What You Want Most in Life

Surrender to God and Obedience to His Ways

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One of life's most bittersweet moments is when you finally realize you don't have it all figured out.

It hits you like a hammer and there's a crushing period of discouragement, but there is an upside. By the process of elimination, you've gotten rid of what doesn't work. Now how do you find out what does?

Maybe you thought it was wealth or career success or personal fame. Your dream house seemed to be it, or was it your dream car? Achievements were satisfying, but only for a while. Even marriage didn't turn out to be the cure-all you expected.

In a sense, we're all after the same thing, but we're unable to put our finger on it. All we're sure of is that we haven't found it yet.

The Crevices We Try to Ignore

What we want most in life is to be right.

I'm not talking about right in the sense of right or wrong, although that's a part of it. Nor am I talking about righteousness. That's a state of acceptability to God that we can't earn ourselves but can only receive by accepting Jesus Christ as savior.

No, we want to be right and know we're right. Yet each of us has hidden crevices of unrest in our soul. We try to ignore them, but if we're honest, we have to admit they're there.

We're not even sure what those crevices contain. Is it unforgotten sin? Is it doubt? Is it the memory of some good we might have done but were too selfish to do at the time?

These crevices prevent us from being right. We can work and try all our lives, but we can't seem to reach them. Every day we see people trying to get right on their own. From miserable celebrities to self-destructive politicians to greedy business people, the harder they try, the worse their lives become. We can't get right on our own.

Living Without Being Right

Everyone with an ounce of self-awareness eventually figures out there's a price to pay to be right.

The trouble is that we misjudge how high that price is. Unbelievers would rather live without being right than accept Jesus Christ. They decide, first, that Jesus is not the answer and second, that even if he is, that answer would cost them too much.

We Christians, on the other hand, suspect how to get right, but we think the price is too high as well. For us, that price is surrender.

Surrender is what Jesus was commanding when he said, "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." (Matthew 16:25, NIV)

It sounds scary, but surrender—complete obedience to God—is what's required of us to clean out those nooks and crannies of uncertainty.

How Obedience Differs from Works

Let's be clear: We receive salvation through grace and not through works. When we perform good deeds, it's out of gratitude to Jesus and to spread his Kingdom, not to earn our way into heaven.

When we submit ourselves to the will of God, however, the Holy Spirit works through us. His power is magnified through our obedience so we become an instrument in the hands of the Great Physician, healing lives.

But surgical instruments must be sterile. So Christ first cleans out those crevices as only he can: completely. When those nagging pockets of uncertainty are gone, finally we are right.

Christian, Like Christ

Jesus lived in total obedience to his Father and calls everyone to do the same. When we make that decision to obey, we follow Christ in the purest way possible.

Have you ever tried to run with your arms full? It's hard, and the more things you're carrying, the harder it becomes.

Jesus says, "Come, follow me," (Mark 1:17, NIV), but Jesus walks fast because he has a lot of ground to cover. If you want to follow Jesus more closely, you have to throw away some of those things you're carrying. You know what they are. The more empty your arms, the closer you can get to him.

Surrender to God and obedience to his ways brings what we want most in life. That's the only way we can be right.