The Lamb’s Surrender
Ken Sande writes,
Idolatry is the most discussed problem in the Bible of the human condition. It is anything that we love and pursue in place of God. In biblical terms, an idol is something other than God that we set our hearts on ( Luke 12:29;1 Cor. 10:6), that motivates us (1 Cor. 4:5), that masters or rules us (Ps. 119:133), or that we serve (Matt. 6:24).”
Idolatry is anything I look at and say, “If I have that, my life has value.” If there is anything in my life that is so central that I feel like I can’t live without then it is an idol. For us as believer’s idolatry is often making a good thing into an ultimate thing.[i] The evil in our desires typically does not lie in what we want but that we want it too much. So an idol is something other than God that we set our hearts on. Whenever we make something more important than God we are committing idolatry. There is always a reason for sin. Under our sins are idolatrous desires. Sin isn’t only doing bad things, it is often making good things into ultimate things. Whatever we build our life on will drive us or enslave us. Whenever we build our self-worth or happiness on anything other than on God we have idols in our life. At the core of all our idolatry is pride. As C.J. Mahaney writes,
“Pride is when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence on him.”
We cannot save ourselves. A divine rescue is needed and thanks be to Jesus Christ who has made a way through the cross!
The best way to confront and deal with the idols in our lives is to come humbly before the foot of the cross. When we are exposed to the humble God, we fall prostrate and cast out crowns down before the Worthy One! As John Stott writes,
“Every time we look at the cross, Christ seems to be saying to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’ Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. In light of God’s awesome holiness, and our utter depravity, we must cling to the cross of Christ as our only hope.
As C.J. Mahaney writes,
“Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s Holiness and our Sinfulness.”
God calls us to set our minds on the glory of the humble God,
Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
The ultimate revelation of the humility of Christ is found at the cross and this is where we must go as well. Jesus became our burnt offering sacrifice. As Leviticus 1:3-9 (ESV) says,
“If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord. He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him… Then he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces…And the priest shall burn all of it on the altar, as a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.”
He was without sin, a male without blemish. He offered his all in complete and total surrender to the will of the Father. He became our burnt offering sacrifice on the cross so that we might become his living sacrifice. To have an obedient heart in total submission to the will of the Father is our highest act of worship. The leadership of Jesus consumes all of us with holy fire, so that nothing remains that is not subject to his authority. His jealous love removes everything that hinders his love from increasing in our lives!
Jesus sacrificed his all at the cross–his struggle in the garden, his sacrificial life, his obedience unto death! His dedication and unwavering commitment to ‘set his face’ like flint and go to Jerusalem in total submission to the Father! And Jesus made a voluntary choice of love. Jesus made it clear that no one was able to take His life from him. Rather, He laid his life down of his own accord![ii]
John 10:17-18 “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
The agony of Jesus is revealed in, “And he shall flay(skin) the burnt offering and cut it into pieces.” (Lev. 1:6) The word ‘flay’ means to be skinned, to tear or strip away. The scourging he took for us literally laid his flesh open like strips of ribbon off his back. He was skinned for you and I. He was stripped of all his possessions and hung naked on a cross. He was despised and rejected by men, ridiculed, scorned, and scolded on our behalf, all in absolute surrender.
We must realize that at times the Lord will allow our flesh to be flayed in order to expose who we really are. Before all can be given to him, all must be exposed.
Prayer Focus: Ask the Lord to reveal to you any known or hidden idols in your life. Write them down and then lay them down at the foot of the cross.
Then let’s pray this prayer in absolute surrender and absolute delight,
“Lord, I surrender every part of my life to you. I lie before you open and exposed. You have the right to be Lord of every part of my life.”
[i] Tim Keller, Idol Factory, quoted from sermon by C.J. Mahaney