Change Everything by Doing Anything for God
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2012 17 Apr
Editor's note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Jennie Allen's new book, Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul (Thomas Nelson, 2012).
There's a big difference between knowing facts about God and knowing God personally. You can spend your whole life learning information about God yet still not experience Him as real. But a surefire way to experience the reality of God’s presence with you is to follow wherever He leads you without holding anything back.
If you’re willing to do anything for God – no matter what risks are involved – everything in your life can change for the better.
Here’s how you can surrender your life completely to God and find blessings in return:
Pray a prayer of surrender. Start your adventure with an important prayer surrendering every part of your life to the God who has planned good purposes for you to fulfill. Ask God to show you how real He is as you take the risks necessary to live in complete obedience to His will for you. Look forward to God leading and changing you in amazing ways going forward.
Face the reality of your sin. Although people like to think we’re good, we bump up against the reality of our selfish sinfulness every day in this fallen world. Be honest about the fact that you’re a sinner in need of God’s grace through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
Let go of shame. Let your sin show you how much you need God, but don’t let it trap you. Rather than getting stuck in shame, realize that there’s no condemnation in Christ and let that freedom propel you closer to God. Confess and repent of your sins when you think of them, and accept God’s gifts of forgiveness and help to make better choices.
Live to please God, not other people. God loves you completely and longs for you to devote yourself wholeheartedly to Him. So stop turning to other people for approval and fulfillment and look for those qualities from the only source who will truly satisfy you: God. Ask God to change your desires to reflect His desires, so that you will want to pursue what He wants for you.
Let go of a sense of entitlement. You won’t be free to follow God anywhere He leads you if you’re living a carefully planned life, pursuing things you think you’re entitled to have. Also, chasing after the blessings you’d like can divert your focus so much that God’s gifts begin to replace God Himself in your life. So give up your sense of entitlement and invite God to bless you however He sees fit, trusting that doing so will lead to a better life than you can imagine on your own.
Let go of efforts to control. Everyone has images in their minds of how we would like our lives to be. But as much as we’d like to design the lives we want, it’s God who designs our lives – often in unexpected ways. Instead of trying to convince God to give you what you want, ask God to help you trust Him to do what’s best in every area of your life (from your relationships with family and friends, to your health and your work). Invite God to do whatever He wants to do with all you have.
Make decisions with an eternal perspective. During each day that God gives you to live in this world, keep heaven on your mind, realizing that your time here is limited and it’s vital to use your time well. Ask God to help you focus on what has eternal value and make decisions about how to use your time in light of an eternal perspective.
Learn and grow constantly. Don’t settle for a stagnant life that feels comfortable. Take advantage of every opportunity that God gives you to learn something new and grow into a stronger, better person.
Obey God even in the little things. Choosing to obey God’s guidance in the little things of daily life – such as doing chores with excellence, paying bills on time, being honest when you’re tempted to lie about something, or unconditionally respecting someone with whom you don’t agree – is actually a big deal because the daily decisions you make shape the kind of person you become. So decide to be faithful in the mundane as well as in the more dramatic moments of your life.
Press on through doubts and fears. Don’t let your doubts and fears stop you from saying “yes” to God when He calls you to do something. Instead, choose to trust God despite your doubts and take action even when you’re afraid. The more you press through your doubts and fears, the more you’ll see God come alive around you.
Rely on the Holy Spirit to empower you. Rather than trying to accomplish good purposes in your own limited strength (which will only lead to failure, despite your good intentions), place your trust in the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen you as you work to fulfill God’s good purposes for you.
Engage in spiritual warfare. Expect to be attacked by the evil side of the spiritual realm whenever you’re passionately pursuing God’s callings in your life. But have confidence that you can always win the spiritual war when you cling to Jesus for protection and guidance. You can fight evil bravely because God is for you and with you. So don’t hesitate to pray against evil daily and keep following wherever God leads you.
Change your dreams for God’s dreams for you. Every day, surrender your own agenda to God and invite Him to show you what dreams He wants you to pursue. You’ll find over time that as you do that, God will change your desires to His desires, and you’ll enjoy even making costly sacrifices because you’ll experience the greater blessings that result from your faithfulness.
Adapted from Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul, copyright 2012 by Jennie Allen. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com.
Jennie Allen’s passion is to communicate a bigger God through writing and teaching. She graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with a master’s degree in Biblical studies and is blessed to serve alongside her husband, Zac, in ministry. They have four children, including their youngest son who was recently adopted from Rwanda. Visit her website at: http://jennieallen.com/.
Whitney Hopleris a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: firstname.lastname@example.org send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.
Publication date: April 17, 2012