JOURNEY TO FREEDOM HANDBOOK

UNIT II Key 6                                 SURRENDER

 Purpose of this Key:

  • Assess how much they have surrendered their self-will to the Lord.
  • Recognize that ssa/ma/tx overcomers often experience a season in their recovery during which they have left their sins behind but have not yet attained the blessings of freedom.
  • Become aware that many ssa/ma/tx overcomers call this a time of being “in the desert”. The fleshpots of Egypt have been renounced, but the farm in the Promised Land is not yet theirs.
  • Recognize this time as a normal stage of the change process and not to be feared.
  • Recognize that God meets us during times of struggle and blesses us as we lean harder on Him.
  • Recognize that during this time, the devil will try to tempt them by telling them that change is not possible.
  • Recognize that during this time, they will feel tempted to try to re-gain control of their lives.
  • Recognize that greater surrender is necessary so that they can gain greater freedom.
  • Recognize that God wants to change more than our sexuality. He wants to conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29 & 2 Corinthians 3:18).

 John 12:46

Common responses:

  • Jesus came to show us the right way to live.
  • He came to seek us when we were lost.
  • When we trust Jesus, we can surrender to His will.
  • When we live in Jesus, He delivers us from the darkness of sin.
  • The only way to God is through Jesus.
  • Jesus came to show us our sins and to show us His mercy.

Points to emphasize:

  • Nothing in us is capable of being convicted of sin, repenting, believing that Jesus made full satisfaction for our sins, or receiving forgiveness (Ephesians 2:1).
  • Salvation had to be brought to us from outside of ourselves by the Holy Spirit working through the Word (Ephesians 2:4-5).
  • When we believe in Jesus, we believe that He is holy and we are not.
  • Sometimes the first step of repentance is confessing that God is right and we are wrong.
  • Nothing in us is capable of surrendering our self-will to God. The will to surrender had to be brought to us from outside of ourselves by the Holy Spirit working through the Word.
  • Jesus was days away from the cross when He spoke the words recorded in John 12.

John 12:26

Common responses:

  • We must obey God and follow Christ’s example.
  • We must serve Christ by serving the less fortunate.
  • Obedience and service bring us closer to Jesus.
  • God will reward our service.
  • We will live with Him eternally.
  • Some note that the ssa/ma/tx lifestyle was self-centered.

Points to emphasize:

  • We do not serve God in order to receive a reward; we serve out of gratitude for the mercy He has given us in Christ.
  • However, we will receive rewards (Hebrews 6:10, Matthew 25:21, 23, & 34-40).
  • Our willingness to serve will be tested at times. The Christian life is a series of tests.
  • The more we serve, the more the challenges of service will expose our hidden sins so that we can confess them.
  • The more we confess our sins and are purged of them, the more free we are to be of greater service (2 Timothy 2:21).
  • Service must be done in self-sacrificial love (I Corinthians 13:1-3).
  • Jesus served us when He died for our sins.

John 12:36

Common responses:

  • We are to put all our trust in Jesus.
  • Now is the best time for us to surrender, and we should not procrastinate.
  • We need to stay closely connected to Jesus, our Light.
  • We need to imitate the Light and become more like Jesus.
  • The Word of God, written and preached, gives us light.

Points to emphasize:

  • The Holy Spirit shines His light into our darkest corners, exposing our sins so that we can confess them (I John 1:5-9).
  • He will shine His light on our secret agendas, hidden motivations, pride, deceptive thinking, and self-will (Colossians 1:13-14).
  • We need to repent as soon as the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins so that He does not withdraw from us (Psalm 51:11-12).
  • The more of the Holy Spirit’s light we accept, the more He will give to us.
  • He is kind and patient as He works in us (Romans 2:4 & John 3:17).
  • Total transparency before God is the secret of overcoming any sin, especially sins that are addictive.

Titus 3:3-5

Common responses:

  • We will change if we surrender our sins.
  • We did not earn our salvation; Jesus gives it as a free gift.
  • If we repent, we will be saved.
  • Many see a clear contrast between the life they used to live and the life they now live in Christ.
  • Jesus’ kindness and love show us the way.

Points to emphasize:

  • Nothing in us is capable of having faith in Jesus; faith had to be brought to us from outside of ourselves.
  • Real faith always leads to obedience.
  • Verse 3 describes us not only when we live in open sin but also when we try to earn our salvation through works (Luke 18:9-14).
  • Verse 3 lists sins of thoughts and deeds. Sins of thoughts lead to sins of deeds.
  • We can look good on the outside but be full of sin on the inside.
  • The God’s kindness rather than His Law cracks our defenses (Romans 2:4).
  • These verses also remind us to be patient when we witness to others.
  • After we have walked with the Lord for a while, we sometimes forget what we were like before we repented.
  1. On a scale of 1-10, how much have you surrendered to the Lord since you started the program? Please list some of the things you have surrendered.

Common responses:

  • Answers will vary. Numbers are usually high by this time.
  • Many have surrendered their bodies, their sex life, and their lust.
  • Many have surrendered anger, resentment, and aggression.
  • Many have surrendered ungodly relationships.
  • Many share a list of negative thoughts and attitudes that they have surrendered. Pride is often high on the list.
  • Some are learning to surrender their time and their future plans.

Points to emphasize:

  • Affirm anything they have surrendered, especially sins of the mind.
  • Jesus is delighted with even baby steps in His direction.
  • Never criticize low numbers or any difficulties that they confess.
  • Be mindful that surrender has likely been hard for them. An issue that is easy for one person to surrender can be much harder for another.
  • If they fail to mention things they had surrendered in previous Keys, remind them.
  • Assure them that God will reward any act of surrender.
  1. What are some things that have been hard to surrender?

Common responses:

  • Answers will vary.
  • Some have trouble surrendering lustful looks and thoughts. By now, most have stopped acting on these.
  • Some have trouble surrendering relationships, especially if they are seeking reconciliation with family members who refuse to respond.
  • Some share a list of negative thoughts that they are having trouble surrendering.
  • Some still have trouble forgiving certain people.
  • Some still want to control their future plans and their use of spare time.
  • Some find swearing or sexual talk to be hard habits to break.

Points to emphasize:

  • Never criticize any difficulties that they confess.
  • If lust is a problem, remind them to use memorized Scripture to stop the sexual thoughts immediately.
  • If their loved ones do not want to reconcile, find out if the overcomers have asked for forgiveness for their part of the conflicts. Remind them that trust takes time to be re-built. Encourage them to pray for the salvation of loved ones. Reconciliation cannot be forced; they need to focus on doing their part and leave the rest with God.
  • If negative thoughts are a problem, suggest that they ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the lies behind the thoughts. When lies are exposed and truth is spoken against them, the negative thoughts are more easily given up.
  • If they express difficulties with forgiveness, summarize what they have learned about forgiveness so far and ask if they are using what they have already learned. Suggest that they ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the lies that were injected into their minds when they were wronged. When those lies are exposed, we more easily forgive the liars.
  • Assure them that God can be trusted with their future plans and their time.
  • Swearing and sexual talk can be hard habits to break, especially if they have not yet learned other ways to talk. They can pray replacement prayers and ask God to show them better ways to talk.
  • The more we pray intercessory prayers for others, the better our attitude toward them will become.
  • Encourage the prayer of surrender: “Lord, do whatever You like with me, do whatever You want with me, do whatever You have to, do with me whatever it is going to take, to conform me to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29 & Galatians 2:20)”.
  • Otherwise, counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.
  1. What has helped you the most to surrender to God’s will?

Common responses:

  • Some now realize that obedience leads to freedom in Christ.
  • Some recall the problems that they had before they surrendered.
  • Many say the Word, prayer, the indwelling Christ, Christian fellowship, the examples of other believers, God’s promises, and the joy they find in Christian service.

Points to emphasize:

  • Affirm any Biblical response.
  • Be alert for any hidden legalism. Surrender must be in response to God’s mercy in Christ.
  • If they focus on the problems that they had before they surrendered, remind them that surrender cannot be based on fear. Surrender needs to be based on the Word, prayer, and confession of sin. Once the fear is gone, they will easily backslide if surrender was not in response to God’s mercy in Christ.
  • Affirm that the surrendered life is the easiest possible way to live, and that we are safest when we obey God’s will (John 10:10 & 2 Corinthians 5:7).
  • Experience is the only way to grasp this.
  • Faith becomes stronger as we are tested (Romans 5:3-5).

 What does Proverbs 25:28 say to you?

Common responses:

  • We need Jesus’ help to gain control over our sinful desires.
  • Surrendering to God’s will helps us to control our sinful desires.
  • Life without godly boundaries is dangerous.
  • The spirit must master the body.

Points to emphasize:

  • If we do not let God control our impulses, often other people will control them for us.
  • Society often tells us that we will gain more freedom if we ignore God’s boundaries.
  • Rebellion against God eventually leads to less freedom rather than more (John 8:34 & Romans 6:16-22).
  • Only the Holy Spirit can convince us that surrender to God’s will brings true freedom (Romans 8:5-9).
  • If we observe godly boundaries, God takes care of our boundaries with other people.
  • If we do not have godly boundaries, the enemy of our souls can do with us whatever he wishes (Romans 8:6 & 13).
  • Parents who cannot control their own emotions and behavior are usually unable to control their children and teenagers.
  • The more we let God control us, the more influence we often have.
  1. How well are you able to receive constructive feedback from other believers? Please see Proverbs 27:6.

Common responses:

  • Most acknowledge the value of constructive feedback from other believers.
  • Some express that they have made a lot of progress in this area.
  • Feedback is easier to accept from those who sincerely want to help, not harm.
  • Some realize that their pride is too easily offended.

Points to emphasize:

  • Affirm any willingness to accept godly feedback; it is a sign of spiritual maturity.
  • Affirm their need to discern the difference between those who want to help and those who want to harm.
  • People should not give reproof if they have not yet learned to accept reproof.
  • Reproof that leads to confusion may not be from God.
  • If uncertain, we can go before God and ask, “Is it true what this person said to me?” Then wait for the Holy Spirit to shine His light.
  • Godly reproof is given in a spirit of love and humility. Rather than attack, the person will seek to become your ally against sin and the devil.
  • If you are attacked, it is sin to attack in return. Go into your prayer closet and ask the Holy Spirit if there is any truth in what was said. Ask Him to speak His truth against anything that was a lie.
  • A false accusation is a form of satanic attack. Recognize it as such, rebuke the lies, and forgive the liar.
  • Godly reproof is not an attack. Spirit-led people are often given words and phrases that make their ideas easier to accept, and that only God could have given them.
  • Exhortation is a spiritual gift. Those who have it seek nothing for their own benefit. They speak kindly and graciously. Their words are life-giving.
  • Such people are a great blessing and should be thanked.
  • The conviction of the Holy Spirit will lead to peace with God if we repent; the accusations of the devil will lead to greater and greater torment (I Peter 4:7).
  • If we see a problem in someone else’s life, we should not assume that God has assigned us the job of speaking to them about it. Intercessory prayer should be our first response (I John 5:16).
  1. What is the reward of the surrendered life? Please see Hebrews 6:10.

Common responses:

  • Most realize that God rewards the surrendered life.
  • Some realize that they may have to wait for their reward until the next life.
  • Some realize that the surrendered life is a reward in and of itself.

Points to emphasize:

  • Emphasize that we do not do good works to earn a reward.
  • However, He does promise to reward the works done in response to His mercy (Matthew 25:21, 23, & 34-40 & Luke 6:38).
  • Obedience opens the door for more blessings.
  • The purpose of our work is to bring other souls to Christ so that they can receive the same mercy that we have received (Revelations 14:13).
  1. On a scale of 1-10, how victorious have you been lately? Please explain your answer.

Common responses:

  • Answers will vary.
  • By this time, the numbers are often at the high end of the scale.
  • Many have been able to overcome the sins of deeds. The sins of thought may still defeat them.
  • Some are getting victory over sins of thoughts and feeling much more free.
  • Many are learning to keep their focus on God and on memorized Scripture.
  • Some are gaining more insight into the lies that have fed their temptations.
  • Some are expressing disgust over the thoughts that used to arouse them.

Points to emphasize:

  • Encourage thanks and praise to God for any victory gained.
  • If the number is high because they have had very little temptation lately, encourage thanks and praise to God.
  • If the number is high because they had to fight a lot of temptation and were successful, encourage thanks and praise to God.
  • More tests will likely be put in their way, but future tests should not spoil their enjoyment of the victories they have had so far.
  • Avoid criticizing a low number. Try to find out the reason for it. Ask about their thoughts, attitudes, stressful situations, how they have been using their time, or if something unexpected has happened.
  • If they sin less frequently than before, assure them that God has been working in their lives. Encourage progress, not perfection.
  • If they have slipped, encourage them to confess it, accept God’s forgiveness, and get back on track.
  • Remind them that I John 1:9 and Romans 8:1 always apply.
  • Encourage them to retrace their steps and ask the Holy Spirit to give them insight into what weakness led to the fall.
  • Encourage confession of sins of thoughts (Romans 12:2), which makes it easier to avoid sins of words and deeds.
  • Continue to encourage them to use memorized Scripture to block tempting and negative thoughts. Encourage use of the Emergency Prayer.
  • If they view themselves as making very little progress, keep their focus on God’s mercy rather than their own failures.
  • New Christians do not always understand the difference between temptation and actual sin. Some give themselves a low number, but while the temptation was great, they may not have fallen into sin. Explain the difference to them.
  • If they have not had temptation in a long while, they might need to be aware that the devil does not give up easily and may be preparing a major attack. This possibility should not prevent them from enjoying their progress now. Overcomers commonly experience a major attack of temptation before getting the final victory over a besetting sin. If they withstand a big temptation, which can go on for days or weeks, they will usually find themselves that much stronger once it is over.
  1. On a scale of 1-10, how much memory work have you done?

Common responses:

  • Answers will vary.
  • By now, most people are memorizing and seeing benefits.
  • Even if they are not actively memorizing, verses may be staying in their minds from their Bible-reading.

Points to emphasize:

  • If the answer correlates with the number in #7, point out the correlation.
  • Encourage any memorization, especially verses that speak of God’s mercy and promises.

3)   Verses that only condemn sin are not helpful. Verses that give the consolation of   the Gospel to the penitent sinner are powerful and bring change

4)  If they are having trouble memorizing, they can write down meaningful verses on paper and read them several times throughout the day.

 Did you use any memorized Scripture to battle temptation lately? What was the result?

Common responses:

  • Answers will vary.
  • Many have learned to use memorized Scripture immediately when tempted.
  • By this time, most of them realize that using memorized Scripture is powerful and effective.
  • Many express joy at the new strength they are finding to resist temptation. Their self-esteem is improving as a result.

Points to emphasize:

  • Encourage using Scripture to battle all temptation, sexual or otherwise.
  • If they are less tempted to ssa/ma/tx sins, and other temptations are more obvious, they have likely had significant spiritual growth.
  • If the number is high, encourage them to continue, especially if they have had a lot of temptation lately.
  • If they had no significant temptation lately, they need to memorize in order to be prepared.
  • If memorized Scripture does not seem to be effectively blocking temptation, they might have had a lot of temptation lately or are trying to break an old habit. Encourage persistence and consistency.
  • Avoid criticizing a low number. Encourage confession of sin and to start using their sword (Ephesians 6:17).
  • Remind them of God’s promises.
  • Remind them that their minds are being re-wired as the Word builds their faith.
  1. How is your spiritual life in general, how are your private devotions, and how are things at your church/fellowship group.

Common responses:

  • Answers will vary.
  • Most report that both are going well.

Points to emphasize:

  • Be mindful that for many, their churches may have been hesitant to accept them at first because of their reputation when they were in the ssa/ma/tx lifestyle. This is especially true for maa’s.
  • By this time, if they have been consistent in church, the congregation has often accepted them, and they are making friends.
  • Explore what is not going so well and try to pinpoint what might be holding them back.
  • Encourage them to pray for their church and pastor, especially if there are problems.
  • Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.

Plan of Action:

  • Affirm any Biblical response.
  • Be alert for any hidden legalism.
  • Give lots of encouragement.
  • By this time, many are learning to be Spirit-led and therefore less dependent upon the written Plans of Action.

Additional points:

  • Many ssa/ma/tx overcomers have had negative experiences with authority figures.
  • Many have difficulty accepting authority, while others have difficulty seeing themselves as equals with others.
  • Many had fathers who used their authority to abuse the overcomers’ mothers and the children in the family. Many overcomers grew up fearful of their fathers or father substitutes.
  • They need to be taught the godly use of authority. Godly authority figures use their authority to serve others.
  • Jesus was the perfect example of a godly authority, and He set the standard for all authority figures.
  • Refer them to Matthew 20:16 & 26-28 and John 13:3-15.
  • Many have difficulty understanding Ephesians 5:22-33. They put a worldly interpretation on it.
  • Verse 22 tells women to submit as unto Christ. It does not tell them to submit as unto the devil. They do not need to be afraid to accept the servant-leadership of godly men who rightly understand that leadership means servanthood.
  • Verse 25 has been narrowly interpreted to mean that all a husband is required to do is be ready to die defending his wife. However, Christ did more for the Church than die for us. He also lives for us.
  • The Ephesians text has been misinterpreted to deny women any right to demand accountability from their husbands. Husbands and wives are accountable to each other. As a sinful human being, a husband is going to have to be accountable to someone.
  • Many overcomers had fathers who disobeyed Ephesians 6:4 by provoking their children to anger. They may need to be taught the right way to treat children.
  • I Timothy 3 sets the standards for leadership in the Church. The spiritual leader must also lead by serving. He must never lead for his own benefit.