Stress and Surrender
Stress and Surrender
Many today are finding themselves under stress, and pressures they never thought they would encounter. Financial stress, health dangers, relationship stresses, job stress, unemployment, emotional stress...... The tensions of life have been tough on many people, all of them magnified during the coronavirus pandemic. The tensions of life can lead to breakdown, strained relationships, a lack of peace, and health problems.
But there is a way to come out from under the effects of stress: stress and the pressures of life can be released through surrender. "Letting go" is one of the most healthy things you can do. It leads to an inner peace, a release of pressure, a new freedom. "Letting go" ultimately leads to a peace and freedom beyond anything that you or I have yet experienced.
There is a great release in realizing that you do not have to "hold your life together." There is a great release in realizing that you do not have to scheme and strive and pull strings to keep your life manageable. There is a great release in realizing that the universe does not revolve around you or I. You do not have to hold the universe (or even your own life) together. The universe does not revolve around you or me, and so it would be unnatural, unhealthy, for you to try to run the universe or even your own life.
The problem is that many people live as if life revolved around them - their ideas, plans, or needs. Unknowingly, they fall into a trap, because if a person lives as if life and the universe revolves around himself or herself, then "self" will be at the center. When "self" is ruling a person's life, that person will find that happiness and peace escapes him.
This explains why so many rich and famous people cannot find happiness through money, power, fame or fortune. Because "self" is at the center of their life, they cannot find true happiness or peace - only temporary pleasures that lead to dead-ends, dissatisfaction or addiction.
Average people face the same issue of "self," but often it is the problems and difficulties of life that keep a person struggling to stay in control, to stay "in charge," and live life by one's own strength.
But there is a much greater strength, the Strength of Another - the one who truly does run the universe. The loving God who holds the universe together has a personal concern for you, and He alone has the power and love to manage and guide your life. The loving God alone has the power and wisdom to guide your life and bring you into peace.
This God of love comes to you in the person of Jesus Christ. So the only safe and right surrender is to surrender your problems to the One who gave His life for you: the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only true image of God, who has come to us in the flesh. He gave His life for you on the cross to cleanse you, and to lead you to the true center: the heavenly Father who truly does love you and rule over all things. Jesus said it clearly: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me." (John 14:6).
There are ultimately two great pulls in the universe; one is the pulling force of self: this is a life that revolves around self in it's various forms. A life that revolves around self includes a life that is centered on selfish pleasures; but it can also include someone who is struggling to stay "on top of things," trying to stay in control, in this difficult and unpredictable world. We just weren't meant to be "in charge" of things here.
The other great pull is the God of love who created the universe, the living God who became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. God came to us to reveal Himself to us. He revealed Himself as a loving and compassionate Savior. Only He is qualified to guide our lives. Only He is qualified to reign in our hearts. He leads us away from the reign of "self," and into the rule of love.
If you look to religious people for clues about a God-centered life, you will find some disappointments. Just because a person is "religious" doesn't mean that their life is truly centered on the God of love. Some people remain at the center of their own life, while they talk of God or religion. If a person has obvious moral flaws or wrong behavior, or distorted concepts of God, that person has not come to a true surrender to the God of love. Religious people who still have "self" at the center of their life actually turn many people away from the loving God of heaven.
Therefore, rather than looking to people and their failures, look to Jesus Christ. He died for us, not when we were good and noble, but while we were still trapped under the rule of "self." He died for us to cleanse us and forgive us and heal us. He did this while we were still preoccupied with "self," and sin. (All types of sin are just the expression of selfishness, in one form or another- so Jesus died to cleanse us from all forms of selfishness, and to restore our focus on the love of the Father). Believe in Jesus and allow Him to restore you to a life centered on love for God, and a genuine love for people.
"Letting go" is healthy, because it is based on the truth: God is the one running the universe, not you or I. "Letting go" is when you allow God to be at the center of your life, rather than yourself. Letting go is also when you allow Him to be in control, in all the specific areas of your life. This takes your focus off of yourself and places it on the God of love and compassion.
You and I were not meant to be at the center of the universe, or even to be at the center of our own lives. We were meant to have the loving God at the center of our lives. When He is truly at the center, everything else takes it's rightful place in our lives. Then we love God, and we love people, each in their rightful place and way.
ULTIMATE SURRENDER AND DAILY SURRENDER
The ultimate surrender is when you surrender your life fully to God. He becomes the center of your life, and you love people and use your talents and abilities for the glory of God. This is a once - and - for - all decision. Even after you make that decision, however, there are the many daily surrenders, where you turn your problems and burdens and concerns over to God, to let Him handle them. There are many daily reminders that God should be the one running the universe, not you or I. Surrendering, "letting go," allows the peace of God to rule in your heart during the daily challenges.
A comparison can be made with marriage: at the altar a man and woman exchange vows, and give their lives to one another. That is a decision, a commitment, a surrender of two people's lives to one another. But in marriage there are also many daily surrenders, when a man and woman seek to please each other and set aside any selfishness.
It is the same way with our relationship with the God of love. There is the initial surrender of your life to Him. Then there are the daily surrenders, where you learn to walk with God and allow Him to guide your life. In this relationship of love, God works with you and through you, to bring His love to people around you. In the challenges you face there is a new strength, and a deeper peace.
This does not mean life will be totally stress free - and actually, a totally stress free life would end up being boring. Following Christ is an adventure, complete with challenges, difficulties, and times of testing, as well as the growth of character, wisdom, and love. Jesus uses stress in our lives in a way that is similar to the way that a coach uses stress for athletes. Jesus uses stress in a positive way in our lives to build strength and endurance and to enlarge our capacities for love, courage, and faith. But this still requires turning stresses over to Him, when they become unhealthy or impair the freedom we should have in our life in order to love God and love other people.
Talking with the God of Love
In your relationship with the God of love, it is crucial that you allow Him to be at the center of your life, guiding and directing you. This happens as you allow Him to rule and reign in specific situations. Praying includes asking Him into each situation, to guide and direct you. It also includes asking for wisdom, and believing that God will impart wisdom to you.
Growth as a Person
As you grow in a true relationship with the Lord, He will call you away from the path of self-centeredness, and He will call you into the path of genuine love: using your gifts and giving your life to serve others.
Releasing stress to God is one of the great privileges of the God-centered life. "Letting go" and letting God have control is simply the recognition of the truth - the truth that God is ultimately in control. And He has promised to guide and direct those who let Him have control of their lives. Not only that, but He has promised to take the burdens and cares of His people upon His own shoulders. Scripture says, "Cast your burdens upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7).
God comes to fill you with His presence, His precious Holy Spirit. This leads you away from self, and to the outflow of genuine love. The selfishness that is prevalent in the human race is obvious, and is the source of the majority of our problems. God's strategy to change this starts by giving you a new nature when you surrender your life to Jesus Christ.
He then comes and fills you with His Holy Spirit, to lead you away from the trap of "self," into an outflowing of love from your heart. This outflow of love and compassion is one of the sure signs of a child of God, who has been filled with God's love. 1 John 4:19 says, "We love because He first loved us." And in 1 John 4:7 it says, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." You must follow Christ, down the path of genuine love.
The Apostle John goes on to say, "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested to us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the payment for our sins."
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit."
"And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him." (1st John 4:8-16).
The following prayer is an example of a prayer of surrender. If you truly are willing to surrender your life, the important thing is to pray from your heart, in a genuine surrender. Talk to the Lord until you are sure you have surrendered your heart and life to him.
A Prayer of Surrender:
I receive you, Lord Jesus, as the Lord and Savior of my life. I ask you to rule in my heart and life from now on.
I ask you to fill me with your loving presence, and guard me with your divine protection.
I ask you to strengthen me, and help me to live for you from now on. I ask you to fill me with love so that I can love other people with a pure love. And fill me with love so that I can love you, with all of my heart.
Lord Jesus, please fill me with your love, and wash away all my sins. I surrender my heart and life to you. I ask you to receive me and make me whole.
Thank you for dying on the cross for me, to cleanse me and forgive me. Thank you for dying for me, to make me a child of God. I turn away from my sins, with all my heart.
I surrender my worries and my fears, and my problems to you. I ask you to guide my life and provide for me. Help me to honor you always. Guide me in your ways. Amen.
The peace of God will come into your heart in an awesome way, as you let God guide and direct your life.
(1) You can deepen your relationship with the God of love by talking with Him every day in prayer. You will experience more and more of the love and compassion of God.
(2) You can find out more about God's love, and His purpose for your life, by reading His Word. You can download a free New Testament as a PDF file, at: http://www.mediafire.com/?o1gtbd1thtm
(Download the file, and then save a copy on your computer).
(3) Find fellow believers in Jesus Christ, who can help you and support you in your faith. You can go to the following site for further info, and click, "Yes I prayed the prayer" or "I still have questions" at the bottom of the page:
May God give you His strength always.
** For more information on the Christian life, you can go to additional web pages at: compassionheart.com
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