If you have ever heard the same story told by two different people, you know that different perspectives can completely change the outlook on a situation. For example…
The exact same sequence of events seen from different points of view can make you come to different conclusions.
This is something I have been thinking about when it comes to having a relationship with God. Do we decide to follow God? Doesn’t God pursue us? Love us first before we even know it? But even still, it is still my choice to follow God, right?
There is a familiar chorus that says, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.” I feel that many Christians would say that they made a decision to follow Jesus, that after careful thought and consideration, or after a certain clarifying moment in their lives, they decided to commit their lives to God. And from their perspective, that is how it feels – I was not following God, and then for various reasons, I decided to follow Him. Though God is obviously a part of this decision, it really puts the responsibility and direction of our relationship with God in our hands.
But from the perspective of looking back on my life, when I take in the sequence of events that I have gone through, it becomes much clearer how active God has been in my life, how He has lead me and guided me with His loving kindness. He has pursued me with gentleness and love. He has been patient through my half-hearted growth and He has been faithful despite my erratic devotion. He has not changed, but has consistently drawn me closer to Himself, wooing me and showing me the depth of His love. And for my part, I stumble and stammer, sometimes walking with Him, and other times losing my footing.
Realizing all of this, the idea of “I have decided…” does not seem to be appropriate. If “decided” is the right word, then I have had to make that decision over and over again. Yet somehow, I know that I have a relationship with God that is not lost despite my ups and downs.
I am starting to think a much more appropriate term for the beginning and continuing of my relationship with God is Surrender. This is still an action on my part, but with much more recognition of God’s hand working in me. I have surrendered my life to Jesus. And as I continue to walk imperfectly through this life, I will continue to surrender different aspects of my heart to Him as He leads me, as He molds me and shapes me. I have surrendered my desire to be the one making decisions but instead desire to have Jesus as Lord and Master.