God has been taking me on a journey that’s involved more unpacking than packing. That doesn’t mean I haven’t packed my actual bags and traveled on vacation this summer, because I have! 😉
In fact, I just got back from visiting my family and friends in parts of Tennessee and North Carolina. During those times, I physically relaxed and also challenged myself—hiking the hills of Tennessee. See photos below!
But the spiritual journey that God has taken me on has truly given me profound rest and is challenging me in ways like only He can.
It’s just that I’ve been unsettled in my blogging life and ministry endeavors for quite some time now. Although I love serving in both of these spheres, God has been gently nudging me to prune certain areas not only of my ministry but also of my life.
That’s why I want to share just a slice of what God has been doing in my life through prayer, confession, and His word these past few months.
I hope that my journey will encourage you to pursue God more. That you’ll unpack your “bags” like I’ve been doing so that you can join me in leaving your idols at His feet.
Journey of Surrender
Back in February 2021, I began to study the book of Romans using my WORTHY method. This book has been more challenging, even frustrating, for me to understand than any Scripture that I’ve studied so far using my method.
That said, it has rewarded me and, more importantly, is freeing me in so many ways as well.
One passage that stands out to me—regarding this freedom that I enjoy through Christ—is Romans 6:13-14 . . .
Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
This passage essentially highlights how believers are tempted every day to use our members (body parts) as instruments (even weapons) for the purpose of unrighteousness and sin.
During my study of this text, I came across a story that David Guzik of Enduringword.com shared. I believe it really helps to illustrate this problem for believers.
In the fourteenth century two brothers fought for the right to rule over a dukedom in what is now Belgium. The elder brother’s name was Raynald, but he was commonly called “Crassus,” a Latin nickname meaning “fat,” for he was horribly obese.
After a heated battle, Raynald’s younger brother Edward led a successful revolt against him and assumed the title of Duke over his lands. But instead of killing Raynald, Edward devised a curious imprisonment.
He had a room in the castle built around “Crassus,” a room with only one door. The door was not locked, the windows were not barred, and Edward promised Raynald that he could regain his land and his title any time that he wanted to.
All he would have to do is leave the room.
The obstacle to freedom was not in the doors or the windows, but with Raynald himself. Being grossly overweight, he could not fit through the door, even though it was of near-normal size.
All Raynald needed to do was diet down to a smaller size, then walk out a free man, with all he had before his fall.
However, his younger brother kept sending him an assortment of tasty foods, and Raynald’s desire to be free never won out over his desire to eat.
Some would accuse Duke Edward of being cruel to his older brother, but he would simply reply, “My brother is not a prisoner. He may leave when he so wills.”
But Raynald stayed in that room for ten years, until Edward himself was killed in battle.
With that Scripture and this illustration in mind, are you . . .
- In a contentious and restrictive marriage because you feast every day on bitter and/or distrustful thoughts about your spouse?
- Serving up critical words to your spouse in hopes of keeping him or her defeated and a prisoner of your disdain?
- Not so much feasting on hateful thoughts as you are dining on porn or illicit fantasies, hoping these will help you escape your spouse and marriage?
Truth is, these will only fatten your lusts and, eventually, kill the love you and your spouse feel for one another.
- Or are you looking to some “idol” and/or “addiction” that isn’t directly related to your spouse and marriage but to some unfulfilled desire in your life?
As for me, God has convicted me about the many good things I want in life because I often desire them more than I want God Himself!
And believe me, I hold no illusion that this is any less dangerous than the idols of bitterness or lust, etc.
In the weeks to come, I will be sharing what I’ve been doing to unpack and free myself from this and other idols so that I can walk in Christ’s freedom. Know that God is freeing me more and more with each item I unpack and surrender at His feet.
Maybe it’s a journey and process you need to take as well so that you can walk in freedom through the door God opens for you!
Click the link to read other posts in this Surrender Series.
*Featured image above by Elaine Tu
Now to my trip . . .
What is one idol and desire that you need to unpack and surrender to the Lord?