Sunday, at the end of my sermon entitled, “Freed to Slavery: the joy of total surrender”, I said that our Master, Jesus, sets us free to love others so that people might find freedom in Christ. As an illustration I read some excerpts from a Katie Davis’s book, Kisses From Katie. Katie is college age woman who is has found freedom in Christ and now uses her freedom to intensely love others with her life. Here are some excerpts that describe the joy of total surrender and I hope encourage us to love faithfully, daily, liberally, for the glory of God and for others to experience the joy of a “wrecked life.”
You see, Jesus wrecked my life. For as long as I could remember, I had everything this world says is important. In high school I was class president, homecoming queen, top of my class. I dated cute boys and wore cute shoes and drove a cute sports car. I had wonderful supportive parents who so desired my success that they would have paid for me to go to college anywhere my heart desired. But I loved Jesus.
And the fact that I loved Jesus was beginning to interfere with the plans I once had for my life and certainly with the plans others and for me. My heart had been apprehended by a great love, a love that compelled me to live differently…. I began to delve into the truths of Scripture. As I read and learned more and more of what Jesus said I liked the lifestyle I saw around me less and less. I began to realize that God wanted more from me and I wanted more of Him…. Slowly but surely I began to realize the truth: I had loved and admired and worshiped Jesus without doing what He said. This recognition didn’t happen overnight; in fact I believe it was happening as I explored the possibility of overseas volunteer work, it was happening as I took my first three-week trip to Uganda, it was happening as I fell in love with a beautiful country full of gracious, joyful people and immense poverty and squalor that begged me to do more. It was happening in so many ways, and I couldn’t deny it. I wanted to actually do what Jesus said to do.
So I quit my life…
She goes on to describe how this quitting of life was a surrendering of her whole life to Him and His ways. She says,
I no longer have all the things the world says are important. I do not have a retirement fund; I do not even have electricity some days. But I have everything I know is important. I have a joy and peace that are unimaginable and can come only from a place better than this earth. I cannot fathom being happier. Jesus wrecked my life, shattered it to pieces, and put it back together more beautifully.
During the first few months I lived in Uganda, in fall of 2007, I wrote, “Sometimes working in a Third World country makes me feel like I am emptying the ocean with an eyedropper.” Today, it often still feels that way. I have learned to be okay with this feeling because I have learned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however change the world for one person…. And if one person sees the love of Christ in me, it is worth every minute. In fact, it is worth spending my life for….
People often I ask if I think my life is dangerous, if I am afraid. I am much more afraid of remaining comfortable. Matthew 10:28 tells us not to fear things that can destroy the body but things that can destroy the soul. I am surrounded by things that can destroy the body. I interact almost daily with people who have deadly diseases, and many times I am the only person who can help them. I live in a country with one of the world’s longest-running wars taking place just a few hours away. Uncertainty is everywhere. But I am living in the midst of the uncertainty and risk, amid things that can destroy my soul: complacency, comfort, and ignorance. I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy. (Kisses From Katie, pXVII-XIX)
Have we experienced the joy of a wrecked life? This life will take us to places we never dreamed. It might not be Uganda or even overseas, but the point is not as much where are you surrendered but are you surrendered wholly to Christ? Do we want our lives, driven by His love for us, to count in the loving of others? My prayer is that when we look back at our lives we will not only stand in awe of the grace that set us free but we will say, by that same grace at work in us, “we used our freedom to love like Jesus” (Galatians 5:13). I pray we hear these words, “Well done good and faithful slave enter into the joy of your Master.” (cf. Isaiah 42:1, Matthew 25:21).