so I give them up to You. You decide. You use me as You wish. Put me on the shelf, if that is where You want me to be. I am Yours, to use as You see fit. Only let my life bring You glory.
Isaac, the Son of Promise, was given up.
Jesus, the Son of God, gave up His life.
Wholehearted surrender. As I give myself up wholly to Christ, He gives me power to take Him wholly for myself. As I lose myself and all I have for Him, He takes me wholly for Himself and gives Himself wholly to me.
This surrender is moment by moment, a single step. It's equally a daily renewal, and a progressive attainment. Forget what is behind, your past spiritual highs, the graces given to you by your Master. Press on, reaching out to Christ, praying unceasingly for more light, more trust, more surrender.
What does this all mean in practical terms? Keep the truth of the gospel at the forefront of your mind: Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. God is in charge of my life and my circumstances, and is actively working to conform me to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Lord. Nothing is ever a surprise to Him. He orders my steps. He prays for me. I have an enemy that I must be on guard against, but my God is faithful and helps me continually. I am a slave; He is the Master. He loves me enough to call me His friend. I deserve hell; He gives me heaven.
So when things happen that are hard, or scary, or terrifying, or painful, I must simply surrender. I must go to my Lord and sit at His feet, saying "I am the handmaiden of You, Lord. Do with me as You will."