This article was recently posted on ourcityonahill.net. The painting above is in my home and one very similar is on the homepage and for sale at Brooks & Collier, 813 Meridian Street, Huntsville, Alabama. The quotes in italics are from the devotional classic, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, and are noted by date.
I am on a track of seeking abandonment to God. I don’t understand it, I am not sure if I have ever had it, or if I have, if I even wish to be aware of it.
I just want it.
Each morning I read Oswald Chambers’ devotional classic, My Utmost for His Highest. Recently, it has become increasingly clear that abandonment to God is a theme of Chambers’ writings and his life goal. Nineteen devotionals mention abandonment to God and countless others circle back to the key points of abandonment. Beginning with the first day of the year he writes, I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone. (Jan 1)
The dictionary defines the noun ‘abandon’ as “a complete lack of inhibition or restraint.” The internet states that biblical abandonment is to totally give ourselves to God in a relationship of love with Him, and to put no barriers up between us and God, but to allow His love to fully penetrate our lives. I have found only one verse in the Bible using abandon as a noun: When you live a life of abandoned love, surrendered before the awe of God, here’s what you will experience: Abundant Life. Continual protection. And complete satisfaction! Proverbs 19:23 TPT.
The perfect living example of total abandonment to God is every moment of the earthly life of Jesus Christ. Once I started looking, every story Jesus tells, parable He teaches, discussion and decision is pure witness to abandon to God.
The closest I have come recently to understanding the concept of abandonment is a memory of one day last fall while painting in France. It was raining, and rather than being outside and painting around the little village nearby, ten of us spread out through the three-story villa belonging to our teacher. I chose a corner in her dining room, set up the easel and began to sketch, then paint. I remember having a great time, not worrying too much about making it perfect because I had every intention of finishing it later. I just had fun. Two other girls were painting in the same room and we chatted, compared palettes, critiqued one another, while the windows were wide open, and the rain poured. I remember it as a special day, a spacious space. I painted with pure abandon.
The image here is of the painting I did that day. It hangs in my house as is; imperfect. I’ve never gone back to finish it; I don’t want to add one more stroke. What I love about it is that it’s loose and unfinished. Very much like what I long to be with God. Loose – in the sense of giving up my rigidity and not being owned by a calendar or organized to a tee. Unfinished – as being content with God’s work in progress and His ways of accomplishing How purposes.
Abandonment to God appeals to me deep down. I have a feeling that this is going to be a life-long search, not just my ‘word’ for the year.
In my seeking I’ve discovered a few things regarding abandonment to God that I pray are taking root in my heart and will one day produce fruit. I pray for the one, or ones, who God is, even now, pricking your heart to abandon yourself to Him. Here are a few touchpoints from my morning companion, Oswald:
It is more about love and less about duty. It’s about letting go of all the have-to’s and allowing myself to just love God. If God wants us to do something it will be clear and right in front of us. He is not into playing the childhood game ‘hide and seek’; He is into being openly sought. He desires we trust Him so much that all the rest of it – every desire, answer to prayer – it will come.
I’ve asked myself this question (Feb 21): Have I ever been carried away to do something for God not because it was my duty, nor because it was useful, nor because there was anything in it at all beyond the fact that I love Him? I don’t know if I have or not, but I want to. If I ever have, I honestly cannot remember and in light of what abandonment is, maybe that’s a good thing.
The enemy to abandonment is caution. I’m a very cautious, careful, analytical person. Reckless is not an action I know well. Yet, with God, it is vital step to knowing and trusting Him more deeply.
The test of abandonment is in refusing to say – “Well, what about this?” Immediately you allow – What about this? – it means you have not abandoned, you do not really trust God. Immediately you do abandon, you think no more about what God is going to do. Abandon mean to refuse yourself the luxury of asking any questions. (April 28)
Never begin to say – “Well, I wonder if He did speak?” Be reckless immediately, fling it all out on Him. You will only realize His voice more clearly by recklessness. (June 18)
There is no personal agenda with true abandonment.
If you have only come the length of asking God for things, you have never come to the first strand of abandonment. When you draw near to God you cease asking for things. (April 27)
God cannot deliver me while my interest is merely in my own character. Paul is unconscious of himself, he is recklessly abandoned, separated by God for one purpose – to proclaim the Gospel of God. (Jan 31)
You will never know anything about it until you have realized that John 3:16 means that in our abandonment we give ourselves over to God just as God gave Himself for us, without any calculation. The consequence of abandonment never enters into our outlook because our life is taken up with Him. (March 13)
Here are mentioned only a few things we can evaluate: our prayers change, our wants change, we have a desire to advance the Gospel; we give up calculation. Overall our lives are calibrated on a different scale, a scale we cannot hold or understanding its workings. These calculations belong to God and we become okay with that.
Spiritually, we cannot measure our life by success, but only by what God pours through us, and we cannot measure that at all. (Sept 2)
Abandonment may be silent, but God will be working! And we will not be whining.
When we are abandoned to God, He works through us all the time. (Feb 21)
In the life of a saint there is this amazing wellspring of original life all the time; the Spirit of God is a well of water springing up, perennially fresh. The saint realizes that it is God Who engineers circumstances, consequently there is no whine, but a reckless abandon to Jesus. (June 13)