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Home arrow Articles arrow Total Abandonment
Total Abandonment
Written by Rev. Dr. Cecil Clements   

Many years ago I remember sitting and listening to my pastor at an evening service.  He said: “Many people tell me how much they enjoy the jokes I use in the context of my sermon, and then tell me that’s the reason they come and listen to me.  Then he startled everyone by saying, “But if that’s what brings you here, stop coming, go buy a joke book, or catch a ‘Bob Hope’ show, because I’m not in the business of entertaining you.”  Strong words and almost suicidal in the context of building a critical mass of people to preach to, yet bold words I must add (in hindsight—almost thirty-five years removed).

I say bold, because at some point in our lives we run up against a glass ceiling, which is internal and intrinsic.  It is not an unwritten limitation set up by those around us but by our own personalities, our own wants and desires.  We allow God to work in us and through us as long as our essential “me” is not tampered with, and that unspoken line becomes the glass ceiling in our lives.  Every time God’s Spirit tries to take us beyond, to shape us differently, to mould us in fresh new ways that would be different from the popular people we have become, we baulk at it, resist Him and prevent the Potter from any remodeling. 

That’s why I think my Pastor’s position was a bold one.  He was willing to let God take areas of him that made him popular, yet obscured the Lord, and demolish them.  He wanted the Lord to be popular; he wanted the Lord to be showcased, and every believer gets to these moments as well.  A time when our own popularity, our own prowess, our own personality stands in the way of total abandonment and surrender to the will of God.  Unfortunately at this point, growth stops—we’ve hit our own, self-generated glass ceiling.

As Oswald Chambers says: “We tend to be devoted, not to Jesus Christ, but to the things which allow us more spiritual freedom than total surrender to Him would allow.”  Rick Warren, in his book The Purpose Driven Church says that our personal ministries take our personal SHAPE (Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences, pg. 370,) allowing us be of complete service to Him.  Yet, when any of these areas do not come under total submission and service to the Lord, they have become a stumbling block in our progress to Christian maturity and usefulness to the Master. 

I am realizing that to get to that point in my walk with the Saviour, total abandonment is the key.  To be so sold-out for Him that nothing else matters, not my popularity, not what others think of me, not my desires and not my ambitions.  Nothing matters more than to do His will, model His values, emulate His life and hope that others may see the “beauty of Jesus in me.” 

Any takers church? It’s total abandonment time!


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