Jesus never targets or excludes us on the basis of our weaknesses, wounds or worldly worldviews. He already knows everything about us. We are separated from God by the mere fact that we are sinners; not because of “that” sin. When we come to Jesus, we do not surrender “the big thing” – we most truly repent when we let the Holy Spirit draw us into whole-life surrender. We simply let go; give up; reach up, cry out.
Individually, many of us surrender only when life ceases to work for us. We come to realize that God has been generous: he has extended to us “reasonable self-determination” – the privilege of sufficient latitude to explore who God is and what God wants from us. We discover the deep reality that we have taken this latitude and stretched it much farther than God intended. In doing so, we have made God a little bit lower than us; we have made Him into our image. Except that this is impossible: hence, life no longer works.
Corporately, the evangelical porn pandemic is an example of how God’s latitude of grace can be stretched too far. We want others to “get” the lesson: so we tighten the screws down on minority sinners. Meanwhile, we just need to “live out” the lesson we expect them to get. After all, surely God never intended His Pure Bride to be so impure. If Cain is too weak of an example or too caught up in theological debates over creation, then take a look at what Jesus said to Thyatira. This is serious stuff. This is scary stuff…
Yet the great news is that this “could” be a beautiful day. This “could” be an opportunity to reconnect to the True Vine. This “could” be an opportunity for the promises of 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 to come alive in our churches. This opportunity cannot be mandated – nor can it be achieved by excluding minority sinners. This beautiful day starts when each one of us wholly surrenders to God. It must start with us.
Some may ask: but why us? The reason is simple: not everyone is ready for “whole-life” surrender. Many people are earlier in their faith journey. This brings up an important point: there are actually two kinds of surrender. My next series will explore the difference between whole-life spiritual surrender and what I call “Front-End Surrender.” Which kind of surrender are you at in your spiritual journey? Join me next WED to find out.
POST NOTE: On MON and TUE, my friend Grace will share what it is like to grow up with SSA in a Chinese family and the Chinese Christian community. You will be encouraged and challenged by her story.