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  • Writer's pictureTrace Pirtle

The Power of Surrender: Learning to Abide in Christ

Learning to abide in Christ has a prerequisite: We must first have the power to surrender our will in favor of His will. And, if you have an ego of iron like I do, surrendering "my" will for His isn't always easy. Fortunately, God gives us hope and encouragement that it can be done!

God reminds us in His Word that even His chosen may initially find it hard to surrender their will.

  • Moses had his excuses for not wanting to share God's message with Pharaoh (Exodus Ch 6.).

  • Gideon was a wimp and reluctant warrior (Judges Ch. 6).

  • Saul was immersed in killing Christians (Acts Ch. 8).

  • And Jonah spent time in a whale because he wanted no part in helping save the Ninevites (Jonah Ch. 1).

Yes, even our Biblical superstars had to surrender the power of their own human will to be of any real use to God. But once they did, their choice to abide in Christ changed the history of the world.

So if one person (Moses) can bring a nation out of Egypt, another (Gideon) can lead 300 men to defeat a Midianite army, another (Saul/Paul) can bring the gospel to the Gentiles, and still another (Jonah) to help save an undeserving people, then what can God do with us?

Perhaps we just need to let go of our earthly reins and abide in Christ to find out. But what does that look like in our "real world", our everyday life?

What Does it Mean to Abide in Christ?

Here's an example...

I was meeting with a couple of brothers in Christ recently. In November 2023, one mentioned that he felt God wanted him to write a short poem capturing the essence of Christmas and sharing it with others.

3000 Christmas Postcards: He further felt called to turn the poem into a postcard. He then had 3000 Christmas postcards produced and sent them out in a bulk mailing! Awesome! That is surrendering personal power and abiding in Christ!

So I asked him about his response rate to the mailings. My analytical mind still looks for a number to validate the effort. His reply was, "not much." However, God doesn't need to demonstrate statistical significance or a grand return on investment to validate His purposes. Nope.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord." Isaiah 55:8

But here is where the conversation got interesting. John said, "One day we had a knock on the door, and a man stood holding the postcard. The man said that the person the card was addressed to was deceased. God wanted him to return the postcard to the sender. The good Samaritan is a Christian and invited John and his wife to his church. They now attend church together.

Who knows what will come of John's abiding in Christ as he obediently sent all those postcards. Who knows what will come of the man's abiding in Christ as he delivered a postcard to it's original sender.

But God's Word is clear:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Just hearing about two Christian brothers following the leading of the Lord produced good fruit. I am more encouraged to listen for God's call in my own life. I pray that you are too. We never know how something so "insignificant" can be used in significant ways by God.

I had been questioning whether God still wanted me to write this blog. The next day, a sister in Christ emailed me an encouraging note. No doubt she was abiding in Christ as she took time from her busy schedule to reach out.

There are no accidents for those who surrender their will and choose to abide in Christ. God does not make mistakes in judgment. And we don't know when one act of obedience to God's Word will change history. It's happened before. It can happen again.

Concluding Thoughts

There are 82 verses in the English Standard Bible that reference "Abide." From the first mention of "abide" in Genesis, to the last mention in 1 John 2:28-29, it is clear that we are lovingly called to abide in Christ.

And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him. 1 John 2: 28-29

Do you have an encouraging example of someone abiding in Christ? Share it in a comment or send me a message. God can use each of us in meaningful ways according to His purpose.

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About Me

Image of Dr. Trace Pirtle sitting on park bench identified as Jesus.

Greetings, I'm Trace!
I'm a retired counselor education professor who spent 35 years in the "helping professions." I'm a U.S. Air Force veteran who served as a Missile Launch Officer with I.C.B.M's during the Cold War (1980's). Today, I'm an "all-in" believer working full-time for our Lord Jesus Christ. I've included my personal testimony if you are interested. 
May God bless you beyond your wildest dreams!

In His Service,

Trace Pirtle

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"I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me."

Philippians 4:13

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