Creating a Learning Network for Kingdom Builders!
Surrender- The practice of the presence of God- The key to the Kingdom of God- Paul Gordon Collier
Seeking after His presence can be most difficult when we are covered for a moment in sin, a sin that, as we look back at the moment we fell away from His presence and entered into the governance of the flesh, we can clearly see how the flesh darkened our reason in God’s way and set us on a path of destruction.
How do we pull from the sin, from the vortex of guilt and unforgiveness from within that sets us into doubt, invalidation, and weakens our commitment to follow His way from love borne through our experience of the cross?
We surrender. We are broken. We are men and women broken and torn in a sin that afflicts us all.
Tonight I live in the swill of the existential dross that seeks to make a home in my head, combating it not with will, with purpose, but with surrender renewed, a surrender we renew daily, hourly, minute by minute in our lives, a surrender to His love, coming back, after each transgression, again and again to the forgiving Father who has never left us, who remains ever vigilant, waiting for our face to turn back to Him.
To pause, to catch your breath for another surrender is the only path to Life.
Surrender leads to His work, not yours. Surrender leads to connecting when you want to retreat, and it His will, His effort that connects, not yours. Surrender is giving, is serving, when you want to satisfy yourself, and it is His will, His work that serves, that gives, not yours.
It is written in Matthew- 4:8-10: Next, the Devil took Jesus to a very tall mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory which was in them. The Devil said to Jesus, "I will give you all these things, if you will only bow down to worship me." Then Jesus said to the Devil, "Go away, Satan, because it is written: `You must worship the Lord your God. Serve only Him.´"
Worship is to surrender, to be overcome with His presence and submit to His will. Worship is the act of serving Him. But how do you serve a master who has all power, all presence, all knowledge? You can only serve a master such as that by submitting to Him, so that His power, His work is done through you. This is how He loves you and how He knows you can only experience His love, to be surrendered to His glory. He needs you because He loves you. His will can be done without such a broken, worthless person such as you or me. His work is done through us out of grace and mercy and love, so that we might know Him and see Him daily in our lives, walking and working, the vital, living Lord who is always loving, always wanting His children to turn to Him and see His glory.
Jesus describes to Satan the true Kingdom of God, the domain, the heart of the ones who worship and serve their Lord only.
To be kingdom-focused, is to be focused on submitting, surrendering to Christ daily, hourly, minute by minute, to be led in His path, a joyful vessel the Lord blesses through the work He does through your wretched, broken frame.
Luke 17:20-21 Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, "When will the kingdom of God come?" Jesus answered, "God's kingdom is not coming in such a way that you will be able to watch it. People will not say, `Look, God's kingdom is here!´ or, `There it is!´ No, God's kingdom is inside of you."
The Kingdom of God is our surrender to Him, in love.
What is the fundamental impediment to the Kingdom of God emerging here on earth, albeit never fully realized until Christ’s return? Surrender, in love and fear.
Fear the Lord if you are not surrendering to him, for, as David Wilkerson said in a famous sermon on Anguish, “He means what He says”. To not surrender to the Lord is a path that leads to death, and though you proclaim with your lips “yes, Jesus is Lord”, and you testify with your wallet every Sunday, “Jesus is my treasure”, your daily action surrender to Him tells more than testimony, more than tithes, more than service at your local church, more than your five minute bible readings every morning.
If you love and fear the Lord, then you will be in a perpetual state of surrender. If you are in a perpetual state of surrender, His way, His path will emerge in all you do. Christ will reign in your living room. Christ will reign wherever you are, so long as you surrender.
And you will transgress, you will look away from Him, but He will always be there, waiting for you to look back to Him.
I exhort anyone who is reading this to seek first the kingdom, which is your surrender to Him. Do this, and you will find He does your work, compelling you to connect in authentic Christ-centered love with those He puts before you. And He will keep connecting, the kingdom then emerging from our Christ-centered connections, the kingdom emerging from His work, His giving, His service, His sacrifice, of which we are blessed to see these works, these sacrifices, these surrenders manifest through our broken, wretched selves not because we EARNED these gifts, but because His grace covers us in His love and mercy, pouring out through the comforter, His Spirit, He has left for us, to walk beside us as a guide as real and as vital as when Jesus himself walked beside his followers and guided and loved and made disciples of broken fishermen and tax collectors and prostitutes.
The kingdom of God is not a complicated thing, it is a surrender, so surrender today, and 5 minutes from now, and five minutes from now. When you look away from Christ, and you will, for only Christ knew no sin, turn back to Him in repentance and surrender again, broken, grieving, but forgiven, redeemed, glorified in and through His undeserved love and grace.
The Kingdom of God is at hand and you are called to be one of His living stones. Seek first the kingdom, surrender to Him and trust where He leads you. The work may look difficult, may seem impossible in human terms, and it is, for He has designed a kingdom that no man can build, only He can build through surrendered, broken bodies that are raised up in His glory to be living stones that owe their strength, their power to the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
His will points to deliberate, daily, hourly, minute by minute commitment to an intentional life in Christ. His path will look difficult, impossible with human eyes still socketed in their fleshy limitations. His path will lead to suffering and persecution and invite drama and intrigue, division and war from within our own families- but He tells us this from Matthew 11:26 -30 Yes, Father, I praise You, because this is what You really wanted to do. "My Father has given me all things. Only the Father knows who the Son is. And only the Son knows who the Father is. The only people who will know about the Father are those people whom the Son chooses to tell. "You are tired and have heavy loads. If all of you will come to me, I will give you rest. Take the job• I give you. Learn from me because I am gentle and humble in heart. You will find rest for your lives. The duty I give you is easy. The load I put upon you is not heavy."
It is easy, because the yolk He gives you, He carries for you. So go forth and seek the kingdom of God, surrender, and let Him reign supreme in your life. Let Him guide your relationships to the body of Christ around you and to the lost sheep He sends your way. We are all of us Peter who so often deny Him when we turn from Him and follow after our flesh. Jesus had to pray to keep Peter from being harvested by Satan and the comforter, the Holy Spirit does that work for us as well. But Jesus forgave the repentant Peter and told him “feed my sheep”.
And so we are told as well, “Feed my sheep”, by Christ. There is only one lasting food, it is the body and blood of Christ, and you can only partake of it when you surrender to Him not once, not twice, but over and over again, as Peter did, as we all must do, we who love and fear the Lord our God.
If you have surrendered to Him, make it a surrender everywhere you go, at home in your living room, with your children, with your husband, with your wife. Surrender to Him at work with your brothers and sisters and Christ and with the lost sheep He will put in your way. He will carry your burden, your yolk. Nothing is impossible for Christ, no busy schedules, no uncertainty on how we connect can stand up to His power, His will to work through our wretchedness so that we grow, through death in this life and Life in what’s to come, closer and closer to Him, the King who calls us to be His domain, His living stones, surrendered in the Kingdom of God.