As little squirt I was like most young boys; rowdy, rambunctious, always on the move, living out some imaginary adventure in my head of battling evil while forging the unknown and doing heroic deeds, and having a difficult time obeying those in authority over me. I would exasperate teachers who said, and I quote, ‘Mike is just a little too much!’ ‘Mike can’t stop talking.” Mike can’t sit still for more than a minute.’ ‘Mike, I can’t handle you today, go to the library.’ I guess so much was going on in my head I had a hard time listening and therefor obeying.
It wasn’t that I was willfully being defiant (though I’m sure I was at times), it’s just that I wanted everyone to have fun and be happy so I would make jokes, do something funny, or ask a lot of questions. I remember one time I had a class in stiches and it was so much fun, but the teacher felt it best to send me out to take back a movie projector to the media center, saying, “Take your time Mike.” I didn’t get why she said that at first but I was always up for an adventure, so I took one. About 30 minutes later after I had explored the whole school chatting it up with everyone I saw, I returned swinging the door wide open running in sliding on my knees with arms flung out, yelling out “I’m back you lucky people.” The class cheered! But the teacher was not so happy and I spent the rest of the day out in the hall!
I am telling you all this because as a kid, to be victorious, was to do whatever I wanted, whatever was fun, whatever I felt like doing. Rules, authority, and guidelines were ok if they fit into my story or what I wanted to do. However if the instruction or the person setting the standard or the directives where perceived to be squelching my fun or what I wanted to do, I just ignored them! Sure there were consequences, I received my share of swats in elementary school (yes there was a time your school could spank you!), but their momentary discipline did not break my self-centered, self-focused, self-obsessed will…until…
Until a few instances made me realize there is victory in surrendering. Like the time I was playing around near some caverns we as a family were visiting and though my dad had warned me not to get too close, my foolish I’m-going-to-do-my-own-thing self, blew off the danger and leaned way over the steep opening…and I lost my balance and began to slide down embankment to the opening of the cavern and it’s 500ft drop. Right then my dad yelled out ‘Spread eagle Mike’ (throw out your arms and legs as far as you can), now I could have argued with him, ignored his commands, felt like he was trying to ruin my fun ride, or felt I could just figure my way out as the sheer drop was fast approaching…but in that second I choose to surrender to my father’s orders, spread eagle and stopped just before the drop-off.
Now I could tell you loads of other stories where when I surrendered there was great victory, but the greatest has been the constant surrender to God and His way of life.
Proverbs 3:5-8 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
To trust in the LORD, acknowledge Him, and fear Him is to surrender our will to His good and perfect will, that’s a victory like none other. Even King Solomon, the wisest man (besides Jesus) that will ever live, after exploring all the pleasure and wants of humanity, doing whatever he wanted to do, surrendering to no one but himself, said this…
Ecclesiastes 12:13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
Jesus made it clear…
Mark 8:34-35 34 And He (Jesus) called to Him the crowd with His disciples and said to them, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
That sounds like a great victory to me…the surrendering of self where we ‘take up our cross,’ the surrendering of our self-centered, self-focused, self-obsessed will and follow Jesus (live life His way).
Jeremiah 17:7-8 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
There is victory in surrender. Who are you surrendering to? I know for me I need to surrender daily and momently to the Lord because my self-obsessed will continues to pull me back to that kid who just wants what he wants. Yet the victory in surrendering to the LORD is so sweet. Will you join me in the victory of continual surrender to our loving Lord?
Seeking to find victory in surrender with you,