We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love becomes complete…. Such love has no fear because complete love expels fear…. 1 John 4:16-17a, 18a NLT
C. S. Lewis, in a sermon entitled “A Slip of the Tongue”1 speaks powerfully of the necessity of our yielding every area of our lives to God. If we do not, he says, it is like going to the seaside, and instead of diving in and giving ourselves completely to the sea, we simply wade a bit. This will not do, he says, because God, the passionate Lover, will not be content with only a part of us.
I fully agree with that sentiment. How could I not since it is so thoroughly Biblical. To do otherwise is to miss the full meaning and benefit of our salvation. So why would we hang back? It is for fear, fear that such a surrender to God would take us to places we do not want to go, would require of us things we do not want to do, would ask of us things we do not want to give. But, as John says, total love does away with fear. God really does love us totally; he is for us, and always wants the best for us. If we will let go of all our other loves, and will love him completely, we will no longer be afraid of his will. Once we know for certain what it is, that is the very thing we too want.
But we need to go one step further than Lewis takes us. He says that this surrender to love must be renewed every day. Again, right. But then he says the reason we must do that is because the invader cannot be driven out of our territory until death. Using the image of occupied France, he calls upon us to be part of the Resistance, and not of Vichy. Oh, the Good News of the Bible is better than that! We can be like England, where the Enemy controls no part of us! Is he a threat to be guarded against every moment? Yes. Are there forces within us that are responsive to his temptations? Yes. Will his attacks lose none of their fierceness until death? Yes. But he does not live here! He owns no part of us! This is Jesus-territory! Dear friends, that is our birth-right. We can belong wholly to the Lord of Life. Why settle for anything less than that?