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Duct Tape & Surrender
By Dan Vis
July 15, 2019
Comments: 12

Welcome to part three in our series of "classic" FAST, articles from the early days of our ministry. This article comes from progression I found particularly helpful in my own walk with God. It's not actually about tape, but surrender...

You often hear people say duct tape can fix about anything. And that apart from a dog, duct tape is a man's best friend. Not sure about either of those claims, but it is a pretty amazing invention.

The idea was actually conceived during WWII by Vesta Stoudt, a mother with two sons serving in the Navy. She was working in a factory that packaged up cartridges for rifle grenades. At the time, her factory used a combination of paper tape and waterproof wax to seal the boxes, but the tape was too weak and often broke making it difficult to get the boxes open when needed. She proposed a strong, waterproof, cloth-based tape that could be ripped off easily.

When her supervisors showed little interest, she actually wrote a personal letter to the president (F.D.R.), arguing the new tape could save lives in dangerous battlefield situations. Within a few weeks, she received a response that her idea had been forwarded to the appropriate military officials, and before long, soldiers were using duct tape to fix all sorts of things!

The Tape Illustration

Tape at its essence binds two things together. So it makes sense to use the word as an illustration for how we bind ourselves to God. Ultimately, this binding process happens as we grow in surrender. And surrender becomes increasingly possible as we grow in our ability to appropriate the principles of the Gospel into our moment by moment experience. While many see the Gospel as a one time transaction in our past, the Bible describes it as an ongoing and continual source of power (Colossians 2:6As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:, I Corinthians 1:18For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.).

“While many see the Gospel as a one time transaction in our past, the Bible describes it as an ongoing and continual source of power.”

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Grasping how the principles of the Gospel can lead to victory over temptation is critical in the life of a believer. And once learned, it unlocks amazing potential for life transformation. But learning these lessons is a growth process. And the word "tape" makes a helpful acronym summarizing the four main steps in surrender. Let's explore these in reverse order:

Experimental
When a person first understands how the Gospel can give power for victory in moments of temptation, he is often interested in giving it a try. He identifies some recurring problem area in his life, commits to using the technique in battling that temptation, and he gives it a try. Assuming he follows the basic steps correctly, he is often surprised how well it works. His experiment with the Gospel proves a success, and he concludes there really is power for surrender.

Passive
Once that realization hits home, the next step is typically to move up to what I call passive surrender. That is, he'll make some bargain with God along these lines: Lord, if there is some other area you want me to use this method on, just let me know. He is open to exploring the Gospel further, but expects God to take the initiative in prompting him to do so, and only in specific situations. If he stays in this mode faithfully, he will gradually begin to gain additional experience, and confidence, in the power of the Gospel.

Active
At some point, it may occur to him, that our pursuit of victory should not just be passive, but active. While God certainly can and will prompt us to fight and resist various temptations, a strong believer will eagerly look for specific areas to overcome. They carefully assess every aspect of their spiritual life, identify specific growth goals, and commit to lasting victory in each area. They are on the constant lookout for ways to apply Scripture to their day to day life. All this requires much more aggressive use of the Gospel.

Total
The more a person pursues active surrender, the more habitual it will become. We gradually shift towards a continual state of prayer--asking God to reveal His will in every situation. Our natural mode will be a steady focus on the life implementation of Scripture. Our automatic response will be to turn to the power of God when we find ourselves struggling to obey. The principles of the Gospel, in time, become so internalized, they are intertwined with our own character. Little by little, we draw closer to the ultimate goal: total surrender.

“The principles of the Gospel must become so internalized, they are intertwined with our own character.”

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Conclusion

So surrender is a four step process: we experiment with the Gospel and discover it works. We then move into a more passive mode, where we give God permission to prompt us as needed. At some point, a switch is flipped, and we become active in our pursuit of surrender in every aspect of our life. And the more habitual and automatic this becomes, the more total our surrender.

These four modes: Total, Active, Passive, and Experimental, are how we "TAPE" ourselves to God. It's the adhesive that binds us to Him. And unlike duct tape, it really can fix anything in our life. Why? Because it connects us to the One who is in truth, man's best friend!


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Comments

How important is it to learn how to draw power from the Gospel for daily victory? Can you relate to any of these stages of surrender? What makes duct tape such a good illustration of the concepts in this article?

Posted by Dan Vis on 07/30/19
Interesting thought about duct tape coming off easy, and the connection to free choice. Appreciate that Qing! And your point about "leveling up" makes me think of a video game or something. And eager to press closer. Or, climb higher! :)
Posted by Qing Ling on 07/28/19

i like this breakdown of stages of surrender. I can relate to all of them!
It is helpful for self-assessment and being challenged to "level up" all the way to "T" for TOTAL :)

Duct tape is a good illustration re: binding ourselves to Christ not just because it is a strong waterproof tape, but because duct tape comes off easily also. To me this represents our power of choice. We can choose to either bind ourselves to Christ, or take off the tape at anytime. But who would want to? John 6:68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

Posted by Dan Vis on 07/22/19

I always learn more in teaching than I do as a student. :) Thanks Kjersti.

Glad you were inspired Emmanuel. All the best as you focus on advancing through these stages! "Stick" to it. :)

Posted by Emmanuel Ajiroghene on 07/22/19
This is the spiritual side of the life of a tape. It inspires me and I hope to implement it in my life.
Posted by Kjersti on 07/17/19
I Think duch Tape is a good tool. Surly you can use my storry if it fitt into wath you want to explain.
Posted by Dan Vis on 07/17/19
Sure Berith, just goes to show short verses are sometimes even more powerful than longer passages! :)
Posted by Dan Vis on 07/17/19

Thanks for the resource link Berith. Looks good. I love how you used that verse by itself. I've memorized it as part of a larger passage, but it really sticks out as an individual verse. :)

I really LOVE your illustration of duct tape holding together and protecting the Bible. Without surrender, the Bible really kind of falls apart, at least in our life, doesn't it? Wow, neat thought Kjersti. I should work that into the article for next time!

And thanks Jackie for that beautiful testimony. You really described what we're trying to do at FAST, by helping people understand the practical nuts and bolts of really walking with God. As for the Gospel, there are several memos on the subject, but if you can get a copy of the Moral Machinery, I'd read that. And esp chapter 4. It's available in our Online Store and also digitally to LAB members.

Glad you enjoy this Carole. :) Just keep getting closer...

Posted by Carole Bliss on 07/16/19
More and more, I want Jesus to be the Lord of my thoughts, my attitudes and my words. I need to know His Word, to rely on it. Surrendering each day to Him. Staying connected to Him, is my goal.
With God's help, I am growing.
Good message, thank you
BLESSINGS
Carole
Posted by Jackie Smith on 07/16/19
Pastor Dan,
I really enjoy these Monday Memo's especially the information on the Christian Walk. I've been in church for 40 years, and all I thought it was, was that a person needed only to attend church regularly and return a healthy tithe, then when Jesus comes in the clouds, I would be whisked up with everyone else, and live in heaven for eternity. I absolutely had no clue that there was anything more to the "walk" than this. And as I look back to other friends that I had 30 years ago, I really believe that they thought the same thing. Go to church and be good the other days.   It hasn't been until recently that I was informed that we are to project ahead, when we know that -Example: there will be sweets out - we are to pray ahead and ask God to help us not eat them. I had NO CLUE that I was to do this. When sin came my way, after having a nice prayer morning or after a nice church day, I just thought I was to just get through the sin, ( what ever it was) in other words, just ignore it. Paul talks about an Armor. I had NO Clue what that meant, and it NEVER occurred to me to ask what that armor meant.   I really don't think that most ministers know this information that you are writing either.   I have been so blessed with the Prayer Journal, ( mine is getting bigger and bigger) and I am getting a closer walk with Jesus from it. And now todays memo, I had no clue that there was a 4-part surrender process. I am still confused of what the Gospel is, I thought it was just - Matthew - Mark - Luke - John.    So, needless to say, I would really benefit with more information on these issues. Like I said earlier, most common members in church don't know these things, and the pastor is too busy to sit down we me, so I have nobody to explain this issues to me. Hence, I very much appreciate you putting out this information to us all. Thank you very much Pastor Dan.   
Posted by Kjersti on 07/15/19
When I were first time in Bolivia We did everything. My Bibel and worship book did I cover with Duce Tape to hindrer the water filled ear destroy the books. It worked tremendusly well.
Posted by Berith Bermejo on 07/15/19

I remember reading about TAPE in Revive or some similar short course before. It has been a helpful reminder of how the Gospel gives victory.

What has been helpful to me is to see the Gospel in different angles. For example, Romans 6:7For he that is dead is freed from sin. has been instrumental in helping me overcome evil thoughts and feelings. The Lord has to remind me I'm dead to self and the world, and therefore, free from sin and sinful thoughts. It's amazing how that verse stops the thought cold and dissipates it. I got it from a wonderful series on applying the death and resurrection of Jesus to our lives at Gotential. You can find 40 plus verses on that at this link: 40 days to the Cross

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