Ever since high school I have wanted to be mature spiritually. I take that as an evidence of grace. There are seasons I don’t feel that passion, but for the most part that desire has never waned. As I have studied the Word on what it means to be mature, and as I have encountered mature believers, I have not been able to avoid the unassailable fact that thoroughly deep Christians are people of a surrendered soul. What makes for a surrendered soul?
First, surrendered souls have experienced grave disappointment. It begins with being the last kid picked for a team. Or, never getting the award. I was that kid. Then it graduates to not being loved by the person you feel like you love. Or not getting into that college you wanted to attend, or not getting that job. As I write this, Rebecca and I may lose the buyers for our home in Wheaton because in the torrential rains Wheaton experienced last night, our basement took on water after years of trying to fix the problem with a very expensive drainage system. Does God juke the kid who doesn’t get picked? Is God juking us now? No. He is creating a surrendered soul.
Second, and related, surrendered souls are shaped by trials. Pain. Hardship. Suffering. Physical. Emotional. Spiritual. God breaks those he intends to bless. Let me say that again: GOD BREAKS THOSE HE INTENDS TO BLESS. I am repeating that to myself right now, in this hour, not knowing the outcome of our flooded basement. The downcast soul is the one who sees its need of God. Hear Jesus: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5.3). When God pulls the rug out from under you, the rug of your idols, false hopes, self-ambition, lusts, and misguided trust, you now can evaluate what you really need.
Surrendered souls are people who walk with a limp, but also know a joy unspeakable. Are you feeling broken right now? Have you considered that Jesus might be doing some of his best work in this very hour? Are you ready to behold what you really need? Are you ready to surrender?
How do you know if you have a surrendered soul? One way to know is how ready you are to put your trust in God’s word. When faced with the call of Scripture, do you delay, negotiate. equivocate, justify, drag your feet? One way to know you have a soul in the process of surrender is that you hear the Word of God and you are pleased to obey it without delay and without negotiation.
My thoughts were spurred by the blog of a friend’s father who is dying of liver disease. In his moment of disappointment and trial he listed some observations about his life. One of them was his readiness to obey God without delay nor negotiation. Steve’s soul is being surrendered. I want that. That is a good place to be.