There comes a time in every Christian’s life when God allows us to reap what we’ve sown. Specifically, immature Christians often see the wages of sin, especially sin from which we have not repented. I have.
I found myself flat on my back, having sunk lower than I could have ever imagined. I had nowhere else to turn… No one else to turn to, but to God.
Actually, that has happened a few times in my life. Call me a slow learner. Each low, after that first one, was more of a plateau. As a result, each crisis led to an ever closer relationship with God.
That’s our topic today: the life crisis that leads to surrender.
While the experiences that have led me to a deeper walk with Christ are certainly unique, the crisis experience itself is not. Most people endure at least two such experiences in their spiritual journey.
The first such crisis is the one through which God worked to lead us to salvation. Since I can rightfully assume that most of my readers and listeners are Christian, I won’t expound upon it.
The second crisis is the one that God uses to sanctify us. It is at that point that He fills us with His Holy spirit. It is that point that we realize that God is cleaning house, revealing to us or wicked hearts and asking us to repent of sins big and small. He sweeps those sins out the door and fills us with more of His love.
The great holiness preacher of the early 20th century, Buddy Robinson, described sanctification as a boiling pot in which sin rises to the top, and is skimmed away by God. At one point, he thought that if God didn’t turn down the fire, there would be nothing left to skim.
It is not a fair analogy to compare the journey of an Old Testament prophet to a Christian journey, but the parallel is so close, that I cannot resist it.
We read 1 Kings 19 where Elijah is exhausted. He’s flat on his back and tells God that he’s ready to die. He hit bottom. Here’s the lesson:
It wasn’t until Elijah told God that he was ready to die that God gave him the strength to live.
There is the parallel. Take a look at Ephesians 2. I urge you to read the entire chapter. Even will focus on verses 4 and 5 from the NIV.
…because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions —it is by grace you have been saved.
This – described in Ephesians 2 – is the crisis experience that leads to salvation.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 ESV – For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;
I encourage you to read Roman’s chapters 6-8. This describes the crisis experience and a before and after picture of sanctification. Here are some key verses: Romans 6:11-14 NIV
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.