I was listening to a sermon the other day and either my own mind came up with this or it was God’s Spirit revealing truth – or at least a different point of view to look from. Now, this is all kind of off the top of my head. I haven’t searched scriptures to verify the theological accuracy of these ideas 🙂 But let’s take a quick look at the concept of “surrender.”
The act of surrender is a daily practice for those who call Jesus “Lord”. When we wake up in the morning, our natural inclination is to take life into our own hands and let God watch. Thankfully, God knows us well and Jesus told us we would need to deny ourselves daily. After listening to the aforementioned sermon, I’m starting to wonder about surrender, what it really means, and what motivates surrender in my life.
Often times, especially while partaking in the Lord’s Supper (communion, during worship services) I meditate on what Jesus did for me. I think of Jesus giving everything he had for me (and us). It would seem natural to think “Jesus gave it all for me, therefore, I owe it to Him to give my life to Him.” Is this way of thinking right? Am I thinking that I am indebted to Jesus and therefore I have to pay Him back for what He did for me? Do I OWE him my life because he gave His life for me? If that were true, doesn’t that make Jesus’ sacrifice more of a barter than a gift? Jesus gave to me without any requirement of repayment. It’s not a trade-off.
So now what I’m thinking is, in stead of “surrender” being a matter of giving and receiving, perhaps it’s a matter of ownership. God owns all he has created – including me. Perhaps surrender is about us re-acknowledging that God owns us and WE don’t own ourselves. Yes, in a sense, it’s the same as “giving your life to Jesus”. But I don’t know if I’ve really ever owned myself.
We often lead an existence with only a vague sense of God’s presence. It’s so easy for us to lose sight of God’s ownership of the world (and everything in it) because there are much louder and more consistent messages in our lives that drill the ideas of personal possession and ownership into our consciousness.
In those moments when I remember that Jesus bought my life with His death, I need to re-align my way of thinking and humbly surrender ownership rights.
What do you think, reader? Perhaps it’s all semantics. Don’t know. Whichever way you look at it, though, for a disciple of Jesus, surrender is a big deal. And it’s really difficult. And COMPLETE surrender might just be a rare quality. Complete surrender – is it even possible? Sounds like a good blog post. We’ll see!
Those are some good reflections Ben. Sometimes just a little change in how you view things can make a big difference in understanding and being the type of person you what to be.
Here is a homily along these lines:
Do You Define Goodness in Square Footage?
I love reading your thoughts and ideas and can sincerely tell you that I really miss talking with you about these things. You’re on the right track!
So I recently have been praying and fasting…seeking God’s face about being a surrendered vessel. I noticed in my life that somethings I surrendered to God very easily and others not so much. Do you know want to know why? Because there are things that we have deep down inside of us that make us believe that we need certain things to be satisfied in life. Those certain desires or wishes (we even think them needs sometimes) drive us. This is not what should be driving us. You are correct that we don’t own our own lives. We never did and we never will. Here’s the thing though…if we never completely surrender to God then we can never completely be everything that He has ordained for us to be. I begin each day with a prayer that includes saying, “Lord I wish to be completely satisfied in you.” Jesus is everything that we need. The Word of God says to seek ye first the kingdom of God (Matt 6:33); if we do this daily, we have no choice but to surrender daily. If our focus is to seek God, to allow God to order our steps, desiring for our minds to be transformed so that we can find that good, perfect, and acceptable will of God then we have no other choice but to find ourselves having made a conscious effort to deny ourselves. In James it tells us to draw night to God and He’ll draw nigh to you. If God draws nigh unto you, how can you find yourself not submitting to the awesome glory of His presence and the wonderful might of His power that works in you. Surrender is not a hard task. It may seem difficult if we are only seeking to find what surrender means…what I assert is that if we seek after God, take on His righteousness, love Him, praise Him, worship Him, serve Him in the beauty of Holiness, trust and believe Him THEN complete obedience happens….surrender then is the result of a true and holy relationship with such a wonderful God as this.