“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him.” (Philippians 3:7-9)
I’ve been walking with the Lord for about 8 years now, but over the past two years, I have been greatly challenged by the idea of surrender in my own life. I have pursued many of my own wants and desires – some of which have grown my faith, others which the Lord graciously redirected my paths, and unfortunately, a few which led to dark seasons of my soul. And in this time, I wrestled with what it truly looked like to trust God in the uncertainty of it all. Most of the time, surrendering to God isn’t flashy and obvious, but rather the subtle tugging of our hearts that what we might think is “good” or “neutral” for us, may in fact be what God is calling us to give up in return for more of Him.
And if we’re honest, most of us fear giving up that which we know could be hindering our walk with the Lord because the surrendering is riddled with uncertainty and pain – there’s no avoiding that. The denial of self is always marked by the pain of some form of loss. In fact, read carefully what Paul says in these verses – “I have suffered the loss.” But Jesus does not call his disciples to that form of suffering in vain or to torture us, He calls us to remove that which we cling to so closely because, as Bonhoeffer writes, “the heart is dark when it clings to earthly goods, for then, however urgently Jesus may call us, his call fails to find access to our hearts.” I wish I could say that surrendering to Him has always been easy for me, but it hasn’t – and at times, it took God having to mercifully, yet painfully, rip out that which was leading me astray for me to awaken from the chaos in my heart that I blinded myself to. And in those moments when the dust finally settled, I could finally understand the words of the psalmist: “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound (4:8).”
Brothers and sisters, I don’t know what God might be calling you to surrender in this season of life – your career, friendships, your desire for marriage or more children, social media, etc – but my plea is that we may give up whatever God is calling us to and let Him comfort us in the midst of the hurt. Let Him sustain you through every tear, every dark night, and every wrestling thought you may have. Plead with Him to show you the fullness of joy found only in His presence (Psalm 16:11) so that you desire nothing contrary to His plans for you.