JOURNEY TO FREEDOM
UNIT IV Key 6 SURRENDER
SCRIPTURE PRINCIPLE: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that Grace might increase? Romans 6:1
If you have gotten this far in the program, your answer to that question is likely a strong “NO!”. You have probably learned by now that saying “no” to a temptation feels good, prevents bad feelings from happening, and raises your self-esteem. You feel stronger, and you like the person you are becoming as God transforms you.
However, we live in a world that does not realize that. Most people seem to believe that God loves them and that therefore He should indulge their desires. They believe that if someone really loves them, he/she will give them their way. But God is sovereign, just, and holy. He does not give us our way: He gives us His way. He IS the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). When we accept His forgiveness by faith, He can give us blessings we could never experience by demanding our own way and grasping for control.
Apparently some Roman Christians thought they could compromise. They thought that since God was a forgiving God, they could sin deliberately and rely on His forgiveness to excuse them. They wanted God to overlook their sins, but they were not interested in being set free from their sins. We have all done that; however, the Word of God quickly confronts that attitude. That attitude does not reflect Christian repentance; and without repentance, God cannot forgive us.
That attitude has been called “abusing God’s Grace”. When we deliberately sin and expect God to overlook it, instead of going before Him in transparency and repentance, we are abusing His forgiveness. His mercy is free, but it is never cheap. It cost Jesus His death on the cross. It costs us something to be a disciple.
When we are doing well and living in victory, often another test comes our way: a situation that we have never had to face before or a temptation that brings to light our hidden weaknesses. When people begin experiencing reliable victories over ssa/ma/tx temptations, and when quoting memorized Scriptures becomes an automatic reflex in response to such temptation, other sins become more obvious. This often happens when we are in unfamiliar situations or learning new ways of relating to others.
The worst choice that we can make is turning away from God’s mercy after we have received it. The Apostle Peter knew people who had done that. He stated that if someone has received God’s mercy and gotten victory over sin, and then returned to his/her sin, he/she is then worse off than one who has never believed (II Peter 2:19-20). We should take this warning seriously. No one is immune from such temptation.
In II Chronicles 29, we meet King Hezekiah. He was the son of an idol-worshipping king, but he obeyed the Lord. He re-opened and repaired the temple in Jerusalem, he told the priests to purge it of everything unclean, and he led the people in national repentance and public worship (II Chronicles 30:7-9). The people themselves then destroyed all remains of idol-worship in the country and gladly contributed their wealth for the support of the temple (II Chronicles 31). They turned back to God, and He blessed them with prosperity.
Then God allowed a test. The King of Assyria invaded and laid siege to the cities. In II Kings 18:13-16, King Hezekiah panicked because of this new challenge. He forgot to rely on God. He relied on his own wisdom and tried to bribe the Assyrians. In response, the King of Assyria sent in more troops to besiege Jerusalem. The rest of chapter 18 is a long speech from the Assyrian commander, who blasphemed God, boasted to the Jews that God would not save them, and assured them that he was about to slaughter them.
Then in II Kings 19, Hezekiah did the right thing. He sent for the Lord’s prophet, Isaiah, and asked for prayer. He took the letter that the Assyrians had sent to him, and he laid it out before God. He praised God and prayed to be delivered. He made no demands of God nor offered suggestions regarding how He might deliver them. He simply stated the problem to God and left the solution entirely in His hands. His prayer of self-surrender was about as total as one can get in this life.
His prayer was honored. That night, the Lord’s angel destroyed the Assyrian army. Hezekiah got more than he could have hoped for or imagined. He led his people best when he surrendered to God’s leadership.
Hezekiah only sent for the prophet of God and prayed after the food supply of Jerusalem had run out and the people were dying of starvation. He could have saved himself and his people a great deal of misery if he had made prayer his first resort rather than his last. But then, he really is not much different than the rest of us.
SCRIPTURE: Write what each of these verses or passages means to you and your situation.
II Corinthians 3:17
I Corinthians 10:21-22
STUDY GUIDE (Feel free to write on the backside or use additional paper if necessary.)
1. On a scale of 1-10, how easy do you find self-surrender to be (1 is lowest, 10 is highest)? Please explain your answer.
2. On a scale of 1-10, how much have you grown in your ability to surrender to the Lord since you began the Keys? Please explain your answer.
3. What are you still finding hard to surrender?
4. Do you think that someday God will get angry about your habitual sinning and will have no more forgiveness to give you, and that you will be hopelessly lost? Why or why not?
5. Have you ever acted upon an idea that seemed to be right, gotten into a lot of trouble, and only then approached God in prayer? Please describe.
6. Have you learned to take your problems of daily living before God, describe the situation, and leave the outcome entirely in His hands? Please describe how you prayed, and what the outcome was.
7. Give as many reasons as you can think of for not deliberately sinning.
8. Have you ever met people like the ones described in Jude 1:4, 10, & 12? What was your response? Were you ever that way? If so, what changed your mind?
9. Do you have any difficulties with authority figures (I Peter 2:13-17)?
10. We sometimes resist authority because we think rebellion will make us free. Note I Peter 2:16 in its context, and compare it with John 8:34-36. What does this tell us about freedom?
11. Please read II Kings 18-20 and II Chronicles 29-32. What were some things about Hezekiah that made him a great leader? What were some of his mistakes?
12. On a scale of 1-10, how victorious have you been lately? Please explain your answer.
13. Did you use any memorized Scripture to battle temptation lately? What was the result?
14. How is your spiritual life in general, how are you private devotions, and how are things at your church/fellowship group?
Plan of Action: (You cannot become a godly leader until you learn to accept authority in the right way. The truly great leaders of the Bible were at their best when they were surrendered to God. You might consider if you are called to develop some of the characteristics they had.)