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We’ve Only Just Begun
We are now at the last step to surrendering our lives unreservedly to the Lord. And this seventh and final step deals with how to keep close to Him, and how to remain surrendered and submitted, even after the initial awe of the experience begins to wear off and we let our guard down. Don’t be deceived— yes, it will happen to you, just like it has happened to all those who have gone before you in seeking the Higher Christian Life or the life of full surrender.
Even though we are at the last step, our journey of surrender has just begun. Like Peter, taking his eyes off Jesus and sinking into the waves when doing the impossible, walking on water, it’s easy to lose focus on Christ amid the trying circumstances we face every day (Matt. 14:30). Remember, sin is sin, and all sin, no matter how trivial we make it, hinders our relationship with the Lord and grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). Therefore your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to keep Christ at the center of your life, always, regardless of the situation you may be facing. And we do that by keeping our eyes on Him.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (see Hebrews 11), let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (how) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God – Hebrews 12:1-2.
So how do we maintain a posture of continual submission to the Lord and make seeking Him our consuming priority in life? Or, how do we keep our eyes on Him like He kept His eyes on His Father? Let me share with you a few disciplines that should give you some direction in your life-long pursuit of Him.
Start the Day Anchored in Christ
Begin each morning grounded in Scripture and prayer. Make this a priority and set the tone of your day, communing with Jesus before anything else. Take His word in John 15:5 to heart, “Without Me, you can do nothing,” and realize He meant what He said. Read a devotional or passage about Christ’s character.¹ Write down what He has been showing you or how He has answered your prayers. This anchors you in Him before the chaos of the day competes for your attention.
“My voice You shall hear (when) in the morning, O Lord; (when) in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up” (Psalm 5:3). Just as we nourish our bodies with breakfast, we must nourish our spirit with Christ first thing in the morning.
Don’t Exclude Christ from Your Daily Tasks
As you go about your day, talk to Jesus continually through quick, conversational prayers, thanking Him for the little blessings you notice. Ask the Spirit for patience when frustrations arise, and they will. And seek His wisdom in any decisions you have to make, no matter how small. Remember, He is the Lord over everything— even the small stuff. Offer up a prayer of blessing to those you encounter. And ask Him to guide your interactions throughout the day.
When you pray without ceasing, as 1 Thessalonians 5:17 instructs, it keeps your focus on the Lord no matter how busy your schedule gets. Whether you’re checking off your to-do list, heading to appointments, running errands, or socializing with others, you can invite Jesus into every moment of your day. And if you invite Him, you will no longer be surprised when He comes to walk beside you in what you consider the mundane things of life. Try it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much He wants to be part of your life.
Look at Everything Through His Eyes
Consider how your daily choices reflect on Christ’s priorities. Does your use of time and money align with pursuing God’s Kingdom and righteousness? Do your entertainment choices and digital consumption feed your spirit or merely your flesh? Did you know that who you befriend and interact with also impacts your walk with God?
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, (why) that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). Evaluate whether your lifestyle choices, even the ones you consider trivial and non-important, line up with the His Word. And if they don’t, dump them.
Prioritize Spiritual Disciplines
Be willing to say “no” to lesser commitments and rearrange your schedule to embrace spiritual disciplines that feed your soul. This is the one practice our Christian heroes of old did that we seem to ignore today for the sake of what seems important now. So set aside consistent time for Bible reading, extended prayer, corporate worship, serving within your local church, and fellowshipping with other believers before your schedule gets so jammed you have no room for God.
As Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man (including you) shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). Don’t let busyness crowd out what matters most.
Turn First to Christ During Difficult Times
When challenges inevitably come, resist falling into despair and anger by trying to manage them on your own. Instead, immediately turn to Jesus in prayer, surrendering the situation to His control. “Cast all your care upon Him, (why) for He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). And all means just that— all, everything. Trust in His sovereignty and ask Him to use this trial for your spiritual growth.² Learn to lean into His peace and perspective, no matter how things may look to you at the time. Remember, “Our God is in His heavens; He does what He pleases” (Psalm 115:3).
As Corrie ten Boom said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” So keep your eyes fixed on Christ through the storm.
Limit Earthly Pleasures (No Matter How Good They Make You Feel)
While God richly provides for our enjoyment, beware of overindulging in His temporary gifts. We belong to Him, and what He blesses us with is also designed to be a blessing to others. So generously share your finances to further the Gospel rather than storing up treasures on earth that rust, rot, and fade away (Matt. 6:19-21). Learn to develop healthy boundaries around media, food, shopping, and how you spend your leisure time. Commit to investing more of your life in the eternal rather than the fleeting.
“Set your minds on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). Our indulgences can easily become idols if we aren’t careful.
Immerse Yourself in Christ-Centered Influences
Carefully consider those who speak into your life or who you rent space to in your brain. Limit your time with media (especially social media), relationships, and interactions that can hinder your focus on Jesus and quench the power of the Spirit in your life (1 Thes. 5:19). Instead, immerse yourself in influences that point you to God and grow your faith.
As Proverbs 13:20 states, “He who walks with wise men will be wise (promise), but the companion of fools will be destroyed (also a promise).” Don’t be a companion of fools, no matter how socially acceptable it may be in our culture. Do the hard stuff. Seek out mentors, pastors, books, podcasts, sermons, and friendships that strengthen your spiritual walk. And make that a daily priority.
Make Christ the Center of All Your Relationships
Surround yourself with people who reflect and encourage your devotion to God, not hinder it, malign it, or encourage you to downplay it. Graciously, but firmly, end any relationship, even on social media, pulling you from full devotion to Christ. Bring Jesus into your conversations. Pray for your friends’ needs. Set an example of wholehearted obedience to the Gospel. And let your closest relationships be with those sharing your commitment to Him. Don’t ever settle for anything less.
As Christ said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Seek out fellow travelers on the narrow road. There aren’t many of them, but they are out there. You just might have to go out of your way to find them.
Honor the Lord’s Day for Spiritual Recharge
Set aside Sunday as a sacred day to reconnect with God. It was given as a command to God’s children for a reason. Disengage from work, news, political commentary, and social media. Prepare yourself to enter into His presence in worship. Read His Scripture reflectively. Have spiritual conversations with Him and others. Spend the day being renewed in Him.
Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). God gave His day to us as a gift, not a burden. So set apart this time to refocus completely on Christ.
Find Your Ultimate Fulfillment in the Pursuit of God
Earthly pleasures quickly fade, but true joy is found in communion with Christ. After all, it is Christ who brings joy and peace in this chaotic world (Rom. 15:13). So make abiding or resting in Him your source of satisfaction (John 15:5). Take delight in prayer, meditating on Scripture, serving in the church, praying for others, and sharing your faith. Discover your true purpose as you daily walk closely with Jesus.
As Psalm 16:11 promises, “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” And it is in His presence where we find our enduring treasure.
So What’s Next?
Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus in the midst of life’s trials, hurts, and constant distractions takes determination, spiritual strength, and a mental commitment. But as we choose daily to seek Christ first, above all else, and build our lives around Him, He promises to align our hearts with His perfect will, producing abundant life and joy (John 10:10), and a peace that defies description (Phil. 4:7). Just as a compass needle continually realigns to its true north, we must realign to the source of our true life each day— and that source is Jesus Himself.
May our lives fulfill Paul’s words in Philippians 3:14 — “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Let’s keep our eyes only on Him.
And let’s do it today.
1. A great devotional is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.
2. See Step Five – Surrendering to God’s Sovereignty.