Years ago, when I surrendered my life to Christ, I pursued God with everything I had. I had just come out of an ungodly relationship with a man that ended in betrayal, disappointments, and very deep hurts. I was so determined to follow Christ…I was so done doing things my way……my way did not work…especially in the area of relationships!
About a year into my relationship with God, a young man appeared at my church who showed a great hunger for God. He caught my attention for a minute because of his passion and excitement for Jesus. I was determined to keep my focus on the Lord and would not allow him or anything else to become a distraction in my life…especially since I had struggled so much with relationships in my past.
As I continued to grow spiritually, I didn’t know at that particular time that this man believed I was his wife. To make a long story short, mutual feelings began to develop between him and me, we began a relationship, and I had the expectation that we were going to be married soon.
As things progressed, we had to maintain a long distance relationship due to his job out of state. During this time we were apart, I felt that something just didn’t seem right. I began to see some things and began to question and wonder, “Lord, is this the man you have for me? I am not being treated like a gem or more precious than jewels and rubies…” (Proverbs 3:15, 31:10)
I expressed my concern to my Christian friends and church leaders. Their advice?…I didn’t have to stay in the relationship. My immediate thoughts were…“But no…he’s my husband!…he thinks I am his wife! This doesn’t make sense. I went through so many bad relationships while not living for God, and now I am living right and in a God honoring relationship with a Godly man. How can I walk away?”
Well, it happened to turn out that we had to end our relationship…it was just not working out. I had to lay the relationship down…lay it down at Jesus’ feet. I remember how hard it was to surrender it and lay it down! I believed I was going to marry this man! I was so hurt and disappointed.
Is there something in your life right now that God wants you to surrender and lay down at his feet?
A relationship that isn’t Godly or just isn’t working out? ( I am not talking about marriage here.)
A death of a child or loved one that keeps you kneeling at the altar with an inability to get up and move forward? (I am not talking about the natural grieving process of losing a loved one.)
A great disappointment in your life that keeps you from living out the purpose and destiny that God has for you?
A career that you love so much but is affecting your marriage or family negatively?
An addiction or area of sin that keeps you from the blessings that God wants to give you?
A tragedy or painful experience from your past that continues to keep you paralyzed?
What do you do when God wants you to lay down something that means so much to you?
In Genesis 22:1-19, is the perfect example of laying down something in your life that means so much…it’s the story of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac. Can you even imagine? I mean God asking you to surrender your child?…sacrifice him on the altar! This is exactly what God asked Abraham to do…surrender his son Isaac.
“Take your son, your only son–yes, Isaac, whom you love so much–and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” Genesis 22:2 NLT
Ok…I want to give you a little more perspective here…It would have been enough if God had simply said, “Take your son.” But He qualified this phrase in three ways…
1) “your only son”…not forgetting Ishmael who was also his son, but meaning that Isaac was the promised son.
2) “Isaac”…the son for whom Abraham and Sarah had waited for 25 years!
3) “whom you love so much”…which might seem as if God were mocking Abraham, but these words were meant to reassure him that God knew what he was asking. By saying it this way, Abraham would know that God understood what it would cost him to obey and to trust him.
How exactly do you do that? How do you lay down something you love or care about so much?
By surrendering 3 things…Abraham needed to surrender 3 things…his mind, emotions, and will.
Side note…it’s important to remember that Abraham is not a supernatural person or being…he was human…flesh and blood, no different than us…just like us with our thoughts, feelings, and desires.
Abraham had to surrender his mind…his intellect…his thoughts. He had to surrender what made sense or in this case what didn’t make sense to him. I would venture to say that Abraham probably thought in his mind something like… “This makes absolutely no sense! …God promised us for years that we would have a son and now I am supposed to offer him as a sacrifice? How am I to be a father of many nations without a son to carry on? I don’t understand this at all!”
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5
Abraham had to surrender his emotions…his feelings…his affections. When Abraham was walking up the mountain to build an altar with his son Isaac, I would think that as any parent loving their child, he was holding back the tears. Of course, his heart was crushed and burdened with this task that God had asked him to do. He loved Isaac so much!
Abraham had to surrender his will…what he really wanted to do. Like any of us parents, I am sure Abraham really wanted to grab Isaac and head back home, spend many more years with him and watch him grow up! But he surrendered his will for God’s will. Abraham had to will to do the will of God in preference to his own will.
Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done. Luke 22:42b ESV
This was truly a test for Abraham…surrendering his mind, emotions, and will…surrendering his son Isaac. And is a test for us as well having to surrender and lay down something we care about so much…surrendering our thoughts, feelings, and desires.
As we continue to read on, we see that Abraham passed this test because God spared Isaac’s life and provided a ram to be sacrificed in his place. And we see that Abraham is blessed for his obedience…
I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me. Genesis 22:17-18
The first step in laying something down is surrendering our mind, emotions, and will just as Abraham did. I am going to take this story of Abraham laying down Isaac just a little further…
What in your life is God asking you to not just lay down today…but let go…and walk away?
You see …even though I laid my relationship down, it took me years to truly get passed the hurt. It was as if I climbed the mountain…laid down the relationship at the altar…but didn’t let go… and walk away! I was still kneeling at the altar…for 2 years!… with all the heartbreak and disappointments.
When you lay down something that you love and care about your faith and trust is tested…whether it’s laying down a relationship…the feelings of deep sorrow for losing a loved one…a great disappointment…a job/career you have worked so hard for…an area of sin that has enslaved you for many years…or past hurts and painful experiences.
Do you trust God enough that he will work all things out for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose? Romans 8:28
Do you trust God enough that he will heal your broken heart and restore you? Psalm 147:3
Do you trust God enough that he will provide for you? Philippians 4:19
Do you trust God enough that he will strengthen you and make you a slave to righteousness? Romans 6:18
Laying down something at Jesus’ feet is surrendering…giving up…handing over…something you may love and care about greatly. Laying down something you love and care about at the altar is not easy and even though there may be a time to mourn and grieve and feel sorrow, God also wants us to move forward. Don’t get me wrong, even this grieving process takes time and is different for everyone but there also needs to be a moment that you lay it down, let go, get up from kneeling at the altar and walk back down the mountain.
Some of us today need to lay down our Isaacs… some of us need to let go…and some of us need to walk away…back down that mountain, right to Jesus and His trusting arms. You will never know what’s on the other side if you don’t give it to him. It’s never easy but He is right there waiting for you…
As I look into my children’s eyes, I would have never known years ago that God had plans to bless me with raising 2 beautiful boys with a Godly husband who loves and treats me like I am more precious than any jewel…
1) Is there something you need to lay down at the altar?
2) Are you still kneeling at the altar? Do you still need to let go? Or walk away?
3) What is holding you back from surrendering what God wants you to lay down? Fear? Lack of trust? Lack of control?
1) If you feel God is prompting you to lay something down at his feet, pray for the Lord to give you the strength, courage and trust to lay it down.
2) Ask the Lord to give you Christian family/friends for support to move forward.
3) Continue to read God’s word to encourage your faith and to keep you focused on Him and not the very thing you laid down.