As I walk this path that is the Christian life for going on 16 years now, I realize more and more that it truly is a daily surrender. A daily surrender of my will and my rights and a daily yielding to the God of the universe to meet my needs.
I didn’t learn of this truth until four years into my marriage. Marriage and parenting have a way of bringing out the wretchedness of our flesh and exposing us to our need for Christ, don’t they? It was in 2008, a particularly dark season of our marriage, through dear friends of ours, counselors to our marriage and mentors to our faith, that God hit me upside the head with this truth. I needed to surrender my rights.
I needed to surrender my right to be angry and my right to hold onto offenses against me. I needed to give up my right to be happy. I needed to instead entrust those rights to the Lord and let Him take care of me. Now I can gratefully report, through God’s grace alone, our marriage six years later is stronger than ever before.
But those same truths of surrender still stand. In fact, those rights don’t just surface in marriage, they come up in the workplace, in parenting, in America and in Africa. God is still calling me regularly to surrender my rights, sometimes even more so here in Kenya. The right to my own time? The right to a free weekend? Surrender.
When we went to candidate week with Africa Inland Mission in June of 2011, we were given a paper that explained this very thing and we were asked to sign it, effectively stating that we were willing to entrust our provision to the Lord. I pulled it out the other day, as I felt God leading me to read it and remember that my service at RVA isn’t about my rights. It’s about surrender.
We live in a world that is full of rights. Our particular culture is one where we take pride in our rights. As a matter of fact, the rights of individuals are constitutional, but as we see the demanding of individual rights increase, we see much of the moral fiber of our society decrease. Our Lord Jesus Christ laid down His rights to the heavens and all His glory to become a man and to serve, not to be served. (Philippians 2:5-8 and Mark 10:45)
We ask you to consider laying down your rights to serve Christ in Africa. Not to lay them down for better or worse, but to entrust them to the Lord or to transfer the responsibility of them to a place of safe keeping. These rights may seem reasonable but on the mission field can cause dissention and steal from your effectiveness as a witness for Jesus. Would you take time to search your heart and willingness to surrender your rights to the Lord?
I give up my right to:
a comfortable bed, dressing fashionably, control of myself, control of others, control of my circumstances, having pleasant circumstances, taking offense, being successful, being understood, being heard, being right.
I entrust to God:
my strength and endurance, my health and my strength, my likes and dislikes, my security in Him, my circumstances to His purposes, his workmanship in others, His sovereign hand on my life, my deepest needs, my security in His love, my reputation, my need for recognition, the privilege of suffering for His sake.
I give God permission to do anything He wishes to me, with me, in me, or through me that will glorify Him.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Phil 2:5-8
What is this Gospel you say you believe? That’s the question I had to wrestle with in 2008 and the question I still find myself wrestling with today.
Not my will, O Lord, but yours. Yours alone. To You and You alone be all the Glory.