Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Cost of Surrender

Leslie Basham: Here's a challenging question from Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Could it be said of us, could it be said of you or of me, "She's a 100-percenter in a world of 50-percenters. Her life is 100 percent devoted to Jesus Christ"?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, July 14, 2015.

Yesterday Nancy began a series called Surrender: The Heart God Controls. It was a challenging reminder for each of us to embrace our worlds as slaves to the Lord.

Nancy: If you have listened to Revive Ours Hearts for any length of time, you know that one of my very favorite characters in Scripture is Mary of Nazareth; Mary, the mother of Jesus.

There are many things I love and admire about this woman, but one of my very favorite moments in her life is when she responds to the angel who's been sent from God to tell her that she's going to have a child though she has never been intimate with a man, and that the child is going to be the Son of God, and she's to be the mother.

And we talk about that virgin having been chosen to fulfill what had been a longing of the Jewish people for thousands of years.

But we also know that Mary had to wrestle with it because she said, "How can this be? I've never known a man." There was the impossibility of it all and then there had to be the sense that this was not what she had planned.

She was engaged to be married. She was thinking about things that engaged girls think about which is basically one: the man they're getting ready to marry.

She, like I'm sure all young girls, had her life planned, and this was not in the plan. But God came and said, "I have a task for you."

In Mary's response we have a response that I have tried to make my response increasingly over the years when the Lord asks things of me that are difficult or challenging or beyond what I think is possible.

She said in Luke chapter 1, verse 38, "I am the Lord's bondservant. May it be to me as you have said" (paraphrased).

Now some of your translations say handmaiden; the other translations say bondservant. "I am the Lord's slave. I belong to Him. I am His servant. May it be to me as You have said."

I just think that is the right answer any time God asks something
of you. Whether that is asking you to mother a child that seems impossible to love, you say, "Lord, I am Your bondservant. I will do as You have said. May it be to me as You have said."

In every challenge of life, our response is to come back to the Lord and say, "I'm Your servant. I'm Your bondslave. I'm Your handmaiden. May it be unto me as You have said. It's not my life. It's not my will. It's not my choices. It's whatever pleases You, O Lord."

As we've been talking about this matter of being a bondservant, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, living as we see in that picture in Exodus 21 of someone with a hole in our ear, the mark that was given to a bond slave in the Old Testament and as a indication that he was a lifetime slave of his owner by his own choice.

As we seek to live that way, I want us to see that there's both a price and a privilege involved in being bondslaves of the Lord Jesusliving as men and women with a hole in our ear, indicating that we've been marked as being owned by the Lord Jesus. There's a price, and there's a privilege.

Now living as a bondslave, let me start with the price. It is not always easy to be His bondslave. I think if we give people the impression that if you come to Jesus your problems will all go away and nothing will ever be hard again, there will only be roses but no thorns in your garden for the rest of your life, we're lying.

It's just not true. It isn't that way. Being a bondslave of Jesus Christ has a price that goes with it.

As I think back on my life, being a bondslave of Jesus Christ, among other things, has meant spending the vast majority of my adult life living on the road; seldom being able to put down roots, and having the challenge and the difficulty of maintaining deep or long-term relationships because God's calling in my life has not made that as possible as I would liked to have had it be.

For me to be a bondslave of Jesus Christ has meant relinquishing any right to privacy, to have a life of my own. It means, for me, relentless deadlines, not a lot of free time for entertainment, for socializing. It means not a lot of days off or nights off.

For me to be a bondslave of Christ has meant forgoing the privilege of marriage, childbearing, and on and on. Now let me just hasten to say, if I sound like I'm complaining, I don't want to and it's not my heart to. I just want you to know that being a bondslave of Christ comes with a price.

I will confess that I've done more than my share of whining and complaining about the pressures and demands of serving Christ, but I want you to know this: the foundational reality that motivates and drives my choices is the same perspective that motivated that servant in Exodus 21 to be willing to have a hole put in his ear. You know what it is? I love my Master!

When you love someone, really love them, there isn't anything that's too much ask. There's not anything that you won't gladly do for the one that you love.

And I have to say, having just given you that long list of hard things in my life, that I cannot imagine a more wonderful, gracious, kind, giving, loving Master than the Lord Jesus. And a thousand times over, I would go back to Him and I would say, "Lord Jesus, I want to be Your bondslave."

Now there are nights and there are weekends and there are holidays and there are times when I'm not feeling that way. And there are times when you're up with those sick toddlers and you're not feeling that it's a joy to be a bondslave of Jesus Christ and to serve your family in that way.

And the fact is that His requirements sometimes are hard. And sometimes they are different from the ones we would choose ourselves. And sometimes we wish that we could be free from the constraints that Jesus has placed in our lives. I want to say to you that in the deepest part of my heart, there's nothing in this world that I want more than to be His lifelong, bondslave.

Now don't think that that makes me some kind of "super saint," because I can tell you for sure I'm not. And the truth is that nothing He has ever required of me can begin to repay the debt that I owe Him. And the heart He's given me can be and ought to be the heart of every child of God.

Let me just say, by all means, please don't feel sorry for me. And I want to say that because I just gave you a list of things that could make you say, "Poor Nancy." Having just talked about the price of being a bondslave, let me just highlight the privilege.

There's not anything that He could ever ask of me that starts to compare with the incredible joys and gifts and privileges that He has lavished on me ever since I first became His bondslave as a little girl.

I think of some of those privileges:

  • the joy of knowing Him and loving Him and being loved by Him
  • the joy of having His companionship at all hours of the day and the night
  • the joy of being entrusted with the incredible riches of His glorious gospel and to be called to make it known to others

I love what I do.

And what I do is make the gospel known, and you're called to do the same thingto adorn the gospel of Jesus Christ in your role as a wife, as a mom, in your workplace, in your church, by your spirit, by your dress, by your actions, by your attitudes, by your speech. You're called to make the gospel known.

That's a privilege of being a bondservant. And all the hopes that lie ahead to have an eternal, permanent city and home and dwelling place where, Lord willing, there won't be anymore packing or suitcases. I look forward to that. Oh, I could go on to list the incredible treasures that I have received from His hand.

And when I add all those up, the ones I know about, not to speak of the ones I haven't discovered yet, don't you agree that I would be a fool to leave His service or to choose to serve anyone or anything other than Him?

You see, I'm not on the losing end and neither are you when you choose to be a woman with a hole in your ear, a bondslave of Jesus Christ. Now for you to be a bondslave of Jesus Christ will mean a different set of assignments than the ones that He has given to me.

We have to resist the temptation to compare ourselves or our assignment to the assignment He has given to someone else. For you it may mean the willingness to devote the prime years of your life to loving and serving your husband and your children or an elderly parent.

It may mean for you to get out of your comfort zone and be willing to teach a Sunday School class or lead a small group Bible study or to develop an outreach to inner city, at-risk young people.

For you to be a bondslave may mean that you're called to serve the Lord and represent Him in a workplace that is antagonistic to the gospel. It may mean cutting back on your living expenses so that you can give more generously to the Lord's work.

As you serve, remember who you're serving and remember that you do it out of love for your Master. Then as you do it, serve the Lord with gladness, not with whining, not with moaning, not with groaning. And I'll tell you, I'm preaching to myself here.

Serve the Lord with joyfulness and gladness of heart. There is no more wonderful Master. There is no higher calling anywhere on this planet than to be a woman or a man with a hole in your ear, a bondservant, a bondslave of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss isn’t finished. She’ll be right back to pick up on the topic of surrender. To help you personalize the important questions Nancy just asked, I hope you’ll get a copy of the book she wrote called Surrender: The Heart God Controls.

We’d like to send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a donation of any amount. Your gift will help Revive Our Hearts continue providing this message over the internet and over the radio each weekday. Friends like you make the ministry possible.

When you make your gift of any size, ask for the book, Surrender. Ask for it when you call 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now with the second half of today’s program, here’s Nancy.

Nancy: Have you heard the story about the chicken and the pig who were discussing what to have for breakfast?

The chicken suggested, "Let's have ham and eggs." To which the pig responded quickly, "No way! For you that's just a contribution, but for me that's total commitment!"


Now we've all heard and seen illustrations of people whose lives are totally committed to a cause. One of the most striking examples of total commitment that I’m aware of in the past one hundred years has been that of the Communist Party.

You remember that back in 1917, a small handful of men set out to bring about a world-wide revolution. And within just a few decades, they had succeeded.

Now, there's no question that their mission and the outcome of their efforts were totally evil. But the rise of the Communist Party, I think, is one of the most powerful examples of the meaning of total commitment in all of history.

Douglas Hyde was, at one time, a Communist Party leader in England. In 1947 he defected from the Party and spent the rest of his life trying to expose the Communist Party for what it was. He wrote a book years ago called Dedication and Leadership.

In that book he outlined some of the principles that the Communist Party had used to achieve its revolution.

There's a thread that runs through that whole book, and it's the theme of wholeheartedness, devotion, sacrifice, dedication to a cause. For example, he described Communists as being 100-percenters in a world of 50-percenters.

And then he said this, "Practically every Communist Party man is a dedicated man in whose life, from the time he rises in the morning until the time he goes to bed at night, for 365 days a year, communism is the dominant force."

Years ago I came across a letter that was written by a Communist Party member to his fiancé, breaking off their engagement and explaining why he felt that he had to do that. This letter (I remember my dad reading this to us when we were kids) illustrates the type of sacrificial mindset that was characteristic of many of those who devoted their lives to the Communist cause.

He wrote to his fiancé, and he said,

There is one thing about which I am in dead earnest and that is the Socialist cause. It is my life, my business, my religion, my hobby, my sweetheart, my wife, my mistress, my bread and my meat. I work at it in the daytime; I dream of it at night. Its hold on me grows, not lessens, as time goes on. I shall be in it for the rest of my life."

When you think of me, it's necessary to think of Socialism as well because I am inseparably bound to it. Therefore, I can't carry on a friendship, a love affair, or even a conversation, without relating it to this force, which both drives and guides my life.

I evaluate people and books and ideas and notions according to how they affect the Socialist cause and by their attitude toward it.

I've already been in jail because of my ideas and, if necessary, I'm willing to go before a firing squad. A certain percentage of us get killed or imprisoned. Even for those who escape these harsher ends, life is no bed of roses.

A genuine radical lives in virtual poverty. He turns back to the Party every penny he makes above what is absolutely necessary to keep him alive.

Radicals don't have the time or the money for many movies or concerts or t-bone steaks or decent homes or new cars. We've been described as fanatics. We are. Our lives are dominated by one great overshadowing factor: the struggle for Socialism.

Now, that kind of commitment to a false and wicked cause, I think, forces those of us who claim to believe the truth to examine our own level of sacrifice, commitment, devotion, and surrender.

Ask yourself, "Is my relationship with Jesus Christ the very center of my existence?" Or is it, as it is for many professing Christians, just a category of your life? A segment of your life? A piece of your life? You have your job, you have your family, you have your church, and you have your faith.

He said that that's not the way it was for these dedicated Communists. It was their whole life. And so we ask ourselves, "Like that young Communist, does my every act, every thought, every conversation, everything about me revolve around the cause?" In our case, the cause of Jesus Christ.

Our Christian faith has been built on sacrifice. We stand in a long line, a legacy of enormous sacrifice, dedication and commitmentbeginning with Jesus Christ, Himself, the author and the founder of our faith who laid down His life in obedience to the will of His Father and for the sake of our redemption. He didn't hold anything back. He gave it all.

Then we think of the disciples and the apostles who took that gospel, that gospel of the Kingdom of Christ and were willing, against enormous odds and opposition, to lay down their lives for the cause of Jesus Christ. It was something they believed in so greatly that they were willing, in many cases, to be executed for their faith. Not only did they die for Jesus Christ, but sometimes they did what was even harder and that was to live for Jesus Christevery part of the life.

The apostles were that way, and, throughout the history of the Christian faith, so were the ones who preserved the Scripture for us, at enormous cost. They are the people who have been the pioneers of our faith and have taken the gospel to parts of the world where it's never gone before. They were just faithful men and women, some of them obscure, some of them about whom books will never be written. Perhaps the person who told you about Jesus, who was willing to step out of their comfort zone and say, "This relationship with Jesus Christ matters enough for me to risk what you think about me for me to tell you about it." They were devoted to the cause.

We can all think of people we've known, believers who have laid down everything, who take God seriously.

So few seem to do that today. Could it be said of you or of me, "She's a 100-percenter in a world of 50-percenters. Her life is 100 percent devoted to Jesus Christ"?

Today we're more interested in preserving our lives than in losing them or laying them down. We're more concerned about our feelings, our convenience, our comfort, our self-image, our self-centered pleasure. How does this affect me? My happiness? My joy? My peace? My blessing? My comfort? My well-being?

Now, let me say that this life of wholehearted devotion and surrender to Jesus Christ is not intended to be a lifestyle for just a small number of "super" Christians. And I think that's kind of the mindset that we have.

There are some "super" saints that are just really especially committed. They're really zealous about their faith. They're really committed to the Kingdom of Christ.

Can I remind you that every single child of God is called to live his or her life for the Kingdom of God? If you are a Christian, then you have been called to a life of sacrifice, devotion, and wholehearted surrender and commitment to Jesus Christ.

In Romans 12:1 the apostle Paul said, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy to offer your bodies a living sacrifice" (NIV). Not just some saints. Not just a minority, but all of you, brothers and sisters in the family of God, in view of what God has done for you, in view of His incredible mercy and compassion, in view of what is pleasing to Him, offer your bodies, yourselves, all that you are to Him, as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, because this is your reasonable act of worship.

This is how you worship our great God. From the time we rise in the morning until the time we go to bed at night, 365 days of the year, the call on our lives is to have the Lord Jesus and the Kingdom of God be the dominant, controlling, reigning influence and force in each of our lives.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been encouraging us to surrender everything to the Lord. 
This is a crucial topic for everyone. So I hope you’ll follow up and get a copy of Nancy’s book, Surrender: The Heart God Controls. We’d like to send you the book when you donate any amount to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts.

Your gift will help Revive Our Hearts continue providing this podcast each weekday, calling women to a place of surrender before the Lord. You’ll help us speak to more women like the one who wrote Nancy.

Nancy: A listener named Tiffany wrote to tell us about the ultimate act of surrender in her life. Here’s what she said:

I wanted to let you know that I have just really let God have control of my life and put my full trust in Jesus. I’d never before really given up control, but I realized that I can only accept His precious gift if I let Him have all of my life. Thank you so much for the work that you do.

Well, I love getting letters like that and just thinking about the new life that Tiffany is able to enjoy as a result of relinquishing the reins of her life into the hands of the Lord Jesus.

I’m so glad that God allowed Revive Our Hearts to play a role in leading Tiffany to this place of full surrender.

We’re able to do the work that we do day after day because of listeners who believe in this ministry and who provide financially to keep it going. You can have a part in helping women like Tiffany come to a place of true salvation and surrender to Christ as Lord. So would you ask the Lord what role He might have you to play in supporting Revive Our Hearts?

We typically experience some financial squeeze during these summer months, so your gift at this time would be so appreciated and could make an eternal difference in many women’s lives. Thanks so much.

Leslie: You can donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com or call with your contribution. The number is 1–800–569–5959. Make sure to ask for Surrender: The Heart God Controls. We’ll send one copy per household for your donation of any size.

Well, what do you think of when I say, “worship”? It probably involves going to church, singing, maybe putting something in the offering plate. Well the Old Testament gives us a much different picture of worship. Nancy will describe it next time on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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