Being Spiritually Real Or, What Does It Mean to Surrender?

by Harry W. Schaumburg

I believe many people live the “Christian life” without being spiritually real. Let me explain what I mean. Many Christians have adopted a lifestyle that follows a form of spirituality that seems right to them. The question we must ask is this: Is our Christian life a reality truly shaped by biblical theology, namely the Word and Spirit of God? If it is not, we can live what is called “a Christian life,” but in the end live an unauthorized version of what it means to be a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only will we be disloyal to the teachings of the Teacher, but publicly we will present a gospel that is weak and foolish.

Essentially, this type of Christian life is lived out more by instinct than on the basis of the truth that is revealed to us in God’s Word. Basic to this life is an emotional interest in God; an interest in Bible reading, prayer and books on how to live the Christian life. Such activities tend to quiet the person’s mind and their souls feels lifted emotionally. But are they really in the battle; can they stand the heat and will they persevere to the end? Are they being spiritually real?

The ultimate illusion we create, and from which all other illusions evolve, is a false god. The ultimate illusion of a false god is always based on the false belief that God exists to serve us rather than the truth that we exist for God. When we live the Christian life with only an emotional interest in the God of the Universe we are inclined to relate to Him and pray in a manner that indicates that we think we know how our lives are supposed to work. In this form of spirituality we dictate to God what we want. In the end, God is not God, we are!

The core problem is that there has been no surrender to the will of God. Simply, their minds are not conformed to the mind of Christ(see Phil. 2:1-11). Rather, one is in danger of becoming hard and dogmatic toward God and others. After all, we think we know what God should being doing in the situation so we certainly know what others should do too. I have so often quoted Oswald Chambers on this matter: “We are intellectually insubordinate, spiritually stubborn, and we dictate to God in our pious phraseology what we want and then hunt through the Bible to back up our pet theories.”

To move beyond the “Christian life” of today and be spiritually real with a deep interest in God, not just an emotional interest, we must embrace an intense spiritual reality that is built on surrender to the will of God. Simply put, to be spiritually real, I must acknowledge that my life is not my own. As Os Guinness puts it, “I have nothing to gain, nothing to lose and nothing to proven. I only want to hear the words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’” On the surface, we can give up things and devote ourselves to serving God. However, is that really surrender? Is God really God? We can talk about surrender and even think we are surrendered to God, but we must ask ourselves the following question. Personally, I find it convicting. “Do I understand that whatever comes into my life is of the Lord?” So many things in our lives, from the mundane to the atrocious, produce a call for deliverance or relief. How quickly we miss the point of God working to shape and use us for His glory.

Ponder that question, and let it challenge your beliefs in light of the revelation of scripture (see Psalm139:16; Hebrews 12:1-2; Eph. 1:11; James 4:13-16),. Then consider this from Paul. “Do all things without grumbling or questioning . . .”(Phil. 2:14), which follows his earlier imperative that “. . . our manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ . . .” (Phil. 1:27). As we apply this exhortation we also live out what it means to “. . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure”(Phil 2:12, 13). The focus is not having life work according to our plans and purposes, but setting our primary role in the world: That we are to be “. . . blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life . . .” (Phil. 2:15, 16). I often quote Dallas Willard in one of the BIC seminars, “We are to be the anvil, but not the doormat.” “We are to be the anvil when bad men are the hammer,” states Charles Spurgeon. God is shaping us; He is shaping others through us.
The challenge is to live our lives in dramatic contrast to the secular views that now dominate not only our thinking but our lifestyle. If we take the challenge, our lives can be shaped and directed by a unique biblical view of living. We will live an intense spiritual reality, a surrendered life.

Any questions or comments you can email them to:

© 2005 Stone Gate Resources Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No part may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright owner.