We all face temptations every day, and they come in various forms that all lead us to the same result if we give in – sin. I’m a sinner, and I know it. I need Jesus and His redemptive power and mercy that comes from knowing Him and being loved by Him. I need grace, and I try to offer it freely as well because I know how easy it is to mess up.
Pastor Chris Hodges once said, “temptation doesn’t test your self-control; it tests your relationship.” Man, that’s a hard truth to take in, but when I heard him say it again recently, it completely changed my perspective on sin and obedience.
The closer I get to God, the more I want to please Him. And the more I submit to Him, the more I’m able to see and appreciate the work that He’s doing in my life. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and I want to go deeper in my relationship with Him.
If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments. – John 14:15
I want to understand who He is, how He sees me, and what He wants from me on a moment-by-moment basis. I want to know Him more, and I want to reflect His image in everything I do. That requires obedience, and as I desire to grow closer to Him, I know it means that I need to surrender some areas of my life to Him that I haven’t fully given Him.
Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. – Proverbs 16:3
It’s so easy for me to turn to junk food when I’m tired, stressed, or rushed, and there are times when I wish I was hungry so that I could justify eating something. I’ve used food to fill a need (at least temporarily) that only Christ can satisfy, and while I eat smaller portions than I did, there are times when I just don’t need to eat. I know that I’m seeking something that food can’t give me, but I do it anyway, all while lying to myself about how I’ll do better later. This isn’t new to God, and He’s been so gracious in it. I’ve lost weight, gained it, and lost it again, and I know that the only way to walk in complete freedom from my love of food is to keep surrendering it to God day-by-day…moment-by-moment.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. – John 6:35
I’m pretty good at trusting Him with my finances most of the time, which seemed impossible before He changed my heart. There’s still work to be done in this area too, but I have such a different view on money than I did before I started asking Him to change my heart.
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! -Malachi 3:10
I also work differently than I did before, and I’m so thankful that I get to do the work that I do every day. It’s such a privilege to get to share the love of Jesus with people all day (mostly without saying a word about Him.) It’s also fun to help people take the first step (or the next step) in developing a new career or plan for life. It’s humbling to know that because of redemption that can only come from Christ, I get to work for Him. I love my office and the people in it, and I’m learning that there’s a difference between authority and influence and that I don’t have to be “a big deal” for God to use me for His purpose.
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. – 1 Corinthians 3:23
There’s so much that I could and should surrender to Christ, and I’m working on it. I love that I’m not where I was ten years ago, five years ago, or even one year ago, but I’m also comforted because I know that God’s still working in me, refining me, and changing my heart.
Are there areas in your life that you need to surrender to God?