As I head into my speech and debate tournament, which is Thursday to Saturday, I always pray the same prayer, “Lord I surrender this tournament to You, whether I win or lose, whether I break or get last, I surrender it to you” I pray this prayer especially with my favorite category Apologetics, which is defending the faith. In Apologetics there are 121 questions, three of which you will be asked, and you will pick one to do, it could be anywhere from Define and Defend the significance of the Immutability of God, to, How could Jesus be both God and man? People prepare 6 minute speeches on these topics, on 4 by 6 index cards. My personal opinion is that this event is the one that will last a lifetime. But one question I have to ask myself is, “Am I absolutely surrendered in and out of these tournaments?” I believe this is a question all Christians should ask themselves. The Bible over and over tells us to live for God and God alone, as Romans 12:1-2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” We are called to be living sacrifices for God, totally surrendered to God, it is our reasonable service, because it was God who gave us new life. We are also called not to be conformed to the sinful world. As Matthew 16:24-25 says, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘ if anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up His cross and follow Me. For whosoever desires to save His life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’” We are called to deny ourselves of our flesh and follow with all our heart after Him. In the Jewish culture, a rabbi’s disciple followed so close to their rabbi that they would want to be covered with the dust of the rabbi’s feet. Are we following so close to our Lord that His dust covers our face? But know that we will suffer persecution, as 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” We will suffer persecution in this life, because we are living for Christ, but remember Jesus’ words in John 15: 18-19, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of this world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of this world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” But also remember the words of James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” In trials we are sanctified to be more like Christ. Luke 14:33 says, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.” We have to be in absolute surrender to God in all of our lives. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” We live by faith and not by sight for Christ, because our old self was crucified with Christ when we accepted Him as savior in our lives. If we trust in the Lord with all our heart, He will direct our steps (Proverbs 3:5-6) but not only will he direct our steps, but He will bless us (Psalm 34:8) and we need to commit our works to the Lord and our thoughts will be established (Proverbs 16:3) When we surrender, we may plan out things, but the Lord directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9) We are called to glorify God in Everything we do. As 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are Gods.” To think that God literally dwells in us is so awesome (awe-inspiring) But knowing this, we are to glorify God in everything we do. Colossians 2:6 says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” We are to walk and abide in Him, but what happens when you abide in Him, John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” We will bear fruit for Christ. But what happens to a branch that bears fruit, God prune it to bear more fruit (John 15:2b) We will go through tribulations so we may bear more fruit for Christ. One of my favorite songs is In Christ Alone, sung by Brian Littrell, the words say, “I can stop and count successes, like diamonds in my hand, but those trophies could not equal to the grace by which I stand…In every victory let it be said of me, my source of strength, my source of hope is Christ alone” May we truly surrender our lives to Christ and to give all glory where it is due.
Five Smooth Stones