‘Surrender’ is a word that tends to rile up a lot of deep rooted issues within us, whether we realize it or not. At the outset it is easy to say, “Yes Lord! I surrender.” However, it is the action or actually putting it into practice that is the hard part.
God expects us to surrender our entire life to him–every aspect, every situation and every facet of our being. To surrender, simply means to LET GO–to let go of our control over situations; to let go of a part of ourselves; to let go of certain people–just letting go. It is never an easy process to let go. Letting go automatically puts you in a place outside of your comfort zone. Of late I have been learning a lot about surrender and the issues we face that stop us from surrendering.
However, before I talk about that I want to ask a pertinent question: Why is it important to surrender? Are we doing it only because God asks us to, or is there more to it?
To me, through a long, hard and still continuing process, I’m learning that surrender is a beautiful thing. No, I’m not crazy. It really is. Let me explain what I mean.
Firstly, to let go and surrender means without a shadow of a doubt that you are giving God permission to have control. We are talking about the perfect Father who never makes a mistake; the perfect God who knows the end from the beginning; the same perfect God whose ways and thoughts are higher than ours. So actually surrendering to God can NEVER EVER go wrong. When God is in control of our life and situations, how can it ever end up in disaster?
Secondly, surrender is an offering. When you love someone you want to give them things that they love and desire, right? God desires our whole heart. For us to love him is to do so with everything that we have. When you love God, you automatically should want to give him your all. Like I said, there is beauty in surrender because it is connected to love.
Next, there are several verses in the Bible that talk about the cost of being Jesus’ disciples. Matt 16:24-25 says: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’” So if we want to follow Jesus, we need to surrender ourselves to God and die to every sin inside of us. Well, this bit can sound very overwhelming. Let me assure you however that the biggest joy of denying ourselves is that we get rid of the ugliness that would otherwise hold us back and we draw that much closer to God. The more broken we are, the more we allow God to refine us and the closer we get to him. Now isn’t that beautiful? I know that I want that intimacy with God like Moses did, the intimacy that David, or Samuel or Paul and John or any other great man of God had. Nothing is free, even Jesus paid a price for our salvation. So also even intimacy comes at a cost. The cost is to let go of our fleshly ways and thoughts. If you really think about it, it’s not really a cost but a blessing in disguise. This is exactly what surrender is.
Next, letting God be in control means living in the supernatural; a life of miracles. God has called us to live a full and dynamic life; not a boring one. But for the supernatural to become natural to us involves surrender. This lifestyle is not just for a few selected people. We all have access to this.
Lastly, when we live a life of constant surrender, God can use us to fulfil the purpose and the call he has on our life.
Now, I want to talk about the list of issues that we all struggle with and why surrender is not as easy as it sounds. To let go or to give up control means that we have to be able to trust. We need to trust God. Now most of us may say, “But I do trust God.” It seems such an obvious thing. However, from my own experience I can say, I thought I did trust God until I realised it was on a head-level, not so much a heart-level. I was scared to surrender certain parts of my heart and life to God. It was a wrestle. It sounds silly that it is hard to trust God, but that is the truth of our struggle. We often try to help God make choices and decisions which at the time appear really smart and full of wisdom; only to realise later that if we had simply surrendered we wouldn’t have to go through the consequences of our decisions. So I would really encourage you to take some time off and reflect on how much you really trust God. How deep is your trust? If you feel on a deeper level there are some trust issues that you have, then you need to go straight to God, repent and ask him to help you trust him fully.
The way God thinks and functions is drastically different to ours. Very often he will make us do things that make no sense; things that seem illogical and not very practical–the very things that we don’t want to do or which are out of our comfort zone. This is often why it is hard to be radically obedient. We have to walk out into the unknown with nothing but simply trusting God. Scary? Oh yeah. However, it is most rewarding because God knows exactly what he is doing. He never makes a mistake. So even though it may be scary, we are as safe as we will ever be and our lives will automatically become a testimony of God’s glory and faithfulness. It goes without saying that faith is imperative and a key for us to trust blindly. I know that all that I am talking about is a process. You don’t just reach the top in one shot. It’s a slow process of continuous undoing. So it is more than okay to start small; with baby steps. It’s okay to fail. I can’t tell you the number of times I have failed. But God is there to pick us up and hold our hand on the journey if we are willing.
I want to end by saying, it all comes down to our choices. If you love God and earnestly desire to grow in him; be with him and have a vibrant relationship with him; then constantly choose to surrender, constantly choose to be obedient, constantly choose to trust. Make Jesus your best friend. Talk to him, tell him how you feel, he is longing to listen to you to have you confide in him and to be with you and help you every step of the way.