Surrender. It’s a beautiful thing.
Beautiful, yet difficult.
Like every Christian, I battle with this. Flesh warring against Spirit. I’ve sensed my human, sinful instinct to rebel rise up within me. I’ve felt the aching, grasping need to control, along with frustration when I realize I can’t.
But above all that, I’ve felt peace, joy, and inexplicable beauty in letting go. The freedom of entrusting to Christ’s larger, stronger hands what mine try to clench tight.
I’ve learned many things on my constant journey of surrender, but four in particular stand out
1. Surrender is good, because God is good.
Surrender isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. And yet, we’re still hesitant to let go. One reason for this is fear. We fear what surrender will lead us to, what God might ask us to do.
But we forget that God won’t take our surrender and throw it back in our faces. He won’t taunt us by giving us something we can’t do alone and leaving us to see how we’ll cope. The enemy wants us to believe that, but it’s a lie. God never leaves our side.
The road He leads each of us down may be difficult—there’s no denying it. It may be something we wouldn’t choose for ourselves, but it’s meant to refine and perfect us. Any other path might not showcase His provision as mightily, His grace as all-sufficing.
We need never fear what surrender might lead us toward, or what it might cost, because the One who controls all promises to be with us and be our help, and His promises never fail and His plans are always for our good.
2. God uses people who are fully surrendered to Him.
“The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in a man who is wholly and fully consecrated to Him.” – Henry Varley
I love this quote. It touches on the heart cry of a true Jesus follower. What greater calling than to be fully consecrated and surrendered to the High King of the world?
And yet there’s one part that’s so difficult. The wholly, fully part. Many of us think of surrender in terms of “big and important” things. We believe we’re totally sold out to God— and we are, in the big picture, but there are many other smaller areas of our lives we hold on to. Areas that won’t make or break our salvation, but nonetheless keep us from being wholly and fully devoted.
I love how fellow Rebelutionary, and writer, Luke LeFevre, says it on his blog, “All or Nothing:”
“We look at Jesus and say, ‘Lord, there’s nothing I won’t do for You. I will die for You!’ But I think Jesus is responding by pointing to places in our lives and saying, ‘Yes, you are willing to die for me… but are you willing to let this thing die in you?’ Are we willing to let dreams and desires that are not of God die? At the same instant that we are shouting, ‘God, I want more of You!’ He is looking back and saying, ‘No, I want more of you!’”
It’s true. We’re willing to make the greatest sacrifice of laying down our lives for Christ, but we’re stubborn about surrendering, “dreams and desires that are not of God.”
But such surrender is of paramount importance if we truly long for Him to use us, and wholeheartedly desire intimacy with our Savior. There’s no halfhearted surrender or compromising obedience. It is, as the name of Luke’s blog so aptly describes, All or Nothing.
3. Surrender opens the door for greater intimacy with Jesus.
My greatest desire in life is to know Jesus, and love Him with all my heart and soul – nothing held back. All my love, poured at His feet in worship. But if I long to worship in spirit and truth, I must also learn surrender.
Worship flows from a heart brimful of love. So does surrender. The two are intrinsically connected. One cannot worship while refusing to surrender, nor can one surrender without worshiping.
Surrender can be painful, because it feels like we’re tearing out a piece of our heart. But it’s in that moment that true worship takes place, and true love fills our hearts. Jesus knows how much surrender costs us, how hard it is. And He honors it when we choose a love so radical that we can truly say, “not my will, but Yours.” The power and beauty of surrender isn’t found in what we give up, but in what we gain.
4. God doesn’t ask us to give any more than He already gave.
“What kind of a God is it who asks everything of us? The same God who ‘…did not spare His own son, but gave Him up for us all and with this gift how can He fail to lavish upon us all He has to give?’ He gives all. He asks all.”—Elisabeth Elliot: Passion and Purity
Ours is a God who stops at nothing to claim our hearts, who has given everything to cleanse and forgive us. When we consider this lavish sacrifice, is it really too much for us to give our lives in service to our King?
On the cross Jesus set the precedent of surrender and sacrifice. He gave all. Now, in our lives, He asks all.
To be honest with you, I don’t have surrender all figured out. I don’t glibly offer these four points as if they’re easy. Because they’re not. Like you, I struggle daily.
But I am oh, so thankful that He is continually sanctifying me, convicting me, offering grace upon grace. I pray I’m more surrendered today than I was yesterday, and tomorrow I’ll be more surrendered than I am today.
But even more, I pray He sees in me, despite my flaws and failings, a heart that says “Yes, Lord. All to Jesus I surrender. All to Him I freely give.”
Awesome article! God’s been teaching me about this lately.
I like that quote: “At the same instant that we are shouting, ‘God, I want more of You!’ He is looking back and saying, ‘No, I want more of you!’” John 3:30 comes to mind: “He must become greater; I must become less.” As we let God have more of us, he fills us with more of himself. He’s so awesome!
Wow. Andrew, I wrote this article to bless others, but your comment blessed me! You said it so well, “As we let God have more of us, he fills us with more of himself.” So true. It’s definitely a daily, constant, process, but one that couldn’t be more worthy. And yes, I totally agree, He is so awesome! Thank you for reading and commenting, Andrew! 🙂
This is a great reminder, Sara! I know I’m not personally surrendered to God, but I need to be. He surrendered Himself, and I need to follow His example. Thanks for this article! 🙂
Yes, surrender isn’t easy, but it is worth it! Thank you for reading it! 🙂
so true. we often think we can do all this ourselves, when in reality, we need to let God take control. Surrendering to God isn’t easy, but it’s the best thing we can do in our spiritual walk with Him. As we surrender more and more of ourselves to Him, He will be revealing more and more things to us. Thanks for writing, Sara!
Well said, Alexis! That’s so true, especially that “it’s the best thing we can do in our spiritual walk with Him” Amen! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! 🙂
Beautifully written! I loved your point that: “surrender is good, because God is good.” We so often look for good outside of God or by holding onto control, when all good comes from him! We needed this reminder that he always has out best interests at heart. Can’t wait to see more from you!
Oh, thank you so much, Anna! So very sweet of you! 🙂 And yes, it was (is) a reminder to myself as well! Thanks again! 🙂
Sara, I love this post! Surrender is difficult, and your points were so encouraging to press into Christ by giving everything to him. <3
Aww, thank you so much, Carrie-Grace! Your sweet words just made my day! <3
I love this piece!
But one thing I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit….
I grew up in the church, accepting Christ at a young age. I’ve served, taught, listened, learned, and will continue to do those things. And I’ve heard hundreds upon hundreds of sermons preached on the topic of “surrender”. I do what it is, and how it is vital in our Christian walk…but exactly HOW do you surrender absolutely everything to God? That’s something I never did learn, and I’d like to.
Hi Maria! Thank you so much for reading this article! It means so much to me!
What a great question! And don’t feel embarrassed at all! I can totally relate to what you’re saying… the topic of surrender often turns into one of those Christianese phrases that are spoke of often but never really explained. I actually thought about adding some more practical tips to this article, but since it was getting so long anyway, I tucked that away for a future article. 🙂
So, HOW do you surrender? I believe that surrender is a lifestyle, just as much as it is a mindset. It’s daily choosing to live in complete submission to Christ. This obviously starts in our hearts and minds by ongoing communication with God, through reading His Word, prayer, and quieting our hearts to hear His voice. It’s a constant process of subduing our human nature to control and placing the control back in Christ’s hands. It’s a heart-attitude and a mindset, but it must be followed with action. For example, one big thing I have to continually surrender is my current state of singleness. Since I really want to get married, it would be all too easy to “take control” by throwing myself at all the young single guys I meet. But ultimately I want God to write my love story, so I’m willing to surrender it to Him. This shows up in the way I interact with the young men I know (at least I hope it does!) by the way I choose to respect them, their future wives, and my future husband. I’m not desperately searching, I don’t feel the need to go to every singles event within a fifty mile radius. I’m choosing to trust that God knows the exact day I’ll meet my husband, and in the meantime I’ll try to faithfully serve Him, and not hide myself under a rock in the process. 😉 I pray about this all the time, and I continually remind myself it’s in God’s hands. And this can go for just about any circumstance, and every part of our lives. As we commit ourselves to Him, we commit that we’ll do what He asks, go where He leads, and when the time comes for action we step out in trust and faith. It’s handing over control, and giving Him the keys of our life, and saying we trust that His plans are better than our own. Like I said in the article, it’s hard and scary, but a beautiful adventure of faith.
I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any more questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them! Praying for you on this journey of surrender! 🙂 And thank you again! 🙂
Thank you, thank you, thank you. That’s all I say to express my gratitude for your teaching me this. Thank you! 🙂
Oh, Maria! You are so welcome! It was my pleasure and privilege! 🙂 Anytime! 😉
God bless you, chica! <3
Hey Maria! Quick question…I was so inspired by your question, that I decided to write an article based of it. Would it be alright if I quoted your question in it? I would use an alias, so your real name wouldn’t be revealed. Let me know! Thanks! 🙂
Wow, cool! That’d be great! Go ahead, Sara, use whatever part of our discussion you want. It’s going to be awesome to see the others learning what surrender truly is, too. 😀
Yay! I’ll share it with you here, once it’s published! And yes, it’s a topic I’m excited about too! Thank you! 🙂
Hey Maria! Here’s the article! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂 Like I said before, I did change your name in it, so you can be “Brooke” for a day! *wink* Thank you again for the awesome question that inspired it! http://topchristianbooks.online/the-two-sides-of-surrender/
hahaha! Awwwww, awesome! Don’t thank me. Thank YOU for teaching me and so many other people such an important lesson! God bless you, Sarah. <3
Ahhh, Sara, I love it! Amazing writing, and beautiful concept ;D haha! No, but seriously, it’s great. I know others will learn a lot from reading your article 🙂
Awwww, oh how incredibly sweet! Thank you, Maria! I really needed this encouragement today. It means more to me than you know! God bless! 🙂
You are so welcome, Sarah!!! <333