The definition of surrender is: “to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; deliver up possession of on demand or under duress.”
Maybe it’s just me, but surrender is hard and doesn’t generally take place under pleasant circumstances. This is not to be confused with resignation-just giving up and moving on to something else, often accompanied by a feeling of failure and hopelessness-no, surrender is much more, much deeper, much costlier and the reward much sweeter.
Often the most difficult part of surrender isn’t the act of giving up your power, but fear over what happens afterwards. In war, soldiers who surrender are then placed in enemy prison camps where they are faced with an uncertain future. For us, the thought of losing control and being lead blindly into the unknown can be too much to bear. How many times have we laid something down at the foot of the cross, only to pick it back up again because we’re not sure God will take the right direction on that “one thing”?
Moses saw his people in cruel bondage under Pharoh and his anger over the situation grew until one day it boiled over and he killed an Egyptian he saw beating one of his fellow Jews. His misguided attempt to solve the problem himself forced him to flee to the desert where he spent the next 40 years living and tending sheep. Moses thought he had surrendered to the inevitable, but he had really just resigned himself to his own limitations.
Moses’s moment to chose his way or God’s, came when he encountered the great I AM in the burning bush. That act of surrender changed the course of his life and over the next 40 years Moses lived through ten terrifying plagues- but experienced God’s protection; ran for his life- but witnessed God’s awesome power and majesty; wandered in an endless desert- but benefitted from God’s provision; lead over a million people who were constantly quarreling and complaining- but came to understand God’s sense of justice and His unending mercy- and he did it all for God’s glory.
The perfect life of surrender, exemplified by our Lord and Savior, and recorded succinctly in Luke 13:31-35, shows us Jesus knew his fate included death, but still He chose to live in complete abandon to God and on the eternal hope in His resurrection. That act of submission led to the ransom of every man, woman and child on earth who had ever lived or who ever would live, from the bondage of sin and death.
Ask a fellow Christian about an area they have surrendered to Christ in their life and the story usually involves tears, fear, worry, and pain. But, oh the peace on the other side! They have been brought to the realization that God wants us to come to in every area of our life- God deserves our complete obedience simply because He is God. It is surrender, not for any personal gain of our own, including His grace and favor, but simply a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself and His Lordship. He will bring each one of us to that place, again and again, in the process of bringing us closer to Him.
So friends, I want us to look over the areas of our lives and ask if we have reached true surrender, or just resignation? God wants complete abandon: in our finances; our health; our relationships; our careers; our families; and our marriages. We need to get to a place where we don’t resign these areas of our life to His command, but where we joyfully surrender them knowing that no matter where He leads us He will never leave us, not forsake us and that our eternal hope in Christ Jesus far outweighs any potential, momentary trials. That’s the “die-to-self and pick up your cross” part that is so essential to this Christian walk, and it’s ok to wrestle in the garden of Gethsemane, as long as our final answer is, “not my will, but yours be done.” Will we continue to live a resigned life in the desert- or take the uncertain path through the wilderness that leads to the promised land? If there is a verse that will help you decide, let it be this: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” -Matthew 16:25. Nothing is worth forfeiting a life with Christ.