My grandmother was a home economics major in college. When she married my grandfather, he told her, “I’ll get you a maid, or whatever you need, but don’t ask me to cook anything.” I don’t think my grandpa ever even boiled water.
Grandma had a maid who did housework. Marie came in five days a week. While Marie did housework Grandma spent most of her day cooking and baking. She could cook like only a grandma can. My family and my grandpa were beneficiaries of her kitchen skills. In fact Grandpa enjoyed a freshly made-from-scratch desert every night at supper. No one, to this day, has ever baked a better apple, cherry or rhubarb pie like the ones my grandma made (all from scratch, of course).
Grandma had one unwritten rule, and we all knew what it was: “Stay out of my kitchen.” That was her domain. She was the queen, and she didn’t want anyone to hang out in there. My brother and I often had to pass through the kitchen on our way out to play, but it was always a fast trip.
My grandpa and uncle parked their cars out back, so they had to pass through the kitchen. More than once I heard them say, “Just passing through.” We all knew better than to hang around, or (God forbid) ask Grandma if she needed any help.
If my brother and I wanted to sample cookies or candy she was making, we had to sneak in when she stepped away. On rare occasions she would allow us to come in and grab a freshly baked whatever. But we were out the door as soon as we got our sample.
Grandma was not an ogre. In fact she was gentle and kind and trusting. She had a wonderfully soft demeanor about her, unless you invaded her sacred domain. She was active in her church and several clubs. She baked for neighbors, friends who were ill and lots of church and civic functions.
Aren’t some Christians like my grandma? Do you have a room in your house, or a place in your heart, you don’t want anyone to enter or know about? Total surrender means we open every room in our house and our heart to God and allow Him total control and sovereignty? Some of us have areas in our lives we keep secret. Or we tell God, “That’s okay, Father. I can handle this one on my own. It’s so trivial I’d rather not bother you with it.”
For some of us our “off-limits” room might be our finances, our spending, or our debt. After all, you don’t want God messing around with your money, right? He might ask you to tithe or give money to a ministry. For some of us it might be our emotions. “You know, God, what a roller-coaster life I live now. I don’t want to trouble You with all my emotional baggage.” For some of us it might be the programs we watch on TV, or the videos we watch, or websites we surf on the Internet, or what we read. So we say, “Gee, God no one’s getting hurt.” For some of us it might be drinking or smoking habits. We tell God, “I have this under control,God. I’m not addicted. I can stop any time I want. I’ll take care of this. Don’t worry about me. I’m doing fine.”
But God wants each of us to surrender completely to Him. That’s the only way our lives will bear any fruit and have purpose. Proverbs 3:5-6 encourages us to “Trust in the LORD with ALL your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” The promise from God here is that if we trust Him, if we surrender all our lives to Him He will take care of us. He will always lead us in “paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (from Psalm 23.) We can never make our own paths straight.
Proverbs 20:24 says, “A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his own way?” If we hold back even one area of our lives from the control and sovereignty of God, we are missing out on God’s best for our lives. In Isaiah 55 God says, “ ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ ” We will never understand God’s ways. We will never out smart Him or hide anything from Him. He wants our total surrender, not to control us, but to bless us. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3. “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart,” God tells us in Jeremiah 29:13.
When we follow our own devices or make our own decisions, what normally happens? When we put that “Do Not Disturb, God” sign up for one of those “secret” rooms of our lives, things rarely turn out like we planned. Failure, loss and disappointment are much more common than success.
When we surrender our whole lives to God, sometimes things don’t turn out like we planned either. They turn out better.
That’s because we allow God to have control and sovereignty.
Why not take an inventory of your own house? Your own heart? Do you have any “off-limits-to-God” areas you’re still controlling? If so, why?
Why not allow the Sovereign God of the Universe to step in and take over. He created the world. He created us. No one knows more about us than He does. No one loves us more than He does. Whether we admit it or not, whether we believe it or not, God’s in charge of it all anyway. Our stubborn I-don’t-need-you-in-this-area-of-my-life attitude won’t keep God out, But it will hinder Him from molding us into the image of Christ. That’s His goal.
It was not a good idea to wander into my grandma’s kitchen when she was cooking. It is not a good idea to shut God out of any area of our lives either.