Thursday, May 28, 2015

Withholding Nothing

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” - James 1:16-17
I heard this song on the way home from church last night.  William McDowell’s soft voice singing the words “withholding nothing” stuck with me.  The song says “I give myself away”, speaking of giving all of me to God, no part of life left to cling to as my own, in which I would say, “No God, I’ve got this thing just like I want it, let me reign over this by myself.”

Over the course of my life there have been many things God has asked me to surrender to Him.  I’ve left jobs, relationships, past times that I enjoyed, plans I had made, the controlling nature I have over my children and others, situations in which I wanted control.  But looking back on these 51 years He has given me, I can honestly say that not one thing – not one - have I given to Him that He did not give me back something more precious.

James 1:16-17 says Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  He is the “Father of lights”, meaning brightness, pureness, all things made visible and exposed, all power of understanding.  He never has moments of “variation or shadow” when He is not understanding and seeing all things clearly.

It took struggles to get there, but I now understand this verse.  He is my source of all good and perfect things.  Yet often I lived life looking for those desires to be filled by things of this world.  The job, I thought, would do it.  The money would do it.  The friends would do it.  The power and authority and control and prestige and popularity - the world taught me these would do it.  But the simple truth is, Sovereign God is the source of all good and perfect things. 

Jesus spoke in Matthew 7:7-11 about God’s great gifts.  He says:

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

There have been times I figuratively asked for the stone, and He gave bread instead.  I asked for the serpent, and He gave me the fish.  I didn’t like the gift at the time because I didn’t understand that God’s way and God’s plan were greater than anything I could dream up.  I thought I knew what was best for my life.  I mean, after all, it was “mine”, LOL! 

There is nothing to fear in giving over even your most precious parts of your life to God.  He seeks to do you good and not harm.  The One who knew us even before we were formed in our mother’s womb (Jeremiah 29:11) certainly knows what we need most!  His plan for us is perfect, as He alone can see the future as history (Isaiah 46:10).  The struggles I’ve had in life, which by His grace were few, have been because I choose to interfere in His plan, to hold on to things He told me to let go of and give over to His will.  It will always be a struggle when we go against the will of God.  When I stopped withholding them from Him, and turned them over in prayer, He gave me better than I expected.

Victorious life is found in complete surrender to Him.  Lord, help me to live in complete surrender.


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