Travis took a deep breath. He had surrendered his time by teaching the young people. He had surrendered his money by giving generously to the church and to rescue children from the sex trade and support children in India. He had surrendered his talent by singing in the church choir and even occasionally performing a solo. He had surrendered a lot. He studied the Scriptures and could quote them with ease. He had surrendered more than most, he thought.
He was somewhat proud of his ability to argue doctrine. He disdained those whose opinion was different from his. He judged the preachers on television and even judged his own pastor. He had given Jesus his whole head, but what he didn’t realize was that what God wanted was his heart. Something about the song began to disturb him. He sang out the words with his usual enthusiasm, but the band kept playing the tune over and over and over!
He began to examine his own heart and he found that it was closed and dry. He changed the words to “I surrender some . . . “ Tears began to slip down his face. He tried to get control. He didn’t want anyone to see. He wanted the song to stop! He was, after all, the ‘go-to’ guy with all the answers, but it was too late. The tears were flowing freely now. Without any volition on his part, he found his feet moving toward the altar and there in front of everyone – all his acquaintances and friends – all that he had judged and disdained, this hard-hearted guy fell to his knees sobbing. Shockingly, he didn’t respond to an altar call by the pastor, yet he found himself on the floor in broken-ness. The worship team was still singing, “I surrender all . . .” and this tough, arrogant guy was being changed.
For the first time, Travis, felt the breath of the Holy Spirit flood his soul and he was swept into the arms of His loving Father through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Travis had surrendered his heart and his soul. He was made new.
Today, there are many people sitting in the pews in churches who have prayed a prayer with their heads and think that they have something. They go about doing good and thinking they are special. They don’t know the One they think they are serving and this is a tragedy. When Travis prayed the first time, it was with his head. The Scriptures tell us that when we call on the name of the Lord, it must be with our whole heart and not our whole head. Father doesn’t want just ‘some’ part of us. He wants ‘all.’
If we have not entered by the Way that Jesus opened by His death on the cross, when the day comes, and we stand before the Lord, will He say, “Depart from me, I never knew you?” The wheat and the tares – the real and the counterfeit – serve together in any local church. So, as leaders and pastors, what can we do? Is there an answer?
First, it is important that we examine our own hearts to see if we are fully surrendered and fully awake. Have we walked with the Lord so long that we are more into the organization and the management end of things than we are into spending time in His Presence? Are we lifting Jesus up in every service? Are we drawing near?
The worship team in our story was fully prayed up and the anointing that rested on them lifted Jesus higher and the convicting power of the Holy Ghost was on hand to convict and to save. When one of the prayer team knelt beside Travis, he just put a hand on his back and prayed quietly while the man wrestled with his flesh and came to full surrender.
When Travis finally stood up, the stress and arrogance were gone. He had met the One who created him and he had changed his citizenship. Somehow now, all of the things that he thought about his ideas and reputation didn’t matter. He was made brand new.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
1 Corinthians 13:3
And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.