Monday, February 19, 2024

Abandon Yourself Entirely to God: Examining the Concept of Surrendering to God's Will

Abandon yourself to God. 

What does it mean exactly? When we become a follower of Jesus, we are renouncing, or throwing off our old ways of life. And we’re choosing a new way of life. A life which is now fundamentally under the command and control of God Almighty.

We abandon ourselves to God. We surrender control of our lives to Him in a very practical way.

Madam Guyon said it like this, “You must come to the Lord and there engage in giving up all your concerns. All your concerns go into the hand of God. You forget yourself, and from that moment on you think only of Him.”

Now I know what many of you are thinking, can someone really do that? Is that possible? Yes honestly, we can do that.

It’s simply doing it. Instead of sitting and worrying about it and wondering if it’s possible, it’s sitting down in prayer and asking God to make it happen.

Prayer: "Lord, we give all our worries and concerns to you. We put our lives in your hands. We forget ourselves, and we focus only on You. In Jesus name, amen."

As with so many aspects of the Christian life, it’s a little miracle that it really happens, because in ourselves we could never abandon ourselves to God.

But it is quite possible.

As Jeanne Guyon said, “Be careful; do not listen to the voice of your natural reasoning. You can expect just such reasoning to well up within you. Nonetheless, you must believe that you can abandon yourself utterly to the Lord for all your lifetime and that He will give you the grace to remain there! You must trust in God, "hoping against hope? (Romans 4:18)”

The scriptures give a good word about this, from Psalm 46:10 ESV “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Be still, and know that God is God and let him be in control.

Another powerful scripture about letting God run our lives is this one from Proverbs…

Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."

Here is another powerful statement from Madam Guyon about abandonment to God, “What is abandonment? It is forgetting your past; it is leaving the future in His hands; it is devoting the present fully and completely to your Lord. Abandonment is being satisfied with the present moment, no matter what that moment contains. You are satisfied because you know that whatever that moment has, it contains—in that instant—God's eternal plan for you.”

Let's break it down... 

1. It’s forgetting your past, leaving behind old patterns

2. It’s trusting God for the future

3. It’s allowing God to be in charge in the present

4. It’s been satisfied with God’s will in the moment, that’s it’s just right

5. It’s trusting that in this moment what’s going on is God’s perfect will

This is linked with a concept in the scriptures called humbling ourselves before God. It’s a good reminder to pray a lot, pray on our knees, and submit to Him completely.

As it says in 1st Peter 5:5-7, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." -1st Peter 5:5b-7

I know this can seem difficult to abandon ourselves to God, to give everything over, but there are many benefits. We don’t have to be afraid. We aren’t in charge. God is.

I remember when COVID hit in 2020, and everyone became frantically afraid. And I had to ask myself, wait Justin, whose in control? Is it you? Or is it God? I knew God was in control. So I abandoned myself to Him. And I wasn’t near as afraid anymore. I could rest in His protection and know that whatever happened, it would be ok. Even if I died, I would be ok. 

It’s freedom from fear to trust in God. We can cast all our anxieties on Him, and he cares for us, and removes our worries.

It reminds me of recovery groups. The first three steps of the 12 steps say: First, we surrender and admit that our lives have become unmanageable.

Second, we come to believe that God can restore us to sanity

Third, we turned our will and our lives over to the care of God.

This concept of surrender and coming to believe and turning ourselves over to God is biblical. It reminds me of Luke 9:23-24…

Luke 9:23-24 ESV And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

And again in Matthew 7:1 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

It’s not enough to simply call Jesus Lord, we really have to abandon ourselves to Him, deny ourselves, deny our old pattern of life, and embrace the new pattern of carrying our cross with Jesus. Otherwise there’s no hope. We have to give it all over!

But I know what you’re probably thinking, if I completely abandon myself to God, can I really trust that he will care for me? The answer is absolutely yes. God will do exactly what is right. It won’t always be easy. It won’t always be perfect or fun. But it will be 100% right. It will be His will for your life. And we can trust that His will is 100% right.

Would God forget us or forsake us or fail to keep His promises? Not a chance.

As it says in Isaiah 49:15-16 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”

It gives the picture of God being so close that he is a watching over our defenses. He is guarding us carefully. He is always watching, all around us. He’s written our name on His hands.

I want to share one final quote from Madam Guyon, all these quotes are from chapter 6 of Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ.

She writes, “Surrender yourself to allow Him to do with you exactly as He pleases—both in your inward life of experiencing Him and also in your outward life of accepting all circumstances as from Him.”

So in conclusion today, let’s remember it like this, we want to surrender in two main ways, one, we want to surrender ourselves to God within ourselves, in our journey of experiencing Him in relationship. Simply let him do whatever He pleases inside of us.

Secondly, we want to accept all circumstances in our lives as from Him (that are not the fault of our mistakes). If we make a bad decision that may not be from God. But in general we should accept outward circumstances in our lives as from Him. And accept things as they are.

To Review, Our Main Points are as follows:

1. Believe that you really can abandon yourself to God completely (it is possible through God’s power)

2. Forget the past, trust God for the future, and entirely embrace what God has for you today as coming from Him

3. Abandoning ourselves to God means freedom from fear and control

4. Deny old patterns of thinking, take up your cross, and follow the way of Jesus

5. We can trust that if we do abandon ourselves to God, God will care for us a good Father

6. Surrender yourself to Him within and allow God to whatever He pleases in changing you from within

7. Surrender your external life to Him, and let Him lead you wherever He wants, accepting circumstances as from Him