The pursuit of God’s purpose for our lives is the commitment to a life of surrender. It will not be a one-off decision but a continuous decision to give God our all, our wholehearted commitment as long as we live.
When you relinquish the ownership of an item, a position or an opinion, you are no longer in control. We can’t claim to be under the absolute control of God’s Spirit but insist on living our lives however we want and outside God’s plans.
“A partial surrender is inadequate to lay hold of all God’s got in store. We can’t expect a full-time result from a part-time commitment.”
Other times, we claim to have surrendered our lives to the Lord but someone comes along and mocks our commitment or proposes an attractive alternative. We may also listen to the lies of the enemy that a surrendered life is an outdated concept and pursuing our selfish agenda should be our objective.
The journey to complete surrender begins when we acknowledge who is the source and in control of our lives. When the cry of our hearts resonates with the heartbeat of heaven, our focus is on what will last for eternity and not what’s temporal or fading. Our motivation is pleasing the Lord and not garnering the attention and applause of others. We don’t strive for earthly awards and medals but live for heaven’s applause.
When we surrender our hearts to the Lord, the overwhelming burden to succeed is replaced by His unusual grace to display His power and glory through us. We don’t depend on our limited strength and ability but look to His limitless and supernatural power that’s available.
A partial surrender is inadequate to lay hold of all God’s got in store. We can’t expect a full-time result from a part-time commitment. If you struggle with discovering or pursuing God’s purpose for your life, it’s time to check your heart, is your life wholly surrendered to the Lord?
A surrendered heart is:
Available & Willing: To be available implies that you are within reach, free to do something or you can rearrange your schedule to be used. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are unoccupied or idle and that those with busy schedules can’t be available. Many times, we claim that we are not available because the task is a lowly one or there isn’t a lot of profit in it for us. When we make a commitment to be available to fulfil God’s purpose, we are prioritising His plans over our own.
On the other hand, to be willing is to be eager and excited to do something. Our love for God is our motivation. We are enthusiastic about discovering and pursuing God’s purpose. Our willingness isn’t dependent on our ever-changing feelings but spurred on by God’s Spirit. Sometimes you may not feel like doing something at a particular time or with certain people but your love for God and a desire to be a part of what God is doing drives your willingness.
Some people are available but are not willing. They are vessels God can use but they lack the zeal and passion to begin and complete a task. Others are willing but not available. They are busy with so many other things and when we say ‘Yes’ to something, we are inadvertently saying ‘No’ to other things. As long as we pursue our agenda or keep up with other people’s expectations of us, we will have little or no time to seek and pursue God’s plans for us.
God doesn’t want us everywhere, doing everything and being all things to everyone but when the opportunity to serve Him comes knocking, we will be available and willing. Let’s never think that someone else will get the task done or we may have another opportunity later. Our attitudes to serve is different when we take the initiative rather than when we are compelled to serve. The results of the latter are not always the best. Let us ask God to give us a heart that is both willing and available.
Obedient & Faithful: Obedience is the prompt and specific response to a request. Partial or delayed obedience isn’t obedience. Many of us claim to obey God but we don’t respond immediately, we don’t do exactly as we’ve been told to do and not with the right attitude. And many people will receive no rewards for their service to the Lord because they didn’t do what and how God wanted it. We don’t pursue God’s purpose for our lives as a call of duty but from an overflow of love.
“When you relinquish the ownership of an item, a position or an opinion, you are no longer in control. We can’t claim to be under the absolute control of God’s Spirit but insist on living our lives however we want and outside God’s plans.”
Faithfulness is consistent obedience, not only when all is well but even when life gets rough and tough, not only when people are applauding but when pursuing God is no longer popular. Being faithful is being committed to God come what may. Faithfulness isn’t judged at the start of the race but at the end of the course. It’s great to get off to a good start but will you still continue to pursue God till the end of your life’s journey?
Sadly, some people may be obedient but they are not faithful. They are committed only for the short-term but not for the long haul. God hasn’t called us to be famous but to be faithful. If our lives will be purpose-driven, we have to obedient and faithful. If we are not obedient and faithful to the little tasks God entrusts to us, He will not give us more responsibilities. And those who are faithful are often fruitful, as they have consistently obeyed God’s instructions and they are focused on pleasing the Lord.
Humble & Teachable: Humility shouldn’t be confused with a low self-esteem or condoning mediocrity. Unlike pride, being humble means that you never forget whose you are and who gave you all you have. Humility is intentionally refusing to take credit for what God chooses to do in and through you. You don’t shine so others can see you but so they can see Jesus. It’s easy to be humble when we realize that our worth and identity comes from God and not from our talents or what we have accomplished.
To be teachable is to be apt to learn, to be flexible, to be willing to unlearn all that is ungodly and no longer adds value. Many of us claim to love and fear God but we hold on to certain beliefs and ideologies that contradict what we stand for. Many of the people who were mightily used by God were willing to lay frown their plans and ambitions, even when what God asked to do wasn’t great by all human standards.
A life of surrender is willing to learn, they don’t claim to have arrived or know it all. They have an open mind and are able to serve in any capacity and with whoever. They are teachable and are able to teach others. They refuse to hoard all the wisdom and knowledge that God has given them.
Hannah, who was the mother of the prophet Samuel is famously remembered for the vow she made to God when she was unable to conceive and bear children of her own. She had borne so much shame and ridicule as a result of this, but she discovered God’s purpose for her when she surrendered her right to have a baby and sought to be the vessel God could use.
“The journey to complete surrender begins when we acknowledge who is the source and in control of our lives.”
While Hannah desperately wanted a baby; God was looking for a leader for His people. When our desires align with God’s plans, our prayers will certainly be answered. When our desires align with God’s plan for our lives, then we have found the purpose we were made for. It’s no longer what we want but what God wants, not our will but fulfilling His will.
Hannah had been praying for so long. Eli the priest thought that she was drunk, but she continued to pour out her heart before the Lord. Then, she had a new perspective. She was no longer desperate for just a baby but for a child who would serve God all the days of his life. She surrendered her plans of building a nursery for him, attending his school events or sending him off to a prestigious college. Every parent looks forward to certain milestones and celebrations in their child’s life but not Hannah. She had given all that up to pursue God’s will.
And a surrendered life will look very different for all of us. Whether we are giving our time, talents, resources, position, influence, there is a price to pursue with full focus God’s plans for our lives. Your focus and priorities are different from everyone else. Hannah couldn’t participate in some discussions with her family and friends because her son was no longer hers.
I wonder if Hannah’s vow was a response to a request God made to her in her quiet moments with Him. The Bible is silent about this. But something happens to your heart, your priorities and ambitions, the longer we linger in God’s presence. She had been praying but her request was delayed but once her perspective and priorities were aligned with God’s will, her request was promptly answered.
A surrendered life is a reflection of your private and personal relationship with the Lord. It’s either real, genuine and authentic or it’s not. You don’t need any effort to live a surrendered life. You are constantly in touch with God as you listen and obey His prompts. And complete surrender may be a struggle for many of us because we are halting between two opinions: Laying down our lives on the altar and taking it back up again.
Hannah’s friends and family must have thought that she had lost her mind when she made that final trip to drop her young son off at the temple. But she knew she wasn’t just dropping her son off, but it was her commitment as a part of God’s greater plan for His people. And people may not understand why you do what you do and may conclude that your weird or bizarre actions will get you in more trouble but only you and God understand how your surrender is not only impacting the destinies of many but much more importantly, bringing Him glory.
Some of us are seeking to discover God’s purpose for our lives but we are still holding onto our version of what purpose looks like, we insist that following God must be on our terms or when it’s convenient. We continue to keep up with the ever-changing demands of our friends or the expectations of the society when God is calling us to pursue a higher purpose.
A purpose-driven life is a life that’s completely surrendered to the plans and purpose of God. Life is not about us or what we want to achieve or what we stand to gain but partnering with God’s Spirit to see His will accomplished on the earth though us. And when we surrender, we refuse to take the credit for what God does in and through us.