Read His Words Before Ours!
“God, break my heart for what breaks yours.”
I knew I needed to pray those words but was hesitant to say them out loud to God. I had been thinking about it for some time, but always hesitated. I didn’t want to say the words without fully meaning them, and to me, they were scary words, ones I associated with doing something hard for Jesus like moving to a different country or becoming heavily involved in some ministry that would drastically change my life.
What caught me off guard was how much surrendering would be involved, how much tearing down would be needed.
“If I rebuild those things that I tore down, I show myself to be a lawbreaker. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” (Galatians 2:18-21)
In order for something to be rebuilt, the old must first be torn down.
For me, this meant in order for God to answer my prayer, many of my old thoughts, habits, and patterns for living had to be torn down and surrendered to Jesus. I had to be willing to give up control and allow Him to work in ways that didn’t make sense to me.
Think for a minute about what it is to tear something down. My mind goes to the typical “Demo Day” we see on home refurb shows. Swinging sledgehammers, ripping cabinets off walls, cutting through wires and pipes. In a word, destruction. But the home builders know the old must go to make way for the new and improved.
The same is true for us.
God must tear down the old to make way for the new. Often, the tearing down can be painful and seem like nothing but destruction. But our Savior is not content with “good enough.” He wants all of us, all the time. Imagine our Father God rolling up His sleeves and getting to work in our spirits, pulling out sin-twisted desires, behaviors, and idols to make way for the light and space and freshness of His holiness.
Romans 6:6-7 reiterates, “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin.”
When I did ask God to break my heart for what breaks His, He began to strip away much that filled me with pride and status. Jobs were lost, relationships were broken, and health issues requiring rest seemed to come in wave after wave.
In the midst of the hardest times, I could not understand what was happening or why, but God, in His faithful goodness, slowly but surely allowed me to understand He was clearing the way to rebuild something I would never have imagined.
Stop living the old way, chasing sin and its desires. Instead, let God do His work and show you a new, better way. Allow God to build within you a life in which you are like Him.
(Ephesians 4:22-24, my paraphrase)
I’m not gonna lie, complete surrender is hard.
Waiting is hard.
At times, I said, “God, what is happening? I already learned this lesson!” God would graciously show me how I was still holding onto my ways where He wanted complete surrender.
I can also honestly say I cannot imagine what my life would be like today if I had not uttered that prayer.
My life with God in charge is oh-so-much better than the one I was building for myself. The broken friendships have been replaced with much deeper and richer friendships. There are new jobs, new ministries, new routines, and much more; God’s ways are indeed the better way!
So go ahead, friends! Whisper that big, scary prayer.
Ask Jesus to pry your fingers loose from their death-grip on control and the parts of your heart made dull, dusty, and lifeless by sin. In full surrender, turn to embrace the new life He is building in you, believing that even when the work is hard and the journey is long, “He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!