What comes to mind when you read those words, I surrender? Is it the classic scene where one war-torn country gives up to a more powerful foe or the more personal image of a wrestler yielding to a stronger opponent? Maybe the image that comes to mind is mostly a negative ‘admission of defeat’ where we forfeit, abandon, throw in the towel, or give up. Surrender does have a bit of that sense of loss, being beaten down, overthrown, overpowered, trounced or trashed. These are real feelings in a world where self is central and our will, our way, our wants, and our desires are paramount. Why should we surrender when we are the supreme authority of life?
Yet the reality is we do surrender all the time. When our computer is broken, we surrender to the knowledge and ability of another to help us out. Many of us surrender a portion of our hard earned income to investors to prepare for our retirement. If our air conditioner, plumbing, or car malfunctions, we surrender to those who are trained experts. For those of us who have family, are married, have kids or work in teams we know that surrender is a relational and functional necessity, surrendering our will for a more collective or collaborative outcome. Surrender is a good thing!
Surrender does, however, take that difficult move of yielding control and power to another, another who is trusted and proven to be faithful. This is where surrender to God comes in. God is not some divine dictator who demands our forced surrender. No, God is a loving Father who cares so deeply for us, wanting us to not only fulfill our destiny but experience the incredible joy of life as it was meant to be. Jesus said…
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Now this is abundant life is not without trial or tribulation or difficulty. Actually, Jesus said in John 16:33 that we would face trouble, but surrendered to His will and way of life there would be hope through these tough times.
To surrender to God is to place our trust in His leadership and way of life
Proverbs 3:5-7 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.
To ‘fear the Lord’ is to have such a reverent respect of God we surrender to love and leading for life. To surrender to God is also to take on Jesus’ way of life. Jesus said…
Matthew 11:28-30 28 Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
A yoke is that apparatus to connect a beast of burden to a plow. It is a metaphor for a way of life. Jesus is saying here to take on or surrender to His way of life for it is a good life.
Ephesians 5:17-18 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
That word ‘filled’ means filled as a sail of a boat is filled. The sail is set up in such a way that it takes in the wind and is surrendered to its power and direction. It is a great image of how we should surrender to God’s Holy Spirit. We are to, with humility and effort, place our lives in such a way we taking in the direction-giving wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of God, yielding to His truth through faith and belief. In this we are filled and directed by God as we live.
There are a lot of philosophies and ideals out there that we can surrender to, self being the most alluring. Yet God says surrender to Him is where we find life to its fullest. I know I have been through times where I surrendered to my passions, my ways, my ideals, but the thrill was gone way too fast and there was no satisfaction, no peace, and no fulfillment. Yet with God there is peace that surpasses understanding, joy beyond measure, and that sense of sufficiency.
What about you?
Seeking a life of surrender to God with you,
PS This Sunday we start a new teaching series called, “Surrender” and would love for you to join us. You can visit one of our campuses or listen on line. But do come by and pick up a daily devotional that complements the series. As well, we have small groups that meet weekly through the series that also enhance the teaching. More information can be found on our website: www.cypresschurch.net