Abiding in Jesus is Not a To-Do List

I often get asked questions like:

“What should I do to get back on track spiritually?”

“What can you recommend for me to grow in my relationship with God?”

More times than not they are looking for the “silver bullet” book to read, or formula that will make them consistent in spiritual disciplines such as Bible reading, prayer, fasting, Scripture memory, etc. Or they are looking for “the list” of things, that if they do them a certain number of times every week then they are guaranteed to live in a perpetual state of intimate communion with God.

It would be really nice if there were a list like that.

But, when we try to operate from “the list” we get off track from living in the grace of abiding in Jesus and end up living in legalism which results in frustration. We see this list of things we are supposed to do and we build an expectation of how well we are supposed be at doing them. We live up to that for a couple of weeks, then life happens, we fall short, get behind, get lazy, and then we feel guilty because we don’t think we are good enough. And we all have the same thought, I just can’t be consistent enough….Someone tells you “do better” and now “the list” has become a burden and a performance.

So if not “the list”, then what?

Is the “the list” bad? No. Most things on “the list” are really good and important. But its not the starting point or even the ending point.

Start Here. Humble Surrender.

Everything on “the list” makes sense ONLY when we begin with the constant pursuit of surrender.

One of my favorite authors said this,

“Until a humility which will rest in nothing less than the end and death of self; which gives up all the honor of men as Jesus did, to seek the honor that comes from God alone; which absolutely makes and counts itself nothing, that the Lord alone may be exalted, until such a humility be what we seek in Christ above our chief joy, and welcome at any price, there is very little hope of a religion that will conquer the world.”
Andrew Murray, Humility

As disciples of Jesus we are called to be a part of changing the world and it takes people who focus first on humble surrender.

This is seen all through the life of Jesus.

John 5:19, “The Son can do nothing of himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing.”
John 5:30, “I can do nothing on my own initiative. As I HEAR, I judge…I do not seek my own will but the will of Him who sent me.
John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me…
John 15:5, “You can do nothing without me.”

Jesus never mentioned “the list”. He model dependence and surrender.

He did tell us to pray “Father Hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done.” Everything in that prayer communicates surrender.

Here is my challenge to you.

Embrace the practice of daily surrender in the prayer, “I can do nothing without You. Help me know You and follow You. Do in me whatever You desire.” Let that be the springboard for your walk with God.

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