Ask. Seek. Knock.
Radical Love Involves Radical Surrender.
We are told that if we ask, seek, and knock, things will be given, found, and opened to us (Matt 7:7). But, are we knocking on the doors we want for ourselves, or those that are surrendered to God? Are we healing in faith and assured power, or hiding behind timidity and complacency?
Prayer takes the form of surrender:
Not my will, but yours be done. – Luke 22:42
It wasn’t Christ’s preference to painfully die on the cross, yet, he was surrendered. He asked, sought, and knocked, and all along gave the ultimate plan and decision back to the LORD. It’s as though we pray the Lord’s prayer asking for his will, all the while we are secretly hoping it will be our way. So, if we’re surrendering our own agenda and desires and emptying our vessels, this leaves room for the life, will, and breath of God to imbue us, and we live out of that.
Chasing the fruits of the spirit just gives us more of the stuff we’re hoping to replace. Chasing peace and joy, gives us more frustration and hopelessness because we can’t do it alone. It’s like chasing the end of the rainbow to find a pot of gold. But here’s the thing, rainbows are a promise, and they occur because of science: the refraction of light and water; both of these things Christ identified himself as. If we are to empty ourselves of “us,” and fill ourselves with rainbows (Christ) we don’t have to be chasing the golden fruits because our riches are stored up in heaven (Matt 6:19, 20).
And how does one so readily give up their own hopes and desires? Get to know your God better. The sheep hear his voice (Jn 10:27), and His voice is an exchange in prayer. If our will and voice is so loud we cannot hear His, we must be still and surrender our will.
In Ezekiel 37:3-4 God is asking Ezekiel to prophesy to a bunch of bones in a valley and bring them to life. These bones represent Israel in exile, and God was asking Ezekiel about them to bring them to life, to bring them back. Even after God asks him: Can these bones live? Ezekiel’s surrender and faith is this:
Oh, LORD God, you know.
This name LORD God is the combination of Yaweh and Addonai, the combination implying an intimate, yet supremely sovereign relationship. And the beauty goes even further; the pronunciation of Yaweh is thought to represent the sound of a breath, and in verse one of this same chapter, Ezekiel is brought to this valley of dry bones by the spirit of God, also translated as wind or breath of God. What if our communication with God, prayer, is the exhaling of our breath and the surrendering of our will to breathe and live in and out of His will? How often do we
(a) actually hear and follow our calling?
(b) give it back to God as Ezekiel did even after it was asked of Him?
What great nations would come back from exile if we prayed and surrendered ourselves to the LORD? What lives would our children and neighbors live if the breath of Yaweh filled our lungs ceaselessly? What if He was really as powerful as He said He is? What if He was really as faithful as He said He is? What if we were?
C.S. Lewis stated:
“I don’t pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.”
We are helpless outside of God, but in God we are strong, powerful, and loved.
Surrender in prayer, or in reverence as we see described in Hebrews 5:7. Christ is getting His prayers answered through surrender. That is what changes us. It changes us from the pride of thinking we own our lives, to the humility and power of knowing He owns our lives. It doesn’t change God, but it activates us inside of His will and goodness.
The Bride (Church) doesn’t need more programs and church services, she needs her breath back. We’ve been choked by complacency and comfort in our cozy mortgages with five different video streaming services. We talk to our children through social media outlets rather than face to face conversations. Body language is becoming a lost art. We don’t want to get too close or too messy because it hurts and it takes our precious idol of time away. Suicide rates in our country would probably decline if we turned off our TVs and digital games and sat in the dirt with others.
Everything outside of love, genuine, messy, intentional, hard love, is just a distraction.
Don’t let your breath of life be stolen. Take it back. Stop “letting other people handle it.” We have cash welfare and child protective services because the Church hasn’t stepped up and loved people hard and sacrificially. The modern day orphan is those whose parents are darkened by drugs, and the widow is the woman whose husband is in jail. The systems are taking our spiritual jobs from us. It’s the systems that are keeping us from loving, and we’re letting them.
God didn’t tell us to give to others if they [insert your criteria here]. He said to love unconditionally. As far as I know, that’s the radical part of Jesus; it’s the part we’re to be representing and living out.
In prayer and surrender, give everything back to God.
Fill your life with more of Him. Allow life to come back into the Body. Be counter-cultural, be different, be salty, Friends.
I’m an aspiring writer and follower of Christ who seeks to love the world one person at a time. I believe in the power of healing, the need for relationship, and the beauty of love. I live in Pendleton, OR and learning to trust God’s process of braiding my story.