My spiritual crisis at a Bible college

5 02 2016

1.1e     Practical counsel for the disciple at the marker of surrender.

I entered my college years planning to be an architect. I wanted to make a large income, live in nice homes, and drive nice cars. My father required me and all my siblings to attend a Bible college our first year – which I did. That year was very upsetting to me. I saw around me fellow students and professors that were living with a love for Jesus that I did not have, even though I was the son of a pastor and a leader in the youth group. Their commitment to Jesus as Lord exposed my self-centeredness. I realized Jesus was merely a convenient friend who I could consult if I needed on my way to the lifestyle I planned. Jesus was my Savior but not Lord of my life. I was miserable. I sat in Bible classes and did not know if I believed any of it. I was in a spiritual crisis. From my despair I told God that if He showed Himself true that I would not continue with my plan, but that I would give everything including my career to Him. After some months of wrestling, and I mean they were miserable months, I finally concluded that, even though I still had questions about God and the Bible, I would rather take the risk of pleasing God with my doubts than pleasing myself with my money! I surrendered my future to God and have never regretted it. I was so relieved to place everything in His hands, even though I had no idea where His path would lead.

Have you arrived at the marker of surrender? Do you sense that God is asking you to do what He desires instead of something you would rather do? You may already know what God is asking of you, or you may have a general sense that what you have held back from God must be surrendered to Him. Surrender is any relinquishment you need to make in order to move forward with God. You may need to surrender a

  • sinful habit
  • an addiction
  • an inappropriate relationship
  • something or someone you treasure as much as or more than God
  • an ambition that you are asking God to bless but that He has not given you

Or this may not be a call away from something that stands in the way. It may be a call to a higher plane of service. It may be a reward for your previous faithfulness. Like Jesus, you may be ready for the next phase of your purpose for living. What an honorable place to be!

If you are at a trail marker of surrender, you need to wake up and be very alert to your spiritual journey. Don’t be apathetic about this. Get yourself deeply into the Word and prayer. Yes, this is going to be difficult, but it is the only way to continue moving ahead on the Jesus way. God intends this for your growth and His glory. God is able. And in Him, so are you!

God has prepared you for this. He would not ask you to undergo more than you can bear. He has confidence that you will respond in obedience. Take confidence in His assessment of you, and that which He has allowed.

Pray for the grace of indifference (mentioned in the previous section), in which you desire nothing more than the will of God – nothing more, nothing less, nothing other. Pray persistently until you are at that place of indifference. When you are there, you will say “nevertheless.”

Jesus knows the agony of surrender. He is with you in the place where you are now. In His life, Jesus came to a point of conceding to the will of the Father, saying “nevertheless.” Listen to Him, and lay your concerns before Him. He understands the internal resistance and the temptation to bail out. Allow the Spirit of God to walk with you through this time.

Do not hurry. It is more important that you understand what God is asking than it is for you to get past this phase. Pray at length and ask God to make it clear what He desires for you to lay down for His glory.

If you feel alone, acknowledge your loneliness to God. Jesus was alone in His Gethsemane. His inner circle of disciples fell asleep. Do not be angry when others cannot identify with your agony or struggle. They are not at the same place you are at this time. God may bring them to their own Gethsemane at a later time and way that is appropriate for them. Remember that you are not actually alone. The One who surrendered first is there with you.

Pour your heart out to God. Jesus was sorrowful and deeply distressed. He fell on His face as He struggled with God (Matt. 26:37-39). You have the freedom to wail before the Lord. He is not threatened by your emotions, doubts, or anger. But do not shake your fist at God or harden your heart to Him, because this gives an opportunity for Satan to take advantage of you.

Take note of temptation to avoid or cut short the process of full surrender. Acknowledge that such resistance is from the pull to conform to the world, from your fleshly nature of self-sufficiency, and ultimately from Satan himself.

Jesus learned obedience. You can learn obedience too. This is a furnace that will purify your heart, and burn away more of what is not of God. You will look back on this time as one of the hardest but one of the best times of your life. You are on the way to giving greater honor and glory to God.

Do not knowingly hold back any part of your heart from God. If you are not sure of the extent of your surrender, ask the Holy Spirit to show you any areas that God wants you to surrender. If you feel you have surrendered everything that God asks at this time, relax and don’t obsess over it any more. Rather, thank God by faith.

Review and reflect on prior parts of this section. Meditate on the scriptures. Memorize at least one which speaks directly to your situation.

Rejoice that you have the privilege of sharing in the surrender of Jesus. His Gethsemane was excruciatingly difficult. Imagine having to surrender to a brutal future knowing that you are the very Son of God who had every right to enjoy the glories of heaven! Enter in and bask in the unique privilege of fellowship with the Son of God in the agony of surrender.

Journal other practical wisdom you are gaining in your own journey.



One response

12 02 2016
How my faith crisis challenged my career plan | Robert E

[…] me take you a bit further in the previous story of my faith crisis in college. That was quite a few years ago, and I did not at that time think of […]

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