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Rick Warren
Spiritual Life

Read The Heart of Worship, Part One

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DISCIPLESHIP

The Heart of Worship, Part Two

By Rick Warren
Pastors.com

CBN.com -- The Blessing of Surrender

The Bible is very clear about how we benefit when we worship God through surrender:

  • The struggle ends and you experience peace. "Stop quarreling with God! If you agree with him, you will have peace at last, and things will go well for you."

  • You begin to really live the life God intended. "Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live."

  • You are set free, liberated from self -preoccupation. "Offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you've let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you've started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!"

  • God is able to use you in great ways. Why did God choose Mary, of all women, to be the mother of Jesus? She was totally surrendered to God. When the angel explained Gods improbable plan, she calmly responded, "I am the Lord's servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants." Nothing is more powerful than a surrendered life in the hands of God.

  • God can trust you with his power. The paradox of surrender is that it produces power and victory. Stubborn temptations and overwhelming problems can be defeated by Christ when given to him.

As Joshua approached the biggest battle of his life, he encountered God, fell in worship before him, and surrendered his plans. That surrender led to a stunning victory at Jericho. Surrender doesnt weaken you, it strengthens you. Surrendered to God, you dont have to fear or surrender to anything else.

William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army said, "The greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender."

Why surrender?

Because you belong to your Creator

God has a right to direct your life. "We are not our own bosses to live or die as we ourselves might choose."

Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us, and we belong to him.

Because Christ bought you with his sacrifice

The Bible says, "He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." When you surrender to Christ, you fulfill the very purpose he died for - not just to save you from hell, but also to save you from self-centeredness! We Christians do not live for ourselves, but for their Savior.

"At one time you surrendered yourselves entirely as slaves to impurity and wickedness for wicked purposes. In the same way you must now surrender yourselves entirely as slaves of righteousness for holy purposes."

Because God modeled it first

He took the initiative, surrendering Jesus for our benefit. "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son..." Our surrender is the only reasonable response to that kind of love. You cannot love Christ without surrendering to him.

Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.

Everybody surrenders to something or someone in life. If not to God, youll surrender to popular opinion, to money, to resentment or fear, or to your own pride, lust, and ego. We were designed to worship something - and when we fail to worship God, we create gods (idols) to surrender ourselves to. E. Stanley Jones said, "If you don't surrender to Christ, you surrender to chaos." You are free to choose what you surrender to, but you are not free from the consequences of that choice.

So give yourselves completely to God.

Surrender is not the best way to live; it is the only way to live. Nothing else works. All other approaches lead to frustration, disappointment, and self-destruction. The King James Version of Romans 12:1 calls surrender "your reasonable service." The Contemporary English Version translates it "the most sensible way to serve God."

Surrendering your life is not a foolish emotional impulse but a rational, intelligent act, the most responsible and sensible thing you can do with your life. Your wisest moments will be those when you say yes to God.

So we make it our goal to please him...

Sometimes it takes years, but eventually you discover the greatest hindrance to Gods blessing in your life is not others, it is yourself - your self will, stubborn pride, and personal ambition. You cannot fulfill Gods purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans.

If God is going to do his deepest work in you, it will begin with this. So give it all to God: your past regrets, your present problems, your future ambitions, your fears, dreams, weaknesses, habits, hurts, and hang-ups. Put Christ in the drivers seat of your life and take your hands off the steering wheel. Dont be afraid; nothing under his control can ever be out of control. Mastered by Christ, you can handle anything.

I am ready for anything and equal to anything through him who infuses inner strength into me. I am self-sufficient in Christs sufficiency.

You may worry, "What if I stumble or relapse?"

If? You will stumble in pleasing God! No one can live a perfectly surrendered life except Jesus. But God has provided for the inevitability of your sin:

"If you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who pleases God completely."

Pauls moment of surrender occurred on the Damascus road after he was knocked down by blinding light. For others, less drastic methods are needed to get our attention. Regardless, surrendering is never just a one-time event. Paul said, "I die daily."

There is a moment of surrender and there is the practice of surrender, which is moment-by-moment and life-long. The problem with a living sacrifice is that it can crawl off the altar, so you may have to re-surrender your life fifty times a day. Its a daily habit:

If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing to give up their lives daily to follow me.

Let me warn you: When you decide to live a totally surrendered life, that decision will be tested. Sometimes it will mean doing inconvenient, unpopular, costly, or seemingly impossible tasks. It will often mean doing the opposite of what you feel like doing.

Those who live by their natural inclinations can never be pleasing to God.

We are, by nature, self-centered. When hurt by someone, your natural inclination is to hurt back. It is natural to hoard money instead of generously sharing it, to defend yourself when criticized, to hide your mistakes instead of confessing them, and to try to impress others. You can usually figure out what will please God by doing the opposite of your natural inclination.

Bill Bright founded Campus Crusade for Christ. Through Crusade staff around the world, the Four Spiritual Laws tract, and the Jesus film (seen by over one billion people), over one hundred fifty million people have come to Christ and will spend eternity in heaven.

I once asked Bill, "Why did God use and bless your life so much?" He said, "When I was a young man I made a contract with God. I literally wrote it out and signed my name at the bottom. It said From this day forward, I am a slave of Jesus Christ."

Have you signed a contract like that? Or are you still arguing and struggling with God over his right to do with your life as he pleases?

It is time to surrender -- to Gods grace, love and wisdom.

Read The Heart of Worship, Part One

This article originally appeared in Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, a free, email newsletter available from pastors.com. Used by permission.

The Ministry ToolBox is for ANYONE serving Jesus Christ. For a free subscription, you can sign up at www.pastors.com.


Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA., a congregation that now averages 16,000 in attendance each weekend. Rick is also author of "The Purpose Driven Church," and founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for those in ministry. You may reprint this article in your publication with the following attribution: From Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, a free weekly e-newsletter for those in ministry, www.pastors.com.

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