Week 2 – Stepping Up
Surrender is not a foreign concept for us. Whether we realize it or not, each of us surrenders on a daily basis. When we finally stop hitting the snooze button, we surrender to responsibility. When we decide to put pants on for the day, we surrender to social appropriateness. When we order our latte and the barista tells you that outrageous price, we surrender our hard earned five-dollar bill. When we lay our head on our pillow at night, we surrender to our limitations. But what does it look like to surrender to God?
For us as Americans, one of the greatest days of the year is Thanksgiving. You know that moment when you are handed one of those heavy-duty paper plates with the various sized sections. You survey the overflowing counters of food and it is your noble task to fill the sectioned plate with the right sides. Smaller sections are for the supporting cast of green beans or corn while the larger sections are reserved for the main character, the delicious turkey swimming in gravy. It’s easier for you when it’s sectioned off, or budgeted out. We often see our lives this way. We have a section budgeted out for all of our categories. Each one reserved for family, friends, free time, hobbies, work, me-time, church life, etc. Our budgets typically look very similar. Some of us put God in the larger section while others of us relegate Him to the green bean section. Both are awry. God deserves the entire plate. He demands the entire plate. He rescues us as his children so that He could transform the whole plate. Yet we offer Him a mere section reserved for the supporting cast.
God and the things of God don’t belong in the leftover areas of our budgeted lives. When He purchased us on the cross, our entire life was transferred with that purchase. “Mine” became “His.” Our time, our relationships, our purpose, our dreams, our budget, and our pursuits all became His. As we continue to look at our lives over the next few weeks, God will be asking all of us to take steps of faith.
This weekend we heard the story in Joshua 5 about Joshua being confronted by a man with a sword. Joshua asks him, “Are you for us or against us?” The man answers, “Neither. No.” In effect, he’s speaking for God saying, “I have not come to be a part of your story; I’ve come to see if you’re willing to play a part in my big story.” We will never fit God in the small compartments of our lives. Instead, our lives fit into His story. God is inviting us to play a part in His bigger story, a story we never could have dreamed of writing. All we are asked to do is obey. As He leads us to take steps of faith, we obey and watch. We obey and He flexes His muscles. He amazes us as He shows Himself faithful and strong. All of you is all of His and you can trust Him with it all. Where are you holding back from Him who deserves all of it? How is it that every section of our lives can be used to make much of Him? How can we pursue the things that He cares about? How can we allow Him to use everything we have for all of Him?
The Lord moved in us during a season of dryness. We were overworked, overstressed, and over-asked, and on our own we would have been too tired to sense the Lord. So, when the Lord chose to present the idea of uprooting our lives, He did it through the wisdom and counsel of others. Without jobs or connection, and out of fatigue more than faith, we took a step. Full of uncertainty rather than vision, we decided to follow after the most remote chance of more of Him. And yet, in this step, He met us. Not with jobs (immediately), or with a clear future, but He met us with Himself. We did nothing to deserve Him. We solved no godly equation that showed us our path nor did we display faith in a way that impressed God enough to show up. Instead, He proved faithful. God was faithful to press open our hands more widely, in order to receive His precious gift of salvation with greater joy.
Tyler & Kailey
1. What may be the thing in your life right now God is inviting you to give him control over?
2. Are you willing to tell someone else about that thing and ask him or her to hold you accountable to seeing it happen?
3. What are you hoping to see God do in your life? What are you praying He will do?
1. What was your big takeaway from this past week’s sermon? How about from this week’s devotional reading?
2. Would you be willing to share with the group how you answered #1 from the Personal Reflection questions?
3. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food (besides turkey)?
4. Can you think of a time when you tried to fit God into your plan for your life? How did that work out?
5. Think about one of your good friends (who is not in the room). What do you wish they would surrender? Why would it be best for them to surrender this?
6. Why do you think it is so tough to surrender certain areas of your life to God?
7. What are the hardest things for you to give God control over? What things do you still think are “mine”? (Example: free time, relationships, paycheck, work, future, plans)
Read – Joshua 5:13-15
Stepping Up to surrender your plan for God’s plan.
Who are you for, yourself or God? It’s not about what’s in it for me when we step up to what God calls us to, that’s bondage. Want freedom? Something bigger in your life? Step up so you are positioned to be open to do whatever God wants to do through you! That is something worth giving your life to. Your only response is to fall on your face, surrender everything, have faith like Joshua, and put God at the center of your life.
Pray – Oh Lord, would you reveal to me who I am living for? I pray that you would show me how to open my hands so you can fill them with infinite possibilities so that I am less focused on the outcome and more focused on obeying You God. I want to recognize Your power, authority and deep love for me. Please fill me with the desire to step up and live for You so I might make a difference in Your kingdom. In Jesus name, Amen.