Surrender

<<relinquish, give up>>

Surrender is a battle term, meaning giving up all personal rights to another, such as to a victorious army, with the conqueror taking complete control from then on – “We will surrender to you, and you can do to us whatever seems good to you” (1 Sam 11:10). Being at the mercy of the captor, it is admitting defeat, relinquishing all resistance, knowing winning or succeeding is not possible, with annihilation the only alternative.

Submission is a more limited concept meaning to accept or comply (often with reservation) with the authority or the domination of another, yet retaining some measure of self-determination – not a complete succumbing as with surrender. Surrender says, ‘I belong to you God, you are the boss’, as opposed to commitment or submission which says ‘I agree to do something for you’ whilst I retain my independence and self-will.

Christ gave His life for us, and at the time of our becoming a Christian our response should be one of full surrender to Him. Our subsequent spiritual

He gave His all for me. Can I give Him less?

walk is to be of one of ongoing submission to Him, as it is also the response to our fellow humans for the benefit of society.  However, most of us have not surrendered our all to Jesus, but rather submitted in part, by resigning, complying or conceding to the Holy Spirit, yet with a degree of reservation. While the old life is theoretically dead it regularly reappears shows this is not yet a reality. When events don’t go as we like we protest, with the self-pitying response of ‘why?’ instead of accepting His ordering. While we can’t claim to have fully surrendered we can, with a prayer of grateful submission, ask for the grace to proceed along the path of surrendering our heart, soul and mind to the Holy Spirit, where there will be no residual battle because we have put everything unreservedly in His hands.

Prior to salvation, we were intent on going our own way, seemingly retaining control over our lives, when in reality slaves to sin (Rom 6:6,16-18). At salvation when we repented, we acknowledged His Lordship and were given a new heart to love and obey Him even though we didn’t (and still don’t) know all the implications of that decision or the full extent of what the future holds.  From that starting point, an ongoing deepening of relationship and refining of character should be outworked in practical day-to-day reality, working with Him to secure victory.  It was His provision that freed us from sin and His power will keep us free as we continue to live in compliant relationship with Him. 

We are challenged to be ‘living sacrifices’, giving every part of our selves to God as this is the core of worship, permitting the divine potter to do with us, the clay, what He sees fit, and being confident He does what is ultimately best for us – we are a vessel He fashions to work through (Isa 45:9, 64:8; Rom 12:1,2; 2 Tim 2:21). God’s plans for us are always the best, unlike ours which often lead to heartache (Jer 29:11; Prov 14:12).

The Lordship of Christ

Each person has a differing level of relationship with God and consequently of commitment to Him. Initially the Holy Spirit drew our attention to Him resulting in salvation but God desires on-going and deeper intimacy with us (Jn 6:44; Act 2:21). There will come various ‘altar times’ in our lives when He will challenge us over issues in our lives. If we yield to Him in these areas there will be increased usefulness and power in our service and a greater demonstration of the Spirit in our lives as the old is replaced with the new (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 5:22,23; Eph 4:22-24). Conversely, if we hold back and resist there will come a dryness of spirit as the old nature exerts its influence (Heb 10:38,39).

From time to time major decisions must be taken. Like Abraham, God may ask us to put things that are precious to us (even legitimate relationships and possessions) on the altar of sacrifice to break their power over us (Gen 22:9; Mt 19:29).  Many other decisions we make may be seemingly unimportant yet each has eternal significance for He calls us to surrender all that would compete with His reign and rule until we become like Jesus who had one purpose only – “I have come to do your will” (Ex 20:3-6; Ps 40:8, 143:10; Mk 12:30; Jn 5:30; 6:38; Heb 10:7; Jas 4:15). All decisions indicate if Christ or self is on the throne of our lives, yet to receive His blessing we must choose to live in alignment to His way (1 Sam 2:30).

Paul spoke of his surrender saying, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”. He was not content with his degree of spirituality but recognized the pathway to a fuller dimension of life with Christ was ongoing – “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me” (Gal 2:20; Phil 3:10-14).

  We can’t call Him Lord, if we are not                           prepared to obey – Luke 6:46

He was called to be a ‘living sacrifice’ for the sake of the Kingdom of God – “Your kingdom come, your will be done…Not my will but yours be done” (Mt 6:10; Lk 1:38, 22:42). Such a lifestyle, is outworked through "daily taking up our cross" – the yielding of personal desires, accepting the overriding of our plans and the embracing of hardship for increased spiritual strength (Lk 9:23; 2 Cor 12:7-10). From that basis we will be effective in fulfilling His plan for us and not swayed by the opinions or criticism of others.

The paradox of surrender

Surrender is not abdicating (giving up) the will to live, or accepting ‘whatever will be, will be’; rather a person’s drive and motivation are harnessed for the glory of God and expressed through a servant attitude of meekness – like a horse, that is self-willed and of little benefit until it is broken-in, yet when through discipline and training it becomes subservient to its master it’s spirit is not broken but is under the control of another. Every day pray, ‘To the measure of my understanding I dedicate and surrender my life and day to you, work in and through me for your glory. I am your bondservant’.

Every time the Holy Spirit convicts us of an attitude or action from our old way of life, the principle of surrender to God comes into effect. While we may never achieve its total elimination, we should try our best to conquer it out of

Am I genuinely seeking to know and consistently                   follow God’s will in every area of my life? 

devotion to Him. The call is to deny ourselves, so we become less and He increases; being filled to a greater measure with the Holy Spirit we become increasingly conformed to Jesus Christ and useful as His ‘instruments of righteousness’ (Mk 8:34; Jn 3:30, 15:5; Rom 6:13, 8:29; Gal 5:24; Eph 5:18). If I don’t yield my rights, possessions, future and reputation I have not had a genuine conversion experience, for salvation is not just accepting forgiveness of sins; it involves the reciprocal committing of all I have and hope to be, in loving obedience to the one who died in my place.

See also: altar, choice, cross, decisions, Lord/Lordship, rebellion, resist, response, self, self-will, servant, submission, un-surrendered, will, yield.


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