I came to the following conclusion about myself after listening to some teaching on Premier Christian Radio several months ago: “I didn’t know that surrender meant suffering, so I used to run.” I made a note in my phone then added the following: “Dying to something meant pain. When dead to it, there’s no pain. I was still in pain so I changed my prayer request from, “Use me Lord!” to “Continue processing me Lord.” I noted it all in my phone. Looking on those notes today, I wanted to share it in, the event there is someone who can benefit from my notes.
You may be standing in that place of fear where I once stood; having ran away from going through the process that takes place in the Potters House. When I said, “I surrender Lord!” I expected everything to run smoothly. I had no teaching to say otherwise. Then again, I was quite young so even if I had the teaching, I might not have maintained it. I was a child when I gave my life to Christ. I faced many difficult situations then but I escaped by running for safety. Then in my adult years having developed that natural tendency to run, running became my preferred choice when faced with difficult situations.
I disliked the idea of confrontation. Therefore, instead of finding a way to help resolve the conflict I would remain silent (for fear of being seen as a complainer or falling into the category of being a gossiper). I wanted to honour God in all that I did and His Word told me in Philippians 2:14 to do everything without complaining and arguing. There are various verses in Proverbs and elsewhere in the Bible warning us against slander/gossip. I later sat in a meeting at church where a few of the leaders were discussing the Scriptures that says:
“Come let us reason together” (Isa 1:18); “Debate thy cause with thy neighbour” (Prov 25:9);
“If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Gal 6:1) and
“Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2).
I then realised that I could no longer sit and remain silent while injustice was taking place. “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). Therefore, I started to share examples of things that were not in order and presenting ways to correct them, based on Scripture. I shared in conversations with the individuals or groups concerned. But when nothing was done I would share in writing presenting ways to improve. I soon became the individual to avoid and soon after I was standing in the corridor wondering where I belonged. The years passed by and slowly I was dying a spiritual death. I no longer had a relationship with the people in my fellowship and I wished I had remained silent because I found myself standing at a place of rejection and seeing the various ministries I was once involved in dying.
There is, however, a right and a wrong way to do things. For lack of maturity I got into some situations I could have avoided, if only I had known how best to handle conflict and bring about resolution. My heart was in the right place but there was an order which needed to be adhered to. I later found out that some things are best left alone while others need to be addressed. Once it is something to address then it has to follow a Biblical pattern for it to be successful. Nevertheless, even whilst following Biblical instructions we can still face hardened hearts which will make the process seem unsuccessful. Ezekiel 3 highlights that point and should, therefore, not come as a surprise to us. Verse 7 says: “But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.”
What I have learned since:
There is an old saying: “Old habits die hard” but I have been in some circles where I find that some people are not willing to give up their old ungodly habits. I have seen many relationships damaged because individuals would rather stick to what they are used to doing than to make adjustments in order to be in line with God’s Word. That is a very sad case which I found myself getting angry about and then falling for the trick of the enemy. Instead of leaving it to God and His timing I became fearful, thinking I must get them to understand or I will become that watchman spoken of in Ezekiel 3:17-18 who saw what was coming and didn’t blow the trumpet. But in trying to bring about restoration, once faced with conflict, all I needed to do was follow the instructions of Matthew 18:15-17:
Verse 15) “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”
Verse 16) “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”
Verse 17) “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.”
When I learned that, I stopped feeling sorry for myself being made to feel like an outcast. I stopped worrying about what they must think of me and what others are being told about me. If I have highlighted the problem areas and nothing is done to correct those problem areas via the various stages, then all I can do is leave it in God’s hands and continue to pray for my brothers and sisters, that God will open their eyes to the truth and they will be convicted to make the necessary changes.
Time to Reflect:
Today, I would like to encourage you to look back and see what you have done with your, “I surrender”.
When you surrendered it all to God did you realise what it meant to truly surrender?
Have you given it all to Him then taken back the controls?
Let us honour our heavenly Father by doing His will. Give it all to Him. Whatever the problem, lay it at His feet and leave it there. He will take care of it for you. Now all you have to do is relax in His presence and give Him all the praise. He created us to worship Him so let us spend quality time worshiping Him rather than worrying about things. Our time is a gift from God and it is a sin to waste it on self-pity or arguing about things that He gives clear instructions on. Let us read His Word and do what His Word commands. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” (see 2nd Tim 3:14-15). Life will be so much better if we are doers of the word and not just hearers only (see James 1:22).
Each time I get the understanding of one of these little nuggets, I take another step towards healing. My bleeding heart is in the process of healing! Praise the Lord! He is pouring in the healing oil and I can see beauty on the horizon.
© Janice S Ramkissoon, 2013.
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Your sister in Christ,
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