Balancing Faith & Surrender

Balancing Faith and Surrender

“Faith fatigue happens when it is my faith as opposed to God’s prompting and motivating faith...God calls us to radical obedience releasing even what He called us to...Obey right away, all the way, in a happy way.”
James Lusk

Faith, a calm breeze whispers,
Surrender’s dance in harmony,
Here the heart finds peace.
Now, bound by unseen threads,
There faith finds solace in surrender,
And compels balance in the heart’s path.

The Bible emphasizes the profound truth that faith serves as both the assurance of our hope and the conviction in the unseen (Hebrews 11:1). Furthermore, it teaches us that we attain salvation through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), that without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), that obedience is the fruit of genuine faith (Romans 1:5), and the righteous live by faith (Romans 1:16–17). However, when our faith becomes more about us and our desires and ambitions than relying on His strength, or when our personal faith overshadows God’s leading and His divine timing, we suffer from what Lusk calls “faith fatigue.” In today’s blog post, we will explore the dangers of faith fatigue, its implications on our spiritual lives, and how we can realign our faith with God’s perfect will.

Understanding Faith Fatigue
Faith fatigue arises when we take hold of something we believe to be good and godly but fail to discern whether it aligns with God’s specific plan for us, or we become so fixated on our interpretation of God’s promise that we lose sight of His promptings and leading. Sometimes faith fatigue also happens when we rely solely on our efforts, forgetting to seek God’s guidance and strength, and become overly attached to what we believe God has fulfilled in our lives and we resist any potential change or redirection. Faith fatigue can also occur when we become impatient and desire immediate results, overshadows aligning our actions with God’s divine timetable. Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Although faith demands we step out of our comfort zones and embrace the unknown, it is equally important that we surrender our self-reliance, deny ourselves and follow Christ (Matthew 16:24-26), and recognize our need for God’s wisdom. Moreover, we must acknowledge that our human desires, passions, and goals can sometimes overshadow God’s perfect will for our lives. By trusting in and embracing God’s timing, we can avoid the fatigue, stress, and weariness that comes from striving to make things happen on our own.

The Danger of Holding Our Faith Too Tightly
We are called, as believers, to exercise faith and be obedient to God’s leading. However, there are moments when we can become mistakenly or overly attached to things such as ministry projects, relationships, career ambitions, or personal dreams. We may believe that these things align with God’s will, but, in reality, they might only be our own notions and aspirations. In our previous blog Unmasking the Idols of the Heart, we identified that anything which surpasses God’s rightful place of worship and devotion becomes an idol in our lives. As such, an idol of the heart hinders our spiritual growth, distorts our relationship with God, and prevents us from fully surrendering to His divine guidance. In this way, we fall into the trap of relying on our own understanding rather than seeking God’s guidance. Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds us: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Therefore, our faith should never become our personal possession but always remain rooted in God’s prompting and motivating faith. True growth occurs when we release our agendas and submit to God’s will and trust that God’s plans for us are perfect, even if they differ from our desires or expectations. As we seek God’s will above our own and surrender our plans and desires to Him, we can embrace His promises, experience the fullness of His work, and allow Him to guide us on paths that lead to transformation and spiritual maturity. Psalm 37:5 encourages us, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.”

Radical Obedience
Proverbs 16:9 reminds us that while we may plan our paths, it is the Lord who establishes our steps. Thus, radical obedience is to understand that God’s plans for us far surpass our comprehension, and that His timing is perfect. Moreover, radical obedience also involves the willingness to surrender our plans and personal agendas, even if they seem good or noble, which can even include things that God has specifically called us to. The story of Abraham in Genesis 22 (cf Hebrews 11:8-12) serves as an example of radical obedience as God tested Abraham’s faith by commanding him to sacrifice the fulfilled promise of his son, Isaac. Despite the contradiction it posed to God’s fulfilled promise, Abraham’s unwavering trust in God’s faithfulness allowed him to proceed with radical obedience. The story has a happy ending as God provided a substitute sacrifice, affirming Abraham’s faith and abundantly blessing him. Abraham was willing to release even what God had called him to because he understood that his faith was not about possessing the fulfillment of the promise but about complete surrender and obedience to God. Likewise, Jesus demonstrated radical obedience as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, willingly embracing God’s plan for salvation and submitting to God’s will for His crucifixion. Therefore, trusting in God’s provision is an integral part of releasing what He calls us to, certainly Philippians 4:19 assures believers that God will supply all their needs according to His abundance. Thus, radical obedience not only demands we examine our faith and recognize the potential for faith fatigue when our desires overshadow God’s prompting and motivating faith but also requires patience and a willingness to trust that God’s timing is perfect, even when it does not align with our expectations. Ecclesiastes 3:1 teaches that there is a season and time for everything and, sometimes, God may require us to release certain things or opportunities for a season, knowing that His timing is best. Releasing our plans and desires not only frees us from the burdens of self-reliance but embracing radical obedience also allows us to walk in the freedom that comes from aligning ourselves with God’s will.

Discerning God’s Will
In Romans 12:1-2, Paul exhorts believers to offer themselves as living sacrifices to God, emphasizing the need to resist conformity to worldly patterns and instead undergo transformation by renewing our minds through the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). Through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we can discern and align ourselves with the perfect will of God, cultivating an intimate relationship with Him. Proverbs 3:6 serves as a reminder that acknowledging God’s presence and seeking His wisdom results in divine guidance, while Philippians 4:6-7 assures us that presenting our requests to God with gratitude leads to the experience of His peace that surpasses all understanding, guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Consequently, as we invest time in prayer, seeking God’s direction, studying and meditating on His Word, and fostering a surrendered heart, we can discern His voice amidst the clamor of the world. Our previous blog post titled Cultivating Spiritual Growth delved into the impediments to growth, hindrances in our relationship with God, and barriers to Christlikeness. Furthermore, we included a visual representation of The Cycle of Growth based on Colossians 1:9-14. Therefore, as you engage in meditation, entreat God to saturate you with the knowledge of His will through spiritual wisdom and understanding, empowering you to conduct yourself in a manner that befits the Lord, pleasing Him fully by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of Him. You will be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, enabling endurance, patience, and joy, while expressing gratitude.
Living by faith demands that we be willing to risk everything for the sake of obedience to God. While this does not mean that God will always require us to relinquish fulfilled promises, faith requires we remain open to His leading, trusting that His plans are far greater than our own. God calls us to consistently examine our motivations and desires to ensure our hearts align with God’s will, committing our work to the Lord (Proverbs 16:3). Likewise, by actively seeking and aligning ourselves to God’s kingdom and righteousness first (Matthew 6:33), we can navigate the simplicity of true faith, and avoid the complexities of faith constrained by our own agendas, and ensure that our steps are aligned with His perfect will. Remember, true obedience requires us to release even what He has called us to, and in doing so, we can experience the abundant life He has in store for us. May we continually seek God’s guidance, trust in His wisdom, and live by faith in radical obedience.

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