Lately, I have found myself struggling with the concept of surrender. The definition of surrender is “abandon[ing] oneself entirely, to submit to one’s authority that is higher than them.” If you are reading this and are a Christ-follower, then surrender is probably something you are very familiar with. If you are reading this and you are not a Christ-follower, I am sure you have had to submit to authority before, as we all do. Whether it is at a job or at home, there is always someone in authority to whom we must submit.
When we are called as Christ-followers to submit to Christ, it is not something we do out of obligation. Throughout the years, whether I was in school or at home, I did not really like authority. I am a free spirited person who is often very stubborn and wants to do whatever I feel like doing. I think in some ways we are all a bit free-spirited and stubborn.
Since I did not like submitting to authority, I was not all too happy about it when I was told I had to surrender to Christ. I had the wrong heart attitude about submitting to Jesus. You see, when you submit to Christ, it should never be out of obligation. Many times in my life, I had the view that Jesus was out to get me, looking down on me with a lightning rod, ready to strike me whenever I disobeyed Him. After coming to a better understanding of who Jesus is, though no one can ever completely understand Him, I realized He’s quite the opposite of what I’d thought. Jesus knows how weak we are. He knows how much of a mess we are. He knows that no matter how hard we try not to sin, we’re going to sin daily. We are flawed.
Surrendering to Christ is not a once in a life time thing. It does not mean that Christ will call you to one purpose in your life. Instead, He may call us to many different places, people, and careers. Surrendering to Jesus means slowing letting go of the things we hold on to so tightly, that may not be bad things, but that do not bring us closer to God. It may mean letting go of what we desire for our lives. It could mean letting go of what has happened to us in the past, or forgiving ourselves for the things we have done.
I always thought that doing more for Jesus would make Him love me more. I would always make sure to read my Bible a billion times a day, to say all the right things, and do all the right things. I thought He would love me more because of it. I relied on myself.
Whenever we rely on ourselves and our own good deeds, it takes away from what Jesus has already done for us. True surrender is living a life that reflects Jesus in everything we do, because of His love for us. His love is what should motivate us to live in full surrender. Our love for Jesus and His love for us should reflect in every area of our life.
We surrender to Jesus because we trust Him. We trust that He will provide for us. That He will love us, redeem us, and restore us. It’s not out of obligation, but rather it’s because the life that Jesus is calling us to is better than any life we could create for ourselves. A favorite verse of mine is Colossians 1:10, which states “…so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord, and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”
A life worthy of the calling we have been given in Christ is walking in His love by loving the others around us. It’s living in the truth of the gospel by finding our identity in what He has done for us, not what we have done. It’s surrendering our own dreams to be filled with what God has called us to do on this Earth. It’s not trying to hide our flaws from Jesus, rather allow Him to work in our weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9 states “but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” It’s glorifying Him in everything we do, so that He can be reflected in our own lives.
Colossians 3:23 states “so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” God is most glorified when we delight in Him. God is most glorified when we are so in love with Him that we completely surrender every area of our lives to Him and allow Him into every shadow and empty space in our lives. God is most glorified when we let His light shine through us.
I’m a little all over the place, so let’s try and tie this all together. Surrendering to Christ may look like several different things in your own life. Surrendering may look like not trying to do everything in life without God. It may look like letting go of that guy who isn’t right for you, even though you want to keep holding on because you’re afraid you’re going to be single forever. It may look like giving up that Netflix binge to spend more time with Jesus. It may look like forgiving that person you really don’t want to forgive. It might mean letting go of that addiction to porn you have hidden from others for so long. It might mean deleting your social media so that you won’t compare yourself to the others around you. I don’t really know what your surrender looks like, but whatever it is, it’s worth it. In proverbs 27:19, it states “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”
I know in my heart, I haven’t wanted to give up having full control of my life. My life was crazy and out of control for a year, until I surrendered to Jesus and allowed Him into every part of my life. The moment I said to Jesus, “You can have it all, Jesus. I’m done trying to do this life on my own.” That was the moment I had overwhelming peace. That was the moment that I believed in true surrender, there is true peace. I’m still learning this daily. I’m learning to daily look to Jesus and allow Him to move in my life. Jesus is patient and He is faithful. He loves you, He meets you where you are, and thank goodness, He doesn’t leave us the way He found us.
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