I am so excited to start this book with you all! This is one of my favorite books.
For me, it is almost like a slap in the face to read Murray use the word “condition” three times in the opening chapter. The idea that our salvation has no conditions is so pervasive in evangelicalism. Murray writes that our surrender is the condition of God’s blessing. God will dwell in us and work mightily through us on the condition of surrender. How do we feel about this idea of “condition” as Murray presents it?
Murray then writes: “be not afraid that He will command from you what He will not bestow,” and explains how God works this surrender in us. He makes it clear with this that he is talking about our sanctification. There are indeed conditions to this part of our salvation: we are called to work even as God works it in us. How do you view sanctification – growing in holiness and surrender to God? What is our responsibility for our own holiness and surrender?
I love that he twice talks about how we don’t always feel surrendered even after we make a commitment of surrender. I can relate. Then he asks an important question: “how much Christian work is being done in the spirit of the flesh and in the power of the self?” What a mystery this is! We are called to work, and yet the work can’t be done in our own power or by the flesh. We are called to work, and yet it is God Who works in us to will and to do. I think it is unfolding this mystery that helps remove the feeling that we fail in our commitment to absolute surrender. How do you understand this mystery? How can we begin to unfold it and understand what it means to take our responsibility seriously yet not work in our own power?
I am just trying to get the conversation started. You can react to my thoughts and/or give some of your own insights from the chapter.
I had to read the chapter several times to fully grasp what it says. I look forward to seeing where this book is going and where I will allow it to take me. I have experienced absolute surrender in certain areas of my life at various times. But never 100% surrender 100% of the time. Fear is huge hard wall to climb over even though I know God’s blessings are waiting on the other side. I’m afraid of heights! What if I get to the top and fall off?!There is one area of my life that I have such a tight grip on, afraid to open my hands and give it to Him. Yet, the tighter I hold on, the more it slips through my fingers. Perhaps by the time we finish this book I will learn how to allow Him to open my grip, breaking my fingers if necessary! I can’t climb that wall if my hands aren’t free!
I agree that fear is a huge factor in hindering absolute surrender. The concept seems counter to everything society has taught us. I want to retain some degree of power and control over my life. It is comforting to know, though, that, as the author states, “….God will enable you to carry out the surrender.’ I often find myself saying, “Lord, I believe, help me overcome my unbelief.” I believe the author is telling us that such a step of faith is enough for God to carry us the rest of the way, if we are willing. I think it is an ongoing process to surrender completely to God. I often have to remind myself oh how God’s way has always worked out better than my way.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading chapter one, and as I was reading, I found five prayers to help me successfully pray for the ability to surrender my entire life to Christ. Knowing that if I ask, God will graciously bestow upon me the emotional strength to achieve Absolute Surrender to my Lord and Savior. One of my favorite prayers was a short prayer found on page 12, “Moment by moment, I’m kept in His love; moment by moment I have life from above.” My Prayer of Conclusion that sums up all of Chapter One is: “Father, through Your Precious Son, Jesus, I pray that I do not worry myself trying to understand all about Absolute Surrender. Instead, I ask You, Father, through Christ that Jesus comes into my heart with both the power of His death and the power of His life. I pray Luke 6:18 that the Holy Spirit will fill me to overflowing – pressed down and shaken together to make room for more of Your blessings bringing Christ crucified, Christ risen, and Christ living in glory to the forefront of my mind, heart, and soul so that I can achieve Complete Surrender. Amen and Amen.
Thank you Pastor Lee. It seemed weird that Murray began by using the surrender of a Hebrew king to a pagan authority. But after meditating on that, I think that I get his point. It was a proclamation that someone – in his case, an invader, but in our case God – someone else, not me, has now been given full authority in my life … a proclamation, or maybe better yet, a declaration that You, my God, are now regarded as the owner of all that I have … my possessions, my ambitions, my inward thoughts and attitudes, even the very breath that I breathe.
Declaring or proclaiming this is the beginning, the setting of the course of our soul, like a rudder on a ship that has been set to travel a desired course. But the winds and shakings of life come along and nudge us off course. Sometimes more than a nudge. But the Holy Spirit working in our lives – because we have established that the ultimate preference of our will is to follow the Master, because we have yielded to His ultimate authority, because we have established this holy “condition” – performs the miraculous work within us, transforming us – “metamorphosizing” us – conforming us more and more into the image of Christ. Also known as sanctification!
As I began reading the chapter, I realized that I am not 100% surrendered to God in 100% of the areas of my life. And that made me feel hopeless, but then Andrew Murray reminded me that I need to look away for myself and put my focus on God.
I like what he says on the bottom of page 11. Oh, God, I accept your terms, and I have pleaded for blessing on myself and others. I have excepted your terms of absolute surrender. I am reminded that God is present and takes note of my surrender. He writes it down in his book and at that very moment takes possession of me. I may not always feel it or realize it, but God takes possession of me when I trust him. He can use my weak and imperfect surrender to accomplish His will in my life.