By Kathy Lay
This Week’s Verse: Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. (Eph. 3:20, NLT)
I had an email conversation recently with a friend in which we talked about how hard it is to “let go of the control" in so many areas of life. As I thought about that, I was taken back several years to a time when God offered me a glimpse of how I might appear to Him when I struggle to be in control.
My then two-year-old son wanted an apple. He escorted me to the fridge so I could open it, then his chubby fingers grasped the fruit of choice. Since apple skins rank pretty high on the toddler choking hazard list, I needed to do some peeling before allowing him to sink in his pearly-whites.
“Skylar, I need to make the apple safe for you. Give it to me just for a second.”
“No!” (Two year olds have no concept of time.)
“But I'll give it right back...It's dangerous this way.”
“No, MY apple!” (They also have no concept of danger, unless it's “Bring it on!”)
“Sweetie," I said through gritted teeth, "I have to peel it or you might choke.”
Continuing to whine just to make sure I knew he was giving it up in protest, he finally turned over the prize. He skeptically watched my every move as I peeled, but when I handed it back to him, he was pleased with the result and shuffled happily away. Then God hit me with an amazing revelation...
That is what He deals with from us all the time!
Right? I mean, when major calamities, or even just “little” day-to-day setbacks hit, we are inclined to try to manage them ourselves. But by doing so, we’re settling for so much less than what God intends. Had my son not given up the apple he might have choked. But when he did relinquish the very thing he wanted most, he got it back even better. And there-in lies the lesson: whenever we surrender parts of our lives (which may be spiritual choking hazards) to His Lordship, we can fully expect a much better result because of the sacrifice.
What “apples” are you preserving in your basket? Are there some hidden away in the bottom drawer of the fridge just for you and you alone? Like me, you might think, I can't bring that apple out into the light--it's far too shameful! Or I better keep this talent hidden or someone may expect me to use it; it's not that great anyway.
Oh, sometimes those apples are hard to give up—no doubt about it! They're tempting in their promise of juicy, soothing familiarity. It’s just easier to hoard rather than give up control. But for every one we give back to Him (after all, they do originate from Him), we get back “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20—NIV).
As Skylar went back to his game and I went back to unloading the dishwasher, I realized that in our own hands, our lives are an existence, sometimes okay and bearable, but nothing remarkable—maybe like a wormy and spotted apple. But in God's hands, Sisters, our lives have tremendous and eternal purpose, for His glory—like the fruit of Proverbs 25:11, which are “apples of gold in settings of silver” (NIV).
Father God, through Your power alone are we able to fully relinquish the areas of our lives that we foolishly cling to that hinder us from bearing luscious, ripe fruit for Your kingdom. Grant us wisdom to discern them and obedience to hand them over to You for blessed transformation. In Jesus' Precious Name, Amen.
Identify the “apples” in your life that you grip tightly. They may include anything from difficult circumstances or character flaws to positive qualities that you haven’t yet submitted to God.
Pray for God's help in submitting all things to him. Claim His promise that He WANTS them all and has a plan for your greater good because of them (Jer. 29:11).
Visualize yourself lifting up each “apple” and offering it as a pleasing sacrifice to your Father. Believe in the depths of your heart that He wants to take those bruised and spotted aspects of your life and transform them into something wonderful and praiseworthy.
Rejoice in His delight at your obedience! Anticipate the blessings you've just unleashed!
Matthew 12:33: “A tree is identified by its fruit. Make a tree good and its fruit will be good. Make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad.” (NLV).
1 Peter 5:6-7: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (NIV)
Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (NIV)
Mark 8:34: “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.'” (NIV)