Inspirational Thought of the Day:
Surrender is not surrender if we are still trying to have our way. Lay it down.
Scriptures of the Day:
Job 11:13-15 (CEV)
“Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, 14 and give up your sins— even those you do in secret. 15 Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless.”
Psalm 37:7-9 (GW)
“7 Surrender yourself to the LORD, and wait patiently for him. Do not be preoccupied with [an evildoer] who succeeds in his way when he carries out his schemes. 8 Let go of anger, and leave rage behind. Do not be preoccupied. It only leads to evil. 9 Evildoers will be cut off [from their inheritance], but those who wait with hope for the LORD will inherit the land.”
Romans 6:13 (NLT)
“Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.”
Sometimes in Christian circles, we can grow accustomed to buzz words and what I call, “Christianese”, without really thinking about the meaning behind what we are saying we believe in. We get comfortable. We might even start to go with all the latest fads in Christianity and think that those fads make us Holy. I have been guilty of this myself. This got me thinking about the word, “surrender” and what that really means for the Christian.
To be truly surrendered to God is to lay down any rights that are in opposition to His Word. The definition in the dictionary states that surrender means “To cease resistance to an enemy or opponent; to submit to their authority.” All the definitions I looked up point to surrender being a weakness; admitted defeat. What an interesting term, then, that we use to describe our relationship with God. Do we resist God? Why would we resist One Who is for us and choose death, instead?
The surrender the Christian is called to is not to an enemy, though we were enemies of Him. God is calling us to give up our sin and to surrender to Holiness. Who would not want to do that? But sin is deceitful and we battle in the flesh to hold onto what we think is ours. How foolish we are to resist giving up our way instead of surrendering to God’s amazing grace and love. But His grace is greater.
Unlike the dictionary definition the world offers, there is another definition found in God’s Word. God is rescuing us from the deadly effects of sin. In surrender, He is freeing us from slavery to sin and giving us an abundant life.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia defines self-surrender as “The struggle between the natural human impulses of self-seeking, self-defense … and the more altruistic impulse toward self-denial, self-surrender”. It is a struggle to surrender. Our flesh does not want to, or it can pretend to do so, while inwardly still trying to have its own way.
Practically living this out, surrender is when the Holy Spirit says “no” to what others might profess as a freedom – and we listen to the Holy Spirit rather than manipulating or rationalizing. Surrender is a yielding to God’s standard and not trying to make our standard acceptable in God’s eyes. It is praying and being in His word daily to be able to discern what is pleasing to Him and what is not.
Praise God that He did not leave us in a state of deception. He draws us near to understand what this surrender means. While it is difficult for us to empty ourselves and to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, it is not impossible with Christ. It is also a daily action, not a once and done proposition.
As a worship leader, my heart longs to help others see how great our God is. I cannot contain the joy and fervor I have for God. But I cannot make people worship God, either. That is a choice we all have to make. I can communicate His awesome truths in song and word, but a death takes place at the place of worship. We do not just espouse words, a melody or praise at the altar – we offer our bodies – our lives – our minds – our desires – our wills – all that we are, humbled before our Creator – and offer praise informed by how majestic our God is.
This sacrifice of praise comes at a cost. We cannot say we praise God yet live unyielded lives not surrendered to God. When we deny self and offer all that we have to the King of kings, this is pure worship. Worship in and of itself is not genuine worship if it is not encompassed in an attitude of surrender. We have nothing to offer our great God but ourselves – which He is the author of, as well.
As we become aware of areas in our lives that are not surrendered to God, by His grace we can choose to follow after God and deny self. Surrender in the world’s eyes appears to make us weak, but in biblical surrender, admitting our weakness and need of God makes us strong. Giving up our desires and seeking His desires, instead, pleases God. Surrender is not surrender if we are still trying to have our way. Lay it down. The great beautiful irony in losing our life by surrendering our way to God is that we, in fact, find our life.
Lord, thank You for showing us what surrender looks like. You are LORD over all, yet chose to surrender Your will to the Father’s perfect will; subjected Yourself to suffering and death on the cross to crush death forever and to rescue our souls. Help us to surrender wholly to You – we no longer live, but You live in and through us. Amen.