Jesus replied, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind' (Matthew 22:37, NIV).
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.
Dr. Billy Graham tells the story of a little child who was playing with a very valuable vase. The child put his hand into the vase but could not pull it out. His father tried to free the little boy's hand, but couldn't. They were thinking of breaking the vase when the father said, "Son, let's try one more time. Open your hand and hold your fingers out really straight and then pull." The look of alarm on the boy's face surprised the dad until the little boy explained, "Oh no, Father. I can't hold my fingers like that. If I did, I would drop my penny."
Many of us are like that little boy - holding onto something that is keeping us from letting go and letting God have His way in our lives. It doesn't really matter what that something is. If it is keeping us from surrendering to God, it is our captor and we are its hostage.
Jesus longs for us to come to Him in total surrender. Not because He wants to win or prove His power, but because He longs to set us free. Matthew 22:37 goes straight to the heart of surrender and abandonment when it says, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'" Let's take a closer look at the meaning of this verse:
"Heart" means "thought and emotion."
"Soul" means "life or whole person."
"Mind" 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 human knowledge or understanding, our past, present and future - everything - just like the woman in Luke did.
Luke tells us that a certain woman came to Jesus bringing "an alabaster jar of perfume." In Jesus' day, 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. It was very expensive but very necessary in her line of work as 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 she gave it all. She came to God with a "yes" in her heart and a "whatever" in her soul, 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? I believe she was simply worn out. 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 ready to exchange your life for a life far beyond your greatest hopes and dreams? 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.
In Jesus' Name,