At the beginning of each year, the Lord gives me a special word on which to focus. One year, for instance, He gave me the word joy. Throughout the next 12 months He taught me what joy meant using Scripture, songs, other peoples’ teachings, and life experiences. This year’s word is deeper.
I spent the weekend in Calgary, Alberta, training 10 summer ministry volunteers—folks heading to Slovakia, Poland, and Egypt to share Christ’s love in word and deed this July/August. As we went through the training, some expressed their feelings of inadequacy about teaching an hour of conversational English each day while overseas. Others said the prospect of sharing their salvation testimony scares them. Some feel anxious about fund raising for airline tickets or about making flight connections in foreign countries.
Each one views their endeavor through a different lens, but they all share a common characteristic: a surrendered heart.
Every one of these volunteers, and those we’ll train this weekend in British Columbia, have said yes to God in His challenge to get involved in missions. In most cases, they’re “doing it afraid,” trusting God to be their strength and provider and protector. And you know what’s going to happen as a result? Their surrender will grow their faith deeper as they experience God in new ways. Surrender, it appears, is vital to growing a deeper faith.
Joshua is one of my Bible heroes. He displayed a surrendered heart, too:
“As Joshua approached the city of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man facing him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, ‘Are you friend or foe?’
“‘Neither one,’ he replied. ‘I am commander of the LORD’s army.’
“At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. ‘I am at your command,’ Joshua said. ‘What do you want your servant to do?’
“The commander of the LORD’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for this is holy ground.’ And Joshua did as he was told” (Joshua 5:13-15).
How might Jewish history have been different if Joshua had encountered the commander of the LORD’s army with an attitude of indifference or contempt? What might have happened if Joshua had said something like, “Find someone else to do Your work. Now’s not the right time for me to get involved,” or “You’re asking me to do the impossible. You’re asking me to do something that’s beyond my comfort zone”?
God is searching for men and women with surrendered hearts. He’s looking for people who recognize His authority and say, “I’m at your command. What do you want your servant to do?” He longs for us to respond to Him as Joshua did, instantly doing as he was told. When we live this way, our faith grows deeper. We’re better able to resist temptation and stand firm when life’s storms blow, and we become salt and light to a hurting world.
Think about Joshua’s attitude: “I am at your command. What do you want your servant to do?” He scores a 10 out of 10 in submission—one of the keys to a deeper spiritual life. I want to do the same—to surrender my desires, time, finances, goals, everything to God’s authority for His highest purpose, and I pray that doing so will grow me deeper, too.
How about you? Is God asking you to do something but you’re finding it difficult to do as you’re told? If so, comment on this blog with a simple yes, and I’ll pray for courage to submit so you can experience the joy of growing deeper in your faith.