He’s lighting up the world. Like lightning bugs in summertime, he’s lighting up the world.
I am astounded by his work, and how he lets me enter in and be a part of the remarkable things he wants to do.
I see him go before me all over the place. Even when I least expect it, like shopping at Target or going to the Apple store or buying new shoes at Luke’s Locker. So many encounters with so many people whose hearts God is also stirring. He is putting us together to get his work done.
Yesterday, a young man got set free.
He had been in bondage -- addicted to drugs, without a supportive family, and sleeping some nights on the streets. He had lost his father in an accident, and as the oldest child in the family, had to give the word to pull life support. He was at the end of his rope. He was struggling and fearful because he did not think God could forgive him for the bad things he had done.
He wanted to live his life differently; he was deeply ready to make a change, but he still feared God could not forgive him. After hours of talking, he started to grasp that it was not going to be through new, good works that God would accept him, because that bad past would always haunt him.
He slowly started to understand that if he trusted in Jesus' perfect life and substitutionary death (substitutionary means Jesus substituted himself for us. We should die for our sins but instead he died for our sins), he could have the smile of his Father in heaven. More than that, he would receive the indwelling of God's own Spirit to help him live in a new way. He would not only receive forgiveness of sins but power to turn from his current lifestyle and live a new life, which is what he so desperately wanted but kept failing to do alone.
He surrendered himself yesterday. He surrendered his old life.
Surrender can sound like loss. To think of surrendering ourselves to anything sounds like losing the thing we are holding onto -- and whatever we are holding onto may feel like it gives us something good. I used to fear the death of those I loved -- so much so that I was sometimes paralyzed by my fear. Sometimes I could hardly function because I was so overwhelmed by it. Even though that feeling was awful, I held on to the fear, because I thought that continuing to fear was somehow protecting those I loved from dying, and if I surrendered it, then someone would immediately die.
One day, I got so tired of it, so sick of living with the fear and how it stole my life from me, that I surrendered it to God. The spell was broken. The lie that my worry would keep my family safe had actually kept me in bondage to imagainary fears and kept me from fully living life. When I surrendered it, I got new life. I got all that mental space cleared up to live life! It was glorious and I was so free!
"Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food...
Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy, and eat!
Come buy wine and milk without money and without price."
Isaiah 55:2 & 55:1
This is the invitation. This is what Jesus invites us into, not only in the moment that we originally exchange our good and bad works for his perfect work, like our young friend in the story above did yesterday, but all throughout our lives.
Jesus is continually calling us to lay down, to surrender those things that promise life but that we know deep down are leading to death, and instead to buy HIM without money and without price. The price to get Jesus is only surrender, and although sometimes it might look scary, he knows on the other side of our surrender is this beautiful life he has for us.
What are you holding onto? What are you afraid to surrender?
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread?
Listen, and eat, without money and without price, and delight yourself in rich food.