Beware of surrender that is motivated by personal benefits that may result. For example, “I’m going to give myself to God because I want to be delivered from sin, because I want to be made holy.” — Oswald Chambers
This quote made me check my theology. When I first read it I thought that Oswald was tripp’n. I’m in my head like “Dude why else would a person go to God?” Most often (but probably not every time) when a person is first convicted of their need of Christ it’s because they recognize their brokenness and need of a someone who can save them from the mess that they are in. Ever since I was a young child, I’ve heard it preached from the pulpit that we need to come to Jesus and give Him our lives so He can save us from sin and heal us and make us whole. Not often is relationship first emphasized when appeals are made from the pulpit for one to see their need of Christ. The focus of the need for forgiveness is most definitely essential and is what convicts. But it’s so important to point the person to relationship, within the same breath of the same sermon. If relationship is not made the center then the tendency will be for the person to develop a self-centered relationship based on getting things from God instead of surrendering to Him because they love Him. Yes even the thing that God wants to do most for humanity, which is deliver us from this crap called sin that we are in, can be selfish if we are so focused on that instead of putting relationship first. Why? Because then we are only asking for God’s cleaning services and not looking for intimacy and love. True purity comes from intimacy and love. When we view this from the proper perspective, deliverance can only come by true intimacy with God. Deliverance revels the need for relationship. But I rarely have I heard it taught this way.
When I thought about this quote some more I got a ping upside my head from the Holy Spirit reminding me that He pointed this out to me in the garden of Eden story. See sin is nothing more that broken relationship with God. I’ve shared before that a definition of sin I came across, that I had never seen before, made what I am sharing all make since. Without all of the exegesis the definition that I came across was simply “not having a share in”. When I read that root definition for sin I had to ask myself how does this fit? What is there “no share in” and what God revealed to me were His attributes. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness,” Eph. 4:22-24.
Here’s the quick breakdown again. Adam and Eve were made in God’s image. But, when they sinned that changed. When Eve listened to the serpent see took on his thoughts (forfeiting the mind of Christ her Creator), which lead to her loosing her righteousness (a.k.a. right standing with God a.k.a. relationship), which caused her to no longer be holy (whole in her spirit, mind and body – wholeness). The only way back to any of this is by relationship first. You can’t get wholeness before the mind of Christ and righteousness. Being delivered from sin and being made holy are the result of being right with God. We are in this mess because Eve cheated on God. Her cheating was the vehicle for a broken relationship.
The Bible tells us that Christ became our sin so that we can become His righteousness. When He was on the cross He felt the full extent of a broken relationship (sin), as He reconciled us to God. What He did for us was all about relationship. He made it so for us to be able to fellowship with the Father, the way He does through, His reconciliation and get back what we had before “the fall.”
So the next time we are asking God for deliverance from something check first and ask for more intimacy. Likewise when we are telling someone about God, who has not experienced Him, if they are focusing on trying to get rid of sin, point them to relationship first.