Clearing Out Your Spiritual Logjams

by Andy Wood on October 16, 2013

in Ability, Executing Your Plan, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Freedom

LogjamSurrender to the lordship and authority of Christ isn’t the goal of the Christian life.

It’s the means to the goal.

And that’s the problem, because in many Evangelical circles we’ve made surrender the target.  In our audience-spectator-based worship services, we sing songs, give money, enjoy some fellowship, and hear a passionate call, all around the same theme – Jesus is Lord, and wants to be Lord of your life. Then we appeal to non-believers to surrender in faith to His Lordship for salvation, and to believers to surrender to His Lordship for sanctification.

Okay.  Now what?

Enjoy the weight off your soul’s shoulders?  Whew! What a relief. Now I can get back to whatever it was I was doing because I surrendered.  Now I can quit worrying about whatever that situation was because I surrendered it to the Lord.

Believe me, relief has its place, especially if you’ve been crossed up with God lately. But is that all? Have we hit the goal because we gave up control?

Hardly.  And if you are in church leadership and that’s how you measure effectiveness or success, you are misleading yourself and your people.  One highly-respected pastor in the Austin area recently put it this way:

Altar calls have become counseling sessions instead of a catalyst for repentance. We go there to feel better rather than to experience change.

Amen and ouch!

Abraham: The Apex of Surrender

Other than the willingness of the Lord Jesus to go to the cross for our sin, no other act of surrender to the will of God compares to the experience of Abraham, when God commanded him to take his only son to Mount Moriah and offer him as a sacrifice.  In the most dramatic scene in the Old Testament, Abraham’s knife is in the air, his only son is bound on an altar, and an angel stays his hand.

Then what?

If Abraham had been a member of some of our churches, somebody would have given him a card to fill out…

Please check the appropriate box:

  • I trusted Christ as my savior.
  • I want to be baptized.
  • I want to join this church.
  • I am rededicating my life to the Lord.
  • I am willing to give up my firstborn son to the will of God.

Fortunately, God had other ideas. After Abraham passed this unspeakable test of faith, that previously-mentioned angel did something interesting – he restated the original vision.

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me” (Genesis 22:15-18).

These are covenant promises the Lord had spoken before. But now they had an entirely new meaning. The Lord was committing Himself to Abraham with just as much abandon as Abraham had shown to God.

What God Does With Your Surrender Points

If surrender were a punctuation mark it would be a comma or semicolon, not a period.  Your points of surrender, large and small, are responses to the call of the Holy Spirit, just as Abraham’s was. And with your expressions of faith and submission to the prompting of God, one of three things happens.

1. Some things die.

Let’s do be clear. Some things you “bring to the altar” are being brought to a place of death. That godless attitude or habit, that point of rebellion against God, that idol you have created in your heart?  In all of those and more, surrender is a funeral service, and you are the guest of honor. In Abraham’s case, surrender meant leaving his entire old life behind. What does it mean for you?

2. Some things are shelved.

With some of our moments of surrender, if the Lord put his reply in English, it would be something like, “Good. Now let’s just put this on a shelf for a while and wait and see what happens.”  Here, like in Abraham’s back story, what you are surrendering to is a process of waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting some more. And the test involves giving God time to finish what He started.

3. Some things are re-imagined.

This is where it really gets interesting.  In Abraham’s case, the Lord in essence said, “Now that we have that out of the way, let me show you just how vast the promise and vision of God are for you.”  Why was it so important for Abraham to endure such a test?  Because the more vast the vision, the greater the demand for a pure heart.

That’s true regardless of the field of endeavor, but it is most true in the spiritual realm.  Double-minded people are unstable, and in God’s economy there is only room for one Lord.  But with that settled, the world continues to explode to this day with the descendants of Abraham’s physical life and his faith.

Clearing Out the Logjams

Think of your points of surrender as God’s way of clearing out the logjams that block the flow of your life toward its truest purpose.

It’s a demolition act – blowing up resistance.

It’s maintenance – pulling weeds or digging up rocks, to use a farming analogy.

It’s a test to see what’s really in your heart and where we go from here.

Can you do that in a church service?  Absolutely.  But don’t assume you’re done when you hit the parking lot.  You’re just getting started.

In the meantime, maybe it’s time to take a hard look at some of those logjams in your life.  What’s blocking you?  What’s your surrender point today?

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