Open Your Heart >> Live Fully Surrendered

Day 3 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

True Champion

You are doubting yourself. Doubt is what steals away truth. It makes it distant from you. It makes your heart more resistant to believing what it is I have given you: love. 

I have given you love. You have what it takes to love well. I know you wonder how you will do it. You wonder if you have the tools, the right skills, the right heart. You wonder if there must be some mistake—that you are the mistake, that your mistake in loving has caused consequences you can’t change. And you want to change them, these circumstances, don’t you? 

You want to change them and you doubt you can. So you get frustrated, angry. You struggle to see clearly, to remember that I don’t mistake the people I have given you to love—that they are the ones you are meant to love.

The people in your life, the ones you see everyday and the ones from whom you have drifted away. These, these are the ones I have placed in your life. It is okay if you don’t know the reason for it. All you have to know is that I have given you a job to do and that you are equipped to do it. 

You can love well. You can love with wisdom and gentleness. You can love with perseverance and determination. It does not mean the ones you love will love you back. It does not mean that the circumstances will change. But in loving well, in trusting me, in laying down your doubts and believing I give you what you need in the circumstance to love the people in your life well, you are pulling me close. You are welcoming me into your heart, into the situation. 

And when you remember me like that, you are choosing love to champion you. And isn’t that what you want most? For love to champion you? That is how doubt is washed away, doubt that there is another chance, doubt that any good can come, doubt that a new beginning is possible. Remember me, child. Remember who I am. Let me show you more of who I am. 

I am all about new beginnings. I am the one who washes away sin. I have done it. My Son has done it. And I am in the business of continuing to wash you clean of the things that make you doubt, make you distracted from truth, and pull you away from me. But this is your choice now: lean into hope, surrender all circumstances, pursue loving people the way I have made you to do it. And then you are restored again. 

The circumstances are only restored to the degree that I am present. You can make that choice for you. And your action, then, of choosing me, will be what works as a witness for the people whom you love. Daughter . . . son  be a witness of my love in your heart. That is the only thing that will make a difference here. So, that doubt? What is there to doubt? I love you. You know how I love to show you more and more and more and more and more of what that means, in your life, right now. 

Exercise:

Loving people is tough. Much of the time, loving is just tough. Because people are involved. And people make things messy. We can’t control love, or perfect how we do it or recieve it. We make mistakes. And those mistakes can build over time, as can our frustration. Those mistakes are painful to us, and they cause pain in others. We get down on ourselves and angry about our circumstances and often try one of two things—we either give up and check out, or use aggression to try to regain control . . . to force our way, force our solution.

Passivity. Or aggression. Both reveal the states of our hearts . . . and the level of our pride. Because both of these tactics come out of hearts that have hardened. Both approaches reveal how we’re struggling to trust God. Because, whether it’s through self-protection or manipulation or sheer force, what we’re really doing is trying to do things our way. Believing it’s all up to us, we’re trying to solve our problems ourselves . . . and that never turns out as planned.

Look, we get it. It can feel good, logical, powerful, to go forward with a hardened heart. It feels justified and appropriate. After all, soft hearts get hurt. Soft hearts are vulnerable. And why would we choose to make ourselves vulnerable? Especially without any guarantee that our circumstances will change? Especially if our hope has dimmed.

Well, here’s why: because God can work through a soft heart. His immense power—the most powerful force the universe has ever known—the very force that brought light out of darkness, the very force that created the universe, the force that sacrifices everything for love, the force that conquers death and is, right now, restoring everythingthat force can flow through a soft heart. Not one that is hard.

Because here’s the thing, when we allow our hearts to soften, we’re accepting that we . . . need . . . help. When we choose to soften our hearts, we’re trusting and turning to God and asking for that help. We’re thereby making ourselves into conduits of His resurrection power—the very same power that brought Jesus back to life. We’re allowing that power to energize us to love. We’re allowing God to bring resurrection and restoration, through us, into our circumstances. We’re allowing love to be our champion. And that’s exactly what we need to do.

So, will you join me now in prayer?

Jesus, I can’t do this anymore. I’m done trying to solve things on my own. I need you now. 

I’m choosing to trust You. I’m trusting you more than I trust myself. I’m trusting you more that I trust any tip or tactic, any scheme or worldly solution.

So, I’m ready to soften my heart. After everything that’s happened, honestly, I admit, it’s not what I want to do. It feels like the exact opposite of what I should do, but I surrender to Your Way nevertheless. From now on, I want to let You protect me, rather than trying to protect myself. I want Your power to work in my circumstances. I want Your love to flow through my heart—rather than passivity or aggression.

I know I won’t do this perfectly, but I am going to try. I am going to try to try, everyday. And when I blow it, I’m going to ask for Your resurrection power to come, once again.

And I believe you’ll give me everything I need—to trust, to surrender right now, to soften my heart, to love well. I believe I can do all of it, if I do it with You. So, I want to. It’s You and me from here out. And because we’re in this together, I know I’m going to see miracles happen in situations and circumstances that have become otherwise hopeless—because that’s the kind of God you are.

Amen.