As we enter into day 4 of our corporate fast, we should focus on what it really means to surrender our lives to GOD – our thoughts, ways, desires, direction in life, our children, career path, emotions, ministry, etc. Living a surrendered lifestyle can be completely impossible for most of us because we like and prefer to be in control. So, let’s explore why it is beneficial, in our best interest, to live a surrendered lifestyle.
James 4:7 reads, therefore submit to God….
On the surface, this seems like a very easy act. In fact, if anyone asks us, each one of us would profess that we are living a surrendered lifestyle when the opposite is very true. For example, I use to watch a TV show on Roku called Neighborhood. On the surface, this TV show appeared to be a good sitcom series to watch for wholesome entertainment. All the characters are very funny, especially the two husbands who are played by Cedric the Entertainer and Max Greenfield. Even their supporting wives and children have very good and humorous punch lines throughout the show.
The sitcom is set in the homes of these two families – the Butler, who is an African-American family, and the Johnson, who is a middle-class white family moving into a predominated middle-class black community in California. The sitcom addresses many different difficult and sensitive cultural issues from racism on both sides of the lines to drugs, relationships, male chauvinism, mental health issues, and faith.
The writers of the show, which there are 75 different writers, do a pretty decent job of not watering down the truth surrounding these issues. But they present an obscure view when writing scripts on the topic surrounding faith.
The show is currently in its 5th season. The success of their show is certainly because of the quality actors they have and the well-written, entertaining, and funny scripts. But the storylines that are centered around Calvin Butler’s wife, Tina, that is played by Tichina Arnold are very problematic.
In the show, Tina is a mother of two adult males. She is a strong African American woman who cares greatly for her family and community. She is smart and business savvy, extremely funny, loves and adores her husband, enjoys her friends, has no time for nonsense, and loves GOD. She takes on the character of a Christian woman who often speaks about GOD to her husband, family, and friends.
Yet her character is double-minded when it comes to being completely surrendered to GOD. (Compare to James 1:8). Why do I say that? As a Christian woman, Tina curses a lot and willing participant in religious mystical rituals with her friend Gemma Johnson, who plays Dave Johnson’s wife. (Compare to Ephesians 4:29; Exodus 20:3).
In the show, it is a common practice to mix the ways Christians should live their lives for GOD with societal rituals, tolerance, and acceptable lifestyles that conflict with what is good and righteous according to GOD’s Word. The Bible has a lot to say about such behavior by Christians. Therefore, this show sends the wrong message about what it means to live a surrendered life by a woman who professes to be a Christian.
So, what does it mean to live a surrendered life as stated at James 4:7?
Now, James does not use the word surrender at James 4:7. It uses the term submit, which has the same implication. According to the Webster Dictionary, submit means “to give up and cease resistance as to habits.” While surrender means “yielding of one person to the control of another.” So, based on Tina’s character, has she, who professes to be a Christian, really surrendered her life to Christ?
Ephesians 4:27 caution us to give no place or room to the devil. Ephesians 6:11 says we should stand firm against the wiles (clever gimmicks, tricks, schemes) of the devil. Unfortunately, Tina, as a Christian, has failed to apply these principles. Her character has fallen for the traps of the devil order to be pleasing to her television friends and to fit in with the mindset of what is socially acceptable to the community in which she lives.
Now, I really have not answer what it means to live a surrendered lifestyle to GOD. So, to answer this, let me refer to the content that is written in my book Surrendering: A Blueprint Of My Life – Healing From Homosexuality.
In this book Prophetess Felicia Crawford wrote in the Foreword:
When we live a surrender or submitted life to GOD we will allow His truth, which can be found in HIS Scriptures only, to set us free from things GOD said HE hates or things we should not do. Do not miss this point. Let me just list a few things GOD hates and commands we should not do.
Now, don’t miss this. The Scripture does not warn us against people who are doing these things that are outside of the church – that is, the world where these practices are common. But the apostle Paul speaks about Christians who are doing these things. People who claim to be submitted or have surrendered to GOD. GOD warns us to avoid, stay away from, and keep from such types of people.
We cannot claim to live a surrendered lifestyle to GOD and yet we are cussing Christians. Having sexual relations when we are not married or with individuals or things that are not our spouse. We cannot claim to be Christian if we are spreading lies about others, gossiping, or attempting to ruin the reputations of others based on things we have heard or what we assume and not what GOD has spoken or told us about a person. How can we be a Christian if drunkenness is our common practice, or we engage in sexual practice with the same sex, we steal, betrayed others, jealous of others, display uncontrollable anger, selfishness, hatred, envy, etc. These are all behaviors that LORD speaks against (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:7:11). These are signs that we have not to surrender our lives to GOD.
Paul says at Galatians 5:9 and 1 Corinthians 6:21 that those who practice such things will not inherit (live) or be resurrected, in GOD’s Kingdom. The key word here is practice. Practice means these things are a custom, habit, pattern, ritual, second nature, or a way of doing things. You do these things over and over again. It is a routine common practice of yours.
You see, if we are truly submitted or surrendered to GOD, HIS WORD will cause us to stop, cease, abstain from, and abandon any and all behaviors that GOD hates or commands us not part take in. Instead, a surrendered person will allow oneself to be washed clean by GOD’s WORD (1 Corinthians 6:11). Living a surrendered life to GOD will force you to give up being angry, to abandon feelings of holding onto resentment or bitterness, to dismiss any unforgiving attitude toward anyone, and choosing the ways of GOD instead living for ourself and our own selfish pleasure, mindset, and attitudes.
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Discussing Biblical Talking Points with Deaidre.