“The only right a Christian has is the right to give up his rights.”
I became familiar with the term “relinquishing your rights” while preparing for my first short-term mission trip. To relinquish means to “voluntarily cease to keep or claim; give up.” Rights refer to “a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way.” Relinquishing our rights means we willingly give up our will and preferences, for what God desires.
So much angst in life is caused by our fighting against what God has ordained. How many times has God answered your prayers but not in the way you desired? That has happened to me so often, I’m tempted to say, “Be careful what you pray for!” Instead of being combative toward God’s will, what would happen if we willingly submitted to it?
Submission, the act of relinquishing our rights, brings freedom, not slavery. What if we put aside our desires and embraced what God desired? Proverbs 3:6 gives us this encouragement: “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
God is a gentleman; He won’t push His agenda on us. Instead, He provides us with an opportunity to make a choice. Will we choose to surrender and submit to God’s will and His ways, or will we force our hand against God’s? I am so grateful the mother of Jesus responded to the angel Gabriel with these words in Luke 1:38: “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”
I’m learning how to handle the heat of the sauna at the YMCA by slowing my breathing down and resting in the heat. Instead of wrestling your will against God’s, try opening your arms and embracing the heat of the trial by laying down your entitlements. Our submission not only brings freedom, but an internal peace as the tug-of-war rope lays still at our feet. God will strengthen us and give us exactly what we need to go through hardships.
There is greater oneness in a marriage when spouses don’t insist on their rights. Likewise, our union with Christ is more intimate when we submit to His Lordship. Let me leave you with the encouragement of Job 22:21. “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” Experience greater freedom through relinquishing your rights to God.
“It is wonderful what miracles God works in wills that are utterly surrendered to Him.”
Hannah Whitall Smith
How have you experienced greater freedom through relinquishing your rights to God?
In what area of your life is God asking you to surrender and submit to Him?