The happiest Christians are those who have relinquished all rights and yielded themselves entirely to Christ. Can you think of ONE thing that is truly your 'right' as a Christian? I can think of one: to boldly enter the throneroom of grace to find the help we need! There aren't many more than that!
"But," I hear people say, "I have the right to do what I please with MY spare time." Really? When I got married, this was perhaps the hardest area for me to address in myself. When I was single generally I had complete freedom as to what I did in my free time - watching T.V., reading novels, surfing the internet. Funny, isn't it, how we often end up marrying someone SO opposite from us?! These three activities were not merely a preference issue to my husband, but on occasion he viewed them as moral issues (like, it's morally wrong to waste time)! (Hope Sam doesn't mind that I share this - don't worry people - he has totally changed and these were just some of those minor - or major - things we had to figure out in the early years of marriage)! Because of some of these issues (not because I agreed but in deference to his conscience), I chose to give up my 'rights' to use my free time how I chose. Many of you may balk at such thinking, but our marriage has been the better for it (and in time he changed many of his views on these things - like having a healthy theology of leisure). Choosing to relinquish control over 'my' time enriched our marriage and taught me to find my satisfaction in Christ - not in my freedoms, preferences and desires.
"Well," some may say, "at least my extra money that I worked so hard to earn - money left over after paying bills etc. - at least that is mine to do whatever I want with - mine to control..." As a Christian, can you truly say that? Even our money is a gift from above. Is it truly 'mine' or is God trying to use me as a vessel - to bring this material blessing into someone else's life?
Again, I must say that when we relinquish control of every area of life and trust Jesus to meet our needs, we will find deep satisfaction in Him and release from the burdens that come with control. If I must control every aspect of my life, from how I eat, to how I use time, to how I use money, then if I am unhappy or dissatisfied, I bear the weight of responsibility for my displeasure. But if I have given complete control to God, I am free from such burdens! Will He disappoint me? He beckons me to find my complete satisfaction in Him - am I willing?
Do I think that if I maintain control in just one area of my life, that I'll be happier - more satisfied? How foolish of me if I do! My view of God must be minute if I cannot even trust Him to fill me up inside, to minister to my deepest needs.
Have you discovered areas of your life that need His control? Do you feel a weight of responsibility for your own happiness and satisfaction in life? Why not pray with me now the following prayer?
"O Lord, You are the Great God Who created the Universe! In Your wisdom You have placed me here for a time. I confess that I have such a twisted view of things. So often I think I'm the center of the universe and think my happiness should be a priority. I confess that I so easily take the reigns of my life and try so hard to steer it where I want it to go. Please release me Lord from this huge burden of control. I now surrender to You - take the reigns of my life and fill me with You - fill me with joy in Your presence. Lord, I now trust You for all that is to come. I place now into Your hands all that I am, all that I have, and all that I hope to be. May I be willing to relinquish control to You in every area of my life, even when this means surrendering to the will of another.
Forgive me I pray. Help me to live as Your child, content in Your presence. I love You my Saviour, my dearest Friend.
In Jesus' worthy name - for Your glory I ask these things, Amen."
A song we used to sing in Hong Kong went like this:
"Father I place into Your hands the things that I can't do,
Father I place into Your hands the times that I've been through,
Father I place into Your hands the way that I should go,
For I know I always can trust You."