Hello, Brothers and Sisters and Heartdwellers Family.
This is the last of the third series teaching of Belonging to Christ. I’m finally getting it to you all, sorry about the delay. So we have learned in the previous messages of this series that one way to give yourself completely to Jesus is to practice spiritual poverty—to submit to his will amidst contradictions—and now, to give yourself entirely to him in Total Surrender or what they call an Act of Oblation.
The Definition of oblation: The act of making a religious offering or something in worship or devotion: a holy gift offered usually at an altar or shrine.
St. Faustina, St. Therese, and many others offered themselves as an act of their will entirely to the Father to be used how he saw best. —in complete surrender to His will and not theirs. That is what Jesus is ultimately looking for in every soul. One who would abandon himself to the providence of the Father and to live for His will alone. In short to truly become a living sacrifice as Paul said and was.
Romans 12: 1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will.
So here Paul tells us that there is a will for each of us that is good, pleasing, and perfect when we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. We can only find out the Lord’s perfect will for us when we don’t conform ourselves to the ways and the thinking of this world and we renew our minds with God’s word thereby we are transformed and will be able to test and approve God’s will. That is discernment, it is a gift but also needs to be practiced. You see when you renew your mind you put on the mind of Christ. You began to know him, know his ways his heart thereby you can test every thought and every action to approve, Yes, this is the Lord’s will because it has his fingerprints on it, or recognize, No this is not the Lord’s will because it’s not His nature.
Another thing is there is the Lord’s permissible will which many of us live in when we first become a Christian. And now He is calling many of us higher to holiness. He is wanting us to seek and live out the perfect will of God daily in our lives.
Jesus made it clear that he came only to do the will of the Father.
John 3:34, “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
When you belong to Christ your food, what you hunger, and that which should satisfy you should be only and always to do the will of the Father who sent you here on earth and to finish His work. Not your work or your own ideas or want your parents to want you to do.
The Lord gave us the unveiling of the story of Job to show us what it looks like when a soul is totally surrendered to the will of God. He revealed not only why the righteous suffer but how the suffering of the righteous comes about.
One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man, himself do not lay a finger.”
The first chapter of Job revealed many key principles on righteous affliction. the Lord allowed all his seven children to be killed, to lose his home and livelihood, and then for him to be struck with a skin disease that left him with boils, wanting to die.
So we can see from this passage, that when we are surrendered to God living righteously the Lord can remove His hedge of protection and allow us to be struck with trials, suffering, death, sickness, and pain. The principles that we can take away from these scriptures are: (1) Satan roams around the earth looking to see whom he can devour. (2) He has to come in the presence of God and get His permission to touch us. (3) The Lord gives permission for all of our trials. This probably makes people the most uncomfortable with the Job story—when God suggests Job to Satan.
The fourth principle in this is that God is so confident of the grace that he gives us that he may boast about his righteousness in us thereby suggesting us to be sifted by Satan. You see, the Lord knew what grace he would give Job and how he would pass this test to bring God great glory and to be used as an instrument for all generations and all of eternity to bring great understanding to long-suffering which is a virtue and one of the fruits of the Spirit. And, also to reveal the goodness of God to bring restoration out of our suffering. At the end of Job, He is given everything back seven times more than he had and seven times better.
God turned the evil around for good, He always does. When we Belong to Christ we are not removed from suffering, trials, tribulation, or death. Rather we are more succumbed to it and even offered for that cause to bring God great glory. Because we are a living sacrifice.
So when we surrender our whole life to him we can trust him in the most difficult times, in our suffering, in death and loss that he will turn it around for your good.
Verse 22 states, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.“
When we belong to Christ we must see God’s divine hand in every action and every moment of our lives and submit ourselves in thanksgiving and praise in all things even when it hurts and even when we don’t understand. Not shaking our fist at him and blaming him for the suffering he allows in our lives.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.“
Oh, how it’s hard to do but the Lord will help us if we ask. Total Surrender is the fruit of total abandonment to the Lord’s divine providence. Seeing him in everything—I mean everything. Even the difficult, painful, hard things in life the Lord has permitted. He is not the source of evil, but he allows suffering to mold us and shape us. If God’s own son had to suffer terribly and He was perfect without sin then how much more do we have to submit ourselves to suffering being sinful and prideful creatures that we are. Many times in our self-rightness when we have given our lives to Jesus we think nothing can touch us—or better yet that suffering shouldn’t touch us. But once again we have pattered our thinking to the way of the world and not that of the Lord who asks us to share in his suffering that we may share in his glory.
1 Peter 4:13, “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed”.
As Job said, “Although he slay me, yet I will trust him.” (Job 13:15). St. Faustina said in the same light, “If you cut me in pieces, I say every piece is yours.”She lived a life of complete sacrifice, and the Lord is calling us all to that—to give ourselves to Him—to lay our lives down completely at the altar for him to do with as he pleases and not even be preferential or hold an opinion [as] to how he uses us, how he cuts us, how he tests us and what crosses we will carry and which ones we will not. When we belong to Christ we must say, “Lord, I am all yours, do with me as you please, take from me as you please, and give to me as you please in all of these things I will praise you”. Oh please help us Lord with this grace.