Doesn’t surrender mean, “I lose?” I don’t like to lose.

knight2I want to fight!
I may not seem like a fighter, by nature, but I’m a passionate guy. So, I’ll make a stand if need be. I’m not always offensive..but I can certainly be defensive! However, there probably needs to be a healthy balance. Maybe not a complete balance. We might need to be heavier on the defensive but ready with the offensive. Kinda like Christian Karate!
Preparing for the Life’s Healing Choices campaign at Eastridge, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the spiritual warfare that rages on when something HUGE is about to happen in Kingdom expansion.

No Kingdom ground is gained where it is not defended heavily by the enemy!

Paul addresses this warfare of the mind and soul in Ephesians 6 when he describes the “Armor of God” as a:

  • belt of truth
  • breastplate of righteousness
  • feet fitted with readiness
  • shield of faith
  • helmet of salvation
  • sword of the Spirit.

Of the six items listed above, only one is used for offense. Therefore it appears that our main job (0ver 80%) in the fight is to defend ourselves and let our offense be the Spirit. That means that if we try to take on the enemy ourselves, in our own power, we are very likely to loose. Our job is to defend the attacks and lean on Christ for the victory. It kinda seems counter-intuitive to take the blows that the enemy hurls our way instead of actively fighting him off in the foreground. But that’s just it, WE cannot win the fight..we must become less and HE (Jesus) must become more. Our power to win isn’t really ours at all, but the power of the Spirit inside us.

Victory is in Surrender.

In order to gain victory over the enemy we must surrender..not to the enemy..but to God.

If we are wholly surrendered to the lordship of Jesus, allowing Him complete control, then His word is clear, “For when I am weak, THEN I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10). If I want to triumph over temptation and make wise life-healing choices then I must let Christ have control. This is my hope choice. Left to my own devices I will choose wrongly every time. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

Paul said it best, “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong..but I can’t help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things.” (Romans 7:15-17/NLT)

But there is hope! And that hope is in surrender. Surrender is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign that I am not in control and I need to give that control to the one who is more powerful. It is Christ in me..that is where my hope is.

“The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace..” (Romans 8:6)

“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” (Romans 8:9)

I want surrender to be normal in my life.

Lord, I surrender to You today. Let Your Spirit be my victor in every battle I face.

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  • This is just a general comment on the points made above. However, Trey brought in some new material that I think is very interesting. I think we should chase it around and see where it leads. I really wish we had a meeting place to discuss religious views. Regardless of whether one aligns themselves with an organized religion or not, even the abject humanist operates out of a faith based paradigm. In order to embrace Descartes (Empiric research), one will have to buy into the terms and conditions. Once done, everything works fine, just like any other religion. So I have a real problem when someone says that their “belief system” does not require faith.
    The other interesting perspective is that one would be ok with anyone, as long as they did not negatively impact others or society as a whole. The obvious question to me is this, “Where do we find this list of values?” Where does it begin?

    I find this type of dialogue tiring and rehearsed. It is not real or relevant. However, if I met one of you at a coffee house and was able to meet you and your family, spend some time in your world to really understand how you live. The exchange would be rich and very interesting. It must be said in an exchange like this, “I respect you and it is clear that though I do not agree with your worldview, the fact that your life reflects what you are saying makes me ponder.” You see many people espouse to ideas, but they do not live that way. In fact, nearly all people who say they are Christians do not really and truly believe in God. They may say they do, but they make choices that reflect more of a self-god. Many people who say they are atheists are not either. It is shock value for the most part. If I were an atheist I would not tell anyone. It requires so much proof. It seems one has to prove all other world views wrong to be able to hold the position. Instead what I see is a catch me if you can, or a canned message of “rationally convince me that God exists”. Prove to me what you believe is true and I may just come along.

  • Trey (the commenter),

    I appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts, as well as what I hope is your willingness to listen to other believers in Jesus. Trey (the blogger) made his points quite eloquently, so I’d like to add another book to the list of those Trey mentioned: The Language Of God by Dr. Francis Collins. (Sorry, I don’t know HTML well enough to provide the link, but you can find it on Amazon or Borders or pretty much any website that sells books…) Dr. Collins is a respected scientist — he headed the team that mapped the human genome — who is a former atheist and now a Christian. His story may resonate with you.

  • Trey

    Trey –

    We’re “friends” on Facebook because we have the same name. Oddly funny, but our views are completely different. I’m not posting any of this to condemn or belittle, so please don’t take offense, but I’d rather gain good discussion. I’m open minded to anyone living the way they want as long as it doesn’t negatively impact others or society as a whole. However, religion, in this Christianity, is poison.

    I don’t believe in God or any higher power or spirits or supernatural…you get the picture. Label me what you will: atheist, agnostic, nihilist, whatever. I’m just fascinated that, based on what you’ve written, you’re submitting to something that cannot be proven, is completely illogical, and just seems silly and poisonous to humanity. I’m not just calling out Christianity, but all religions. For the sake of this conversation the medium is obviously against Christianity. It’s odd that Christians place so much emphasis on Jesus being born from a virgin. Does it not cause you to lift an eyebrow when you read about the other virgin birth: the Greek demigod Perseus was born when the god Jupiter visited the virgin Danae; The god Buddha was born through an opening in his mother’s flank. Catlicus gave birth to the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli, Nana gave birth to the god Attis; A virgin daughter of a Mongol king give birth to Genghis Khan…I could keep going. What is the difference in Christianity? Nothing, as far as I can tell. This fascination with virgins is a bit confusing as well, why is a virgin better? Nonetheless, where does Christianity not seem fake or man-made to you? I don’t comprehend placing so much emphasis on preaching to the world with such egotistical vengeance. It’s as if Christians truly believe they have been set apart from the rest of society, spared and able to look down on the rest of the world. If God created the world and man in his image why didn’t he create an innate knowledge of himself? Why did he only select a few (Christians) that know the only thing that is truthful? Seems a bit biased and cruel. And just to bring up another point doesn’t it seem odd that in all religions women are put to the back seat? Why wasn’t Eve created in God’s image? Why is it not jumping out to Christians that if the Bible is correct Christianity is sexist; it correlates pretty well with societal norms against equality of women.

    – Trey

    • Well, I must admit, responding to Trey Bailey is just plain weird! But it is nice to be “friends” with someone with such a fine moniker.

      First things first, I LOVE THE COMMENT (and by no means am I offended.) I love this kind of discussion and am open to others opinions on any matter, especially religion. I am convinced that we make better decisions about tough issues when we hear all sides of the concern and have open, honest dialogue regarding the topic. So, let’s talk.

      You may be surprised to know that I struggle at times with some of the things you’ve mentioned. I like the scientific method and enjoy fact over theory and certainty over hypothesis. Things that are “provable” are always easier to believe. So, when it comes to the supernatural, the divine, I can struggle with 100% belief. I can’t physically see God with my eyes or even prove that he exists. And this can wreck havoc in my brain if I allow it. I can however see the affects of the belief of God in people’s lives, my own in particular. I feel like I am a better person (relative of course) and a better human because of my belief. Perfect, NO..better, yes.
      Much like my inability to physically see God, I also cannot see wind, but I can see the affects of the wind. I see trees sway to and fro in my backyard when a storm approaches. Now I could say that the trees just decided to move on their own power and completely deny that wind exists, but we both know that would be ludicrous (let me be careful here not to oversimplify this matter..my point is on perspective..I am not trying to be trite.)

      Now on the virgin subject..yeah that’s a weird one. I’m not sure why religions have such a connection to virgins. The only thing I can figure is that if a woman is a virgin and has never received the male fertilization AND has a child, either someone is lying about their virginity or it gives some credence to the divinity of the newborn child. I would suggest that that is the reason for the obsession with virgins. But that is not a theory from a scholar..just my humble opinion.

      “What is the difference in Christianity?” For this question I would point to history. If history is to be trusted, then we can validate with other sources other than the Bible, that a real man named Jesus of Nazareth existed, claimed to be God, had a band of followers, performed unexplained miracles, and believed himself that he was God so much so that he was willing to give his life for his belief. Now if Jesus was not really who he said he was, then I have a hard time believing he would’ve kept following that lie all the way through the torturous death he received (also validated by historians). At some point in the anguish and pain surely a sane man would have confessed that he was just pulling everyone’s leg. So in my estimation he was either true divinity and the Son of God or the biggest kook that ever walked the earth. And of course you know my position here..and that is why I can believe in him (and I do believe he endured that for me.) [A great book about this subject is The Case for Christ written by Lee Strobel. Lee was an atheist and a reporter for the Chicago Times. He set out to prove that Christ was a fake, and in his research and countless interviews his mind was changed. This book documents it and answers many historical questions much better than I could. I encourage you to read and see his perspective.]

      And to add to the “difference in Christianity,” the body or remains of Jesus have never been found. Many of the historical figures you mentioned above have graves and their bodies are laid to rest there. Jesus is different there too. Christians believe he is risen..adding to his divinity and mystery.

      Now about Christians and ultimately “the church”. Ugh. Many times I believe the biggest obstacle to Christianity are the Christians. We have historically been a foul bunch. The Crusades were a disaster. The church has been corrupt on many occasions and in many places may still be. Countless lives have been taken “in the name of God.” Even the televangelists have blackened the eye of Christendom. Unfortunately it is because we are not always the best representation of Christ. We blow it. We get it wrong all the time. And while I agree that many believers feel they are “set apart from the rest of society, spared and able to look down on the rest of the world,” there are also many who take a much more humble approach, filled with compassion and earnestly wanting to make a difference in our world. First by providing clean water to areas who have none (see The Water Project), or by sponsoring children who need basic living essentials like food, clothing, medicines (see Compassion International), and then sharing our message of hope. There are many people who are trying to make a difference in the immediate physical needs of people as well as caring for their spiritual needs too. But somehow we ALL get a bad rap and the church can often be to blame.

      Humans fill denominations with dogma and doctrine. They make up things and create rituals that make people “feel” a certain way because they’ve jumped through all the right hoops. It becomes something that I’m not sure God intended it to be. But it is fallible humans trying to make sense of God. When ultimately it comes down to an experience with Him. Similar to the healed blind man who when asked repeatedly how this happened he simply replies, “all I know is, I once was blind and now I see.” But the church oftentimes tries to put to much emphasis on procedures, dogma and doctrine and forget about the experience and the relationship. To some degree both are needed. Take a look at the way C.S. Lewis views it, from Mere Christianity (my most favorite book of all time:)

      In a way I quite understand why some people are put off by Theology. I remember once when I had been giving a talk to the R.A.F. (Royal Air Force) an old, hard-bitten officer got up and said, “I’ve no use for all that stuff. But, mind you, I’m a religious too. I know there’s a God. I’ve felt him: out alone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that’s just why I don’t believe all your neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who’s met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal!”

      Now in a sense I quite agreed with that man. I think he had probably had a real experience of God in the desert. And when he turned from that experience to the Christian creeds, I think he really was turning from something real to something less real. In the same way, if a man has once looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic, he also will be turning from something real to something less real: turning from real waves to a bit of coloured paper. But here comes the point. The map is only admittedly coloured paper, but there are two things you have to remember about it. In the first place, it is based on what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic. In that way it has behind it masses of experience just as real as the one you could have from the beach; only, while yours would be a single isolated glimpse, the map fits all those different experiences together. In the second place, if you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary. As long as you are content with walks on the beach, your own glimpses are far more fun than looking at a map. But the map is going to be more use than walks on the beach if you want to get to America.

      I do despise that we Christians get a bad name for the few that act out. Same goes for the “religious right.” Personally I am not a part of that sect. I believe like you in more personal freedoms and in a country where we have the freedom of religion. But that isn’t really what we are talking about, so, sorry for the aside.

      And I guess lastly, for now, I would point to Moral Law. There seems to be this innate “right and wrong” in nearly every society and every religion. From the earliest recorded history we see mankind observing some sort of Moral Law. Why? How are we all wired up to believe that murder is wrong, taking what does not belong to us is wrong, etc? And if you look back and observe that there is indeed this innate scale of justice then one must ask, Where did it come from? Liz Stinson explains C.S. Lewis’s take on Moral Law,

      In explaining how the Moral Law is unlike other laws of nature, such as gravity, which can only be obeyed (e.g., a rock cannot choose disobey the law of gravity). With Moral Law, a human can choose to disobey what the law requires. “The law of gravity tells you what stones do if you drop them; but the Law of Human Nature tells you what human beings ought to do and do not.” (Emphasis mine.)

      The point of this is to note that an external (non-human) entity could not learn about the Law of Human Nature by observing humans since we do what is contrary to that law, rather than what the law requires. Again, in contrast with other natural laws for which an external entity could learn about the law by observing the law in action. He uses this in working up the argument that there is a Rule of Right and Wrong which all humans are endowed with naturally; this Moral Law is not something we came up with but rather is something inherent to us. If you buy this much then you must wonder where this Moral Law came from, if not from we who experience it.

      So, that’s where I’ll end for now. With a huge recommendation for C.S. Lewis’s, Mere Christianity and Lee Strobel’s, The Case for Christ. Both incredible works by two great thinkers, both of whom have been hugely influential in my life and both of whom have been atheists. I welcome any push-backs and comments from those readings. And of course you’re welcome anytime to stop by and let me know what you’re thinking. This can be some good discussion.

      Thanks for even taking a second to read my ramblings..

      I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. -Lewis

    • This is just a general comment on the points made above. However, Trey brought in some new material that I think is very interesting. I think we should chase it around and see where it leads. I really wish we had a meeting place to discuss religious views. Regardless of whether one aligns themselves with an organized religion or not, even the abject humanist operates out of a faith based paradigm. In order to embrace Descartes (Empiric research), one will have to buy into the terms and conditions. Once done, everything works fine, just like any other religion. So I have a real problem when someone says that their “belief system” does not require faith.
      The other interesting perspective is that one would be ok with anyone, as long as they did not negatively impact others or society as a whole. The obvious question to me is this, “Where do we find this list of values?” Where does it begin?

      I find this type of dialogue tiring and rehearsed. It is not real or relevant. However, if I met one of you at a coffee house and was able to meet you and your family, spend some time in your world to really understand how you live. The exchange would be rich and very interesting. It must be said in an exchange like this, “I respect you and it is clear that though I do not agree with your worldview, the fact that your life reflects what you are saying makes me ponder.” You see many people espouse to ideas, but they do not live that way. In fact, nearly all people who say they are Christians do not really and truly believe in God. They may say they do, but they make choices that reflect more of a self-god. Many people who say they are atheists are not either. It is shock value for the most part. If I were an atheist I would not tell anyone. It requires so much proof. It seems one has to prove all other world views wrong to be able to hold the position. Instead what I see is a catch me if you can, or a canned message of “rationally convince me that God exists”. Prove to me what you believe is true and I may just come along.

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