By Gary Rohrmayer
I was 14 years old when I took lifeguard certification at a youth camp. One of the last parts of the training was to simulate a rescue of a person who was thrashing out of control and fighting to keep their head above water. They taught us how to come up behind the person and grab them around the chest to immobilize them so you could swim them safely back to shore. The person I was chosen to rescue was a college age student who was much bigger and stronger than me. As he was thrashing in the water, I came up behind him and locked my arms around his chest. For the next 10 seconds, which felt like an eternity, he did everything he could to get out of my grip. He finally gave up and rested in my arms as I swam him safely to shore.
How many of us have a fight with God in our minds through worry, anger, fear, doubt and comparison?
These mental struggles can be so physically draining and spiritually damaging. They rob us physically and emotionally and steal the peace, love, joy, trust and contentment that God desires for us.
The renewing of our minds starts with surrendering ourselves to God consciously, continually and completely.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2).
What does surrendering look like practically?
Surrendering involves grasping on to God. We grasp on to what God has done for us through His merciful kindness. Paul writes, “…in view of God’s mercy…”. God’s mercy is defined as ‘God withholding what we really deserve.’ We deserve judgment because of our sinful nature and in light of our rebellion towards God our minds are depraved. Yet God through His grace gives us what we do not deserve, His righteousness, His favor and the ability to have a renewed mind through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Surrendering also involves giving up control. Giving up control by offering ourselves to God. Paul uses the worship language of the Old Testament, “…to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God…” As an act of our free will we say yes to God. We make ourselves available to God. We align our lives with His thoughts, will and desires. We allow His word to reign in us and through us.
Surrendering involves resting in God’s presence. He continues, “…this is your true and proper worship.” Worship is an act of rest, an act of peace, where we are so caught up with who God is and what God has accomplished for us that nothing else matters. This is not escapism but realization that God is bigger than problems and that He can be trusted. Worship lifts us up out of the ordinary and gives us a fresh perspective.
The renewing of our minds starts when we stop the mental wrestling match with God and rest in the wonders of His love for us.
- Are you seeing more and more of a need for mental toughness in your life?
- How does daily surrendering practically work itself out in your ministry?
- What spiritual disciplines do you have in place to help you be more resistant to the daily distractions of our culture?
- How did Jesus stay mentally focused in the midst of temptation? (Mathew 4:1-11)
- What is the difference between realism and optimism?