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Chris Appleby Ministries

Chris Appleby Ministries

 

Matt. 5:13-16;
Rom. 6:8-14 audio (3MB)


Mark 12:28-13:2

Clip - King Arthur, start: 30:55, finish 32:03.

'Abandonment or Resignation', I came across this topic in my devotions one morning and it hit me pretty hard.

The question God confronted me with was this: am I abandoned to Him and His will for me or am I simply resigned to Him, my life unchanged, knowing he's there?

And that's the question I want to ask us today, its a question that I don't want to ask because I know that you can all look at me and know what my answer was...is... And every time I ask myself this question I'm met with disappointment as my answer really doesn't reflect where I know I should be.



'Everyday with Jesus' is the little book that helps me spend time with God and in it Selwyn Hughes writes his thoughts on a range of topics. And after spending time exploring Jesus and how He abandoned himself to God's will by dying on the cross, his challenge for us is this,

'We must do what Jesus did and accept the fact that we should not just resign ourselves to the will of God but welcome it.

You see resignation is not a Christian grace, for beneath resignation, rebellion festers. The mature Christian is not merely resigned to the will of God, acquiescent to it or conformed to it, but is abandoned to it.

Not only what God does, but what God allows wins our willing acceptance.'

Here are some definitions for 'Resignation' and 'Abandonment' that I found:

 

  • Abandonment: To yield oneself completely as to an emotion, unbounded enthusiasm, exuberance, a complete surrender of inhibitions.
  • Resignation: An accepting, unresisting attitude.

If we only look at the definition there seems to be little difference but the meanings, I think are profoundly different.

Lets go back to our second reading from Romans but from a different translation, The New Living Translation writes it like this, 'Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.' Romans 6:13

What do I mean by being abandoned to the will of God? Its an attitude change, a willing surrender to what He wants, more than being tolerant that He's there!

Give ourselves completely to God?

What does that look like? What does that mean, what am I supposed to do?

Well the passage goes on to say, that now you have a new life, 'So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master for you no longer live under the requirements of the law, instead you live under the freedom of God's grace!' Romans 6:13-14Who here has ever been to the circus and seen a trapeze artist do their thing? I've never seen it for real, only in movies and the occasional behind the scenes shows that they do for the Cirque du Soleil. They're incredible aren't they? High above the ground they swing and do somersaults and twists and flips in mid-air, completely free, completely uninhibited! Completely abandoned to the trust that their partner, once their act is done, will fly in and catch them.

  • Do you think they could do half the things they do if they held onto that swing the whole time?
  • What do you think their show would consist of if they never let go, never jumped?
  • Where would the wonder, the amazement be if they didn't find the courage to let go, and the trust to give themselves into the arms of their partner?


What stops us from freeing ourselves up to God and trusting Him to catch us? What stops us from letting go of the world, from releasing our grip so we can amaze and thrill and excite? So we can get out into the world and do something radical with our lives? Or, I should say, let God do something radical with our lives!

Like Mother Teresa did. Like our link missionaries do everyday! Something like one of our youth leaders does in foster care for disadvantaged youth. Like what all our youth leaders do every week!

Something like what every R.E. teacher does, every person who leaves to do short term missions to help the poorest of the poor. Something like school students are doing all over Melbourne, standing up for their faith! Do you know you have the power to change friends and family, to save them? They do!

Is it Security? Financial, physical? Comfort zones? There are things in this world, bad things, just the everyday things, worthwhile things, that stop, distract us from giving ourselves completely to God aren't there?

Some of us are asking is abandonment really something I want to do? Is God and what he wants for me really the thing I want to define my life by? Can I really trust this God that I cant see to catch me if I let go of the swing?

For some of us the answer to this question is easy. No. 'No I don't want to have anything to do with God.' Or 'No, I'm happy in my resignation.' For lack of a better term. We are happy and comfortable, in control and we don't want to rock the boat.

Some of us feel as though, abandonment is where we want to be but fear and the cares of the world keep us back. Planning for the future, we want to be looked after, secure and in control.

And for some of us, abandonment is exactly where you are and you wish others had the courage to be there with you. You've surrendered, you know, you've experienced how exhilarating it is! How real and tangible your faith your relationship with God has become!

But you know what? I think, we can really only answer this question sincerely and honestly once we know who God is and what he has done for us. In the clip that we just watched, the scene shows Arthur praying to God, begging him to protect his knights. And Lancelot comes in, Arthur's best friend and demands an answer, why does Arthur go to God with his troubles and not him?

In other words, why does he give himself over to God in such a complete and dependent way? And Arthur replies, 'No one is afraid of kneeling before the God he trusts.' Do we know God enough to trust him to kneel before Him, surrender to Him?

A trapeze artist isn't afraid of letting go when they know their partner will catch them. No one should be worried about surrendering to someone that they trust and love completely.

Another image of this kind of relationship is an ideal, loving marriage, of two people giving themselves to each other. In getting married, two people are saying they're ready to be abandoned to each other giving themselves, their hearts in an almost blind trust.

They are ready to let their lives be defined, to be directed and be taken up almost completely by the other person. And does a good husband only want part of his wife? No a good husband want all of his wife, her love, her trust, her constant companionship her heart. Is it any different for a loving wife? I don't imagine so. Its a real surrender isn't it?

If we hold onto this attitude as we get to know God, it will become easier to understand, to accept that he doesn't just want some of us, He wants all of us. And as we learn about what he did on the cross we begin to want to give him our all, to be abandoned! We start to want more of Him as well, we want to know all of Him, we want to spend more time with Him! Can we relate to that feeling?

In a song by the David Crowder Band that explores humanities weakness and loss and the gift that God gives us. The writer finally concludes with these words,

'But the harder I try the more clearly can I feel     
The depth of our fall and the weight of it all     
And so this might Could be the most impossible thing
Your grandness in me making me clean
So here I am, all of me
Finally everything
I am wholly, wholly, wholly Yours'


I want to show some passages to you, Luke 9:23-26, Job 13:15. What's Jesus asking of us? Abandonment to God's will, or simple Resignation? Only one who is totally and completely abandoned to another can say the words Job spoke hey?

At least, thats how our relationship with God should be, but like any great marriage, and probably any great trapeze team. Like every relationship, there are times of weakness and doubt where we find ourselves holding on to the swing all over again. And we need to be aware of so that we can defeat it and let go, surrender with even more commitment.'

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.' Isaiah 40:31

That doesn't sound like resignation does it? Its surrender, and yet it sounds like victory! Abandonment is a radical term, a radical term for a radical God. He doesn't just want some of us, He wants all of us, everything.

I know people sitting with us this morning who reflect their abandonment to God, their allegiance is to Him above all else! And its those people who can encourage us, who can inspire us, and we would know them, because they would be the first to say, 'No, I'm just as weak and fallen as you are ... Look to Jesus and walk as he did.'

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