The Power of Restoration
"Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'” Matthew 22:37 (NIV)
Friend to Friend
From the moment of birth, we are taught that successful people never give up! Yet, I have discovered the paradoxical secret that true success can only be found in complete surrender. My son, Jered, is a college football player who has learned that excellence in any sport demands a total abandonment, sacrifice and willingness to pay an enormous price. As football season approaches, he throws himself into weight training, personal discipline and mental readiness. Jered is fortunate to have many champions and has found a great role model in his college roommate, Russell. Russell is a young man who really does not have the physical size to play football and readily admits that there are many other players on the team with greater ability and far more strength. But Russell is a “play maker”. He is willing to totally abandon himself every time he steps onto the football field and has, at times, literally knocked himself unconscious when blocking the opponent. When Russell graduates next year he will become a coach and realize his lifetime dream.
Jesus longs for us to come to Him in total surrender. Matthew 22:37 goes straight to the heart of abandonment when it says, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'” (NIV) In this verse “heart” literally means “thought and emotion”, “soul” literally means “life or whole person” and “mind” literally means “understanding”. In other words, to truly experience God we must lay down everything! Every thought and emotion - every dream and plan - every bit of knowledge - our past, present and future – just like the woman in Luke did.
Luke tells us that a certain woman came to Jesus bringing “an alabaster jar of perfume.” Alabaster jars were very common and of little value. It was the substance hidden inside that was so precious. The perfume was the woman’s most priceless possession, very expensive but very necessary in her line of work. She was a prostitute, working the streets, selling her body in order to live. The money given to her by the men she slept with paid for the perfume she brought to Jesus. She could have put a small amount on His feet and it would have been a great financial sacrifice. But she brought it all and gave it all! She came, totally abandoning herself and all that she had to Him. “Abandon” literally means “without restraint or hindrance, a total relinquishment”.
This woman came to Jesus walking through her shame, straining against every hindrance and relinquishing her old way of life. She came, ignoring the ugly whispers and judgmental stares of those who knew her so well. Why? It is really very simple. She was weary. The emptiness and sin were eating away at her soul. She was tired of being used, unloved and unwanted. She came ready to give up everything and in a desperation that is always winsome to God. He met every need of her heart and changed the course of her life.
Today, dear friend, He is calling you to that same kind of abandonment. Are you longing for home? Are you desperate for Him? The Father is patiently and tenderly calling you to His arms. Come and rest in Him.
God, I am so tired of trying to live without You! I come today, desperately longing for You and seeking Your presence. Right now, I surrender completely to You, giving everything I know about myself to everything I know about You. Thank you for meeting me at my point of need. Amen!
Now it's Your Turn
List the things in your life that keep you from Him. Confess them and choose against them. Destroy that list as a sacrifice of complete surrender and abandonment to God. Now walk in the freedom He brings.
For more on this topic, see Coming Out of the Dark, a book by Mary.
Girlfriends in God, Inc.
Originally published Friday, 10 November 2006.