What emotions does this word invoke in your heart? For some, it’s positive, stirring memories of a sweet moment with God. For others, it’s negative, bringing light to areas defiantly kept away from Him.
Years ago, I recall being confused about what it means to be surrendered to God. Does it just mean that I’ve agreed to believe in Him and serve Him? Does that mean I go where He tells me to go? Does it mean I trust Him – a lot? Does it mean I follow all His Thou-shalt-not rules?
According to Merriam-Webster, surrender is defined this way:
1a : to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand
b : to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another
2a : to give (oneself) up into the power of another to give (oneself) over to something (as an influence)
Recently during our 21-Day-Fast, God brought this word to my mind. Curious, I wondered what He was prompting me to do.
If you had asked me a month ago, I would have quickly agreed that Yes, I’m fully surrendered to God. But as I dug deep into my heart these past three weeks, I saw a few areas where I had refused to give Him access. Attitudes and behaviors I had rationalized so that I could do my own thing. Little acts of defiance that didn’t seem like a big deal. Until I saw it all from His perspective.
It all pointed to one issue – lack of obedience based in selfishness. I didn’t like God’s way. I wanted to do things my way.
In my personal study time, I was reminded that God’s ways are nothing like mine. As the Most High God, the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings, He runs this life differently than I would, and I’ll never comprehend why. He is the sovereign Creator, and as His workmanship, I will never really understand Him. I am so small compared to His greatness.
And I don’t have to understand His ways. Because I know enough of His character to believe that I can trust Him, totally and completely. He always acts in my best interest, and if He wants me to behave in certain ways, to give up specific things, then clearly He’s got something better for me. I understand that when He says “don’t do that”, His goal is to spare us from messy, hurtful situations later in life. I can’t see everything He can see.
Which means I have a decision to make:
- I can demand my own way, holding on to sin and selfishness, pleasing my sinful nature and living for myself. (living by the flesh, Romans 8)
- Or I can do it His way and give up all the junk that may feel nice in the moment, but is not really doing me any good. (living by the Spirit, Romans 8)
We don’t want to live life His way because it means we may be uncomfortable at times. Being righteous and set apart isn’t always fun, and we prefer to live in comfort.
If I’m going to become all that God designed me to be, I can’t hold anything back from Him. I have to give Him all of me, even the ‘little things’. Which means if He asks me to let go of something I really, really want, then I must accept and obey. I must deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Him with my whole heart. (Matt 16:24)
I don’t want to miss out on a blessing.
Worse, I don’t want to displease my God.
So which do I want more: to do things my own way and clean up a big mess later because of my selfishness, or surrender to God’s will, when He clearly knows better than me how to succeed in life, and submission will bring me closer to Him?
Surrender. Such a beautiful word…