I awoke this morning and began my day my favorite way: a Bible in my lap, my journal, two devotional books, a pen, and a study book.
I kept it simple this morning: read from the two devotional books, glanced at the study book and closed it back up, read a chapter in II Corinthians, prayed, listened for what God wanted to teach me, and then journaled some thoughts.
These are the simple but profound truths, I believe, He wanted me to hear from Him today (Journal Entry):
I prayed to surrender myself to God for the start of the day. Felt the Lord challenging me, “Are you surrendering yourself to me? Then why are you holding onto your cares?” (I was stressing over some concerns for my day — wondering how I was going to accomplish everything I need to do today.)
The theme of my life in 2015 seemed to be surrender — learning the profound and beautiful truths of surrendering to God — what that looks like and how it happens.
I try to start my days with a simple prayer, telling God that I surrender myself to Him, to be used by Him, and to be empowered by His Presence as I go about my day.
God, though, this morning was challenging me that when I am worrying, stressing, fearing, I am not surrendered.
To surrender is to let go.
How do I let go of those things that worry me? The question is, “Why do you feel you need to hold onto those things?” If you are holding onto something, you are in essence believing that you have to protect that thing, that you can’t trust those things with anyone else — even more importantly, with God.
To surrender is to trust in the all-sufficiency of Christ.
A thought that stood out to me in my one devotional this morning was the idea of contentment and how that relates to trusting in Christ’s sufficiency.
Here’s what I journaled:
At the heart of a lack of contentment [and fear] is not understanding or believing in the sufficiency of God — His provision, protection, presence, power, and peace.
That’s it, isn’t it?!!
Contentment comes from a personal belief in the sufficiency of God — that He is the Great “I Am”! He revealed Himself to the Israelites as the “I Am,” meaning, “Everything they needed, He is and will provide.”
God directed me to read from the following passage in Scripture:
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I feel this was God’s personal encouragement to me, following a heart cry for Him to deliver us from some present trials. I knew the lie was coming that God wasn’t powerful enough, didn’t care enough, or my faith wasn’t enough.
Instead, God led me to the truth in this Scripture. God spoke the following thoughts to my heart:
As I was reading II Cor. 12:9-10, I felt God was showing me that in the areas He answered my requests with a “no” — in regards to my own weaknesses and some personal challenges we are facing — that He was telling me it’s so that in our weaknesses we come to rely on His sufficiency, and we experience the intimacy of the personal reality of it.
Let me restate that…
In our weaknesses, we come to rely on His sufficiency, and we experience the intimacy of the personal reality of it.
Doesn’t that change the entire way we view our struggles, weaknesses, and trials? It doesn’t minimize our challenges, sorrows, and suffering, but it does give us the hope — that as our bodies grow weaker, our spiritual lives can grow stronger; as our circumstances grow more challenging, our spiritual lives can find greater vitality and fullness; and as earthly sorrows threaten to crush us, the immeasurable glories of the reality of the eternal can produce within us the peace and joy that passes all understanding.