Sunday, June 3, 2012

It's All About Surrender

It’s All About Surrender

(From the blog of
“It’s all about surrender.”
I was raised in a home where those four words were spoken often. As an adult I find them to be true almost every day. When I have surrendered to God—truly surrendered—my perspective about everything else is different. Priorities are clearer; I live with more purpose; I find more joy in what I do; and problems are handled much better. My life is not as difficult because petty worries are seen by me as, well, petty. It really is about surrender.
I’m not specifically talking about receiving Christ and being saved. I’m assuming this has already happened to you. If not, of course that must happen first. Becoming a Christian is to be born again. If you have not yet done so, you can respond to God’s call and believe and trust Christ, asking him to forgive you of your sins. When you sincerely ask God to save you and be your Lord, it is an act of surrender. And he will answer and save! You become his child. This is a one-time and forever thing. Although no fireworks happen, you are regenerated by God. Now justified and made righteous by his grace, his work of sanctification—the process of becoming holy—begins.
Which brings me back to surrender. I have found that I need to mentally surrender to Christ each day. When my alarm sounds and I’m dragging my groggy body to the bathroom, I frequently breathe, “God, I surrender.” As I start the day, I’m relying on his grace and I say to him, “I surrender.” Sometimes when I’m really not feeling it I pray, “God, help me to surrender.” It works (and I’m not a morning person)! God’s grace and work on us doesn’t cease after we believe. This daily exercise is not original to me. Paul said, “I die every day—I mean that, brothers—just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord” (1 Cor. 15:31). Dying to self is surrendering.
When I surrender this way, it changes much more than my attitude and mood. Like Paul might say, “When I’ve already died, even death isn’t so big a deal. I’m able to face persecution with courage.” Or as he actually wrote, “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). When I have surrendered to Christ, obedience and trust in other matters come much easier. I’ve already fought and won the main battle—who’s in control. The rest are just minor skirmishes that amount to little more than academic exercises. Now temptation to lust or covet has been rendered much less powerful. Making decisions is easier because I respond according to what brings God glory. I’m not trying to please people or myself. Now I don’t get angry as easy over trivial things.
Like generosity. If I’ve already given God my self, giving away money and time for his glory is not a chore. It’s a joy.
All of the different aspects of The Journey reflect biblical Christianity. To “unsurrendered” people, they can sound overwhelming! But all of them flow naturally and joyfully from a surrendered heart. These aspects—reading and knowing God’s Word, belonging and serving in community, praying, going away on mission, and giving to kingdom causes—they are not the main point. The battle is not whether or not to do any of those things. The battle is whether to surrender.
If you haven’t, you should try it. Really.

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