One of the most beloved songs of 20th century Christianity was “I Surrender All.”It was a hallmark of many revivals, and it was a staple for altar call appeals.Pastors and preachers urged people to surrender to the Lord by publicly praying before God’s people.I think the practice was a healthy one.Jesus said, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself” (Luke 9:23). To experience revival, there are some things we must continually place on the proverbial altar of surrender.Consider three.
One of the first passages of Scripture I memorized was Proverbs 3:5-6.It says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.” God is the God of our tomorrows.He has a plan for each of our lives.He wants to use us to make His glory known to the world, but we must surrender our plans to Him.The Bible says, “Commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3).When we get selfish concerning what we want for life, we quench the flow of God’s Spirit.We cut ourselves off from experiencing His best and His blessing.The overflowing life of God only comes to those who are dead to their own expectations.If you want to know His power, let the Lord lead you “along the right paths” (Psalm 23:3).Pray like Jesus — “Not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).
An unhealthy desire to promote oneself is a roadblock to spiritual success.Many aren’t living for the glory of God, because they are too enamored with what others think of them.Such sin is of Satanic origin (Isaiah 14:12-15), and it is one of the oldest known to mankind (Genesis 3:5).In order to have spiritual vibrancy, it must be shunned.God is only near to those who are humble (Isaiah 66:1-2 and James 4:6).He can’t cheapen His glory, and He won’t give it to another (Isaiah 42:8).When we live for applause and recognition, we are on a slippery slope that slides towards spiritual peril.May we follow the example of Jesus.When He was mocked and derided, He didn’t answer His accusers (Matthew 27:14).Instead, He “entrusted Himself to the one who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).He professed, “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38).If you want spiritual power, die to your unhealthy desire to be liked.Live for God’s glory, not your own!
God has naturally given us cravings for food, sex, and rest.But, such desires can be filled in unhealthy and ungodly ways.When we long to meet basic impulses in base ways, we live in lust — an unhealthy desire to fulfill a healthy desire in an unholy way.It was concerning this very issue that Jesus was tempted in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11).The Christian life is essentially a battle over our desires (Exodus 20:1-7 and Matthew 22:37-40).For this reason, we must guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23).Unlawful passions will keep us from God’s best.If we want to experience spiritual fire, we must make our hearts Jesus’ dwelling place, and we must learn to give our affections to Him.
Dr. Patrick Latham