By: Gerard Long
In “Awakening to God”, Gerard Long shares his journey of responding to God’s love. He shares not only his story, but also the story of his loved ones and the people he has met since following God. His stories are candid; Long shows us the sweetness of experiencing God’s love and the brokenness of living in a world still wrestling with the effects of sin. Most importantly, he shares how others can respond to God’s plan to love and redeem the world He created.
Awaken to God’s Love
Someone or something controls your life. The control of our life cannot be left to a void. Long shares that regardless of what controls your life now, God deserves this place in your life.
I encourage you to consider, and even wrestle with, the following thoughts and questions. Either God is King and Lord of your life, or someone else is—probably you. God created you for a relationship with him, and because he desperately loves you, he wants the very best for you: to bless you, fulfill you, and give you fullness of life, including love, joy, and peace.
Even though he grew up in a Christian home, Long had wandered from faith. In his final year of college, he made the decision to give God the control of his life.
For the first time in my life, I truly understood what this meant: God created me for an intimate relationship with him. Apart from him, I am incomplete. I had been trying to fill this God-shaped void with many other things, but only he can complete me.
Surrender Your Will
Surrender to God is bittersweet. While you loosen control of your life, you at once receive God’s love and blessing. Even though you give up complete control of your life, you receive far more than you give.
When we surrender to Christ, it means just that: surrender. It means we put him in charge and do as he directs. We’ve been crucified with him, and we belong to him. From this point forward, we’re called to surrender our bodies as living sacrifices. This is the key to a full and complete life in Christ.
As you surrender, you will again be filled. You will be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will strengthen you, convict you of sin, and guide you. The control you once kept is now replaced by continually trusting God to maintain His control on your life.
We are called to fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and we must faithfully tend our own hearts to make sure nothing spoils this relationship. Thankfully, God’s grace enables us to do this.
See Brokenness in Ourselves and Others
Having recognized our own need for God, we are able to see and respond to the same need in others. God calls us to go, to pursue others with His love.
The world is broken. There’s no two ways about it. As we answer the call to go, we bring restoration and wholeness to people who are suffering the effects of brokenness.
We are able to share about the work that God has done in our life. As one person in need to another, we are able to sympathize with the need we see in others. We become a witness to the work that God is doing, and has done, in people around us. We are awakened not only to the reality of God’s love, we are also awakened to seeing God at work in the world He created and loves.
Participate in God’s Plan
Best of all, God invites us to participate in the work He is doing.
God isn’t asking for your ability. He simply wants your availability. He wants you to surrender your life to him, to be filled with his Holy Spirit on an ongoing basis, and to be empowered by him to be his ambassador and witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thank you to the people at Tyndale House Publishers for a copy of this book for review.
Executive Director of Alpha USA, minister, evangelist, author, motivational speaker, and former banking executive. He is most recently notable as the head of Alpha USA, an introduction to Christianity supported by multi-denominational churched in over 169 countries. Over 3 million people have taken an Alpha course in the USA and 24 million have taken an Alpha course globally.