When I became a Christian I thought that the battles of addiction would be my biggest struggle. Addiction to booze, drugs, porn, you name it and it was an issue. But that wasn’t the case. My desires for those things simply didn’t weigh as much as I thought they would. My biggest struggle was, and still is, myself. Trying to take my eyes off of myself and focus on Jesus Christ has proven to be one of the biggest challenges of my life. I’m selfish. I’m inconsiderate. I’m impatient. I’m human. The bible says in Luke 9:23 NLT, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me.” Jesus calls us to die to ourselves and He calls us to do it daily. This has been weighing on me for a while now. Every sermon I watch, every book I read, every verse, every song, is telling me to surrender. Why is this so hard? If I take a step back and really look at why I don’t just give in to the call of surrender, the answer is simple and heartbreaking. I don’t trust Jesus. I don’t trust the fact that He truly knows what is best for my life. I don’t trust that He WANTS what is best for my life. So many times I will hear the Holy Spirit speaking to me, telling me the next steps I should be taking, but I choose to ignore it. Why? Jeremiah 29:11 NLT says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” The Lord Himself has told us, promised us, that He has plans for good! Why do so many of us refuse to believe this? We believe that He was raised from the dead and will save us from an eternity in hell, but we don’t fully surrender our lives to Him. I have been living a life of partial surrender for too long. It’s exhausting, it’s frustrating, and it has been my stumbling block for long enough! I’m tired of pretending that I know better than God. From now on, and I encourage you as well, I will start my day off with a prayer of surrender. A prayer that will empower me to live out Galatians 2:20, “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” I surrender Lord, I surrender.
I woke up this morning and was planning on doing my bible study while my son eats breakfast and watches cartoons like most mornings. After realizing I left my bible in my wife’s car, I’m being forced to use her pink “Busy Mom’s Bible”. I was planning on finishing up 2 Corinthians today but as I flipped through this pink mom bible, I came to Luke 11. The heading of the chapter says, “Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer”. I have yet to read Luke but something kept telling me that I should check this chapter out. It occurred to me while reading this, that there’s a lot of people out there that may not even know how to pray. Some may think the only way to pray is on your knees with your hands together and your eyes closed. I personally don’t think there is any specific way of prayer. If you are talking to God, I assure you, He is listening. Whether it’s on your knees with your eyes closed, or driving in your car, He hears all prayers. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray in chapter 11 of the book of Luke, Jesus replied in verse 2, “He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'” I don’t think we need to just repeat this verse over and over again, day in and day out, but I do think it is a foundation for what all of our prayers should be like. For me, prayer is a form of communication with God. I want to have a strong relationship with God, and the only way to build a strong relationship with someone is to spend time with them, talk to them, get to know them. Sometimes I pray for little silly things like, “Please God, don’t let us be late, again!” But I have been trying to make it a point to take time out of the day and really pray. On my knees, hands crossed, eyes closed, serious prayer. Luke 11:9 NIV says, “So I say to you: ASK and it will be given to you; SEEK and you will find; KNOCK and the door will be opened to you.” I spend that quiet prayer time asking God for guidance, knowledge, courage, strength, wisdom, endurance, and so much more. But after that quiet time of asking, that’s when I start SEEKING. That’s when I start KNOCKING. I honestly don’t think it’s enough to just pray, we have to get out there and SEEK, we have to KNOCK. Jesus didn’t just sit back and pray, He was a man of action! I think prayer gets tossed around a little too much today. We hear the prayer requests at church and we say, “We need to pray for them.” Prayer is powerful, don’t get me wrong, but if someone has a need that you can fulfill, why sit back and pray for it when you could be the answer to that very prayer? We have to take action! I hear “ask and you shall receive” all the time, but we tend to leave out that “seek and you shall find” part. It requires us to do something, to step out of our comfort zone. I’ll admit, it’s not always easy. It’s far easier for me personally, to sit here and type out this message than it would be for me to get up in front of a group of people and say it, or even to witness to someone out in everyday life. Just yesterday I had the perfect opportunity to witness to someone and I just sat there. I heard the voice in my head telling me exactly what to say, and I froze. Oddly enough I was talking to someone about the possibility of zombies after the rapture, when a waitress came up thinking we were talking about The Walking Dead tv show. Instead of using that opportunity to talk about Jesus or ask her if she went to church, I just said it was an awesome show. I chickened out. I froze up. It’s been bothering me ever since. So, for those of you that are reading this I have a prayer request. Pray that I have the courage to listen to that “voice” in my head. Pray that I can break through my comfort zones. For my readers, I pray that you also have the courage to do more than just pray. I pray that you take action. I pray you seek. I pray you knock. Luke 11:10 NIV, “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”