How Do I Surrender?
I’ve thought a lot about this idea of surrendering. It’s a word that isn’t used much in our culture. It’s almost anti-American to think of surrendering … to anyone or anything.
Here’s what I’ve come to understand. Surrender is what you do when you have NO OTHER OPTIONS. No army surrenders to the enemy unless or until it has absolutely nothing left … no resources … no new ideas … when the only choice that includes a chance of survival is surrender.
And that’s why it’s so hard for us. We always have other options. We can always “tough it out,” “work a little harder,” or our default … “let’s wait and see what happens.”
You see, life is a lot simpler than we make it. Day in and day out, we’re faced with decisions … usually only one at a time. (We may be thinking about a lot of things, but we can actually only process one decision at a time). If we’ve been in church or read the Bible much, we can think “What would Jesus have me do?” and we’ll get an answer pretty quick. But then the hard part comes, because “what Jesus would have me do” is often different from what we want to do. It will usually cost us more time and energy, it’ll be harder to do, it will be riskier, and it’ll sometimes put you at odds with other people … sometimes with the people you love the most.
Jesus revealed His life purpose when He said “I have come so that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b). “Having life” means eternal life, which began the day we confessed with our lips and believed in our hearts that Jesus is God’s son. But the “having life to the full” part is what I think most of us miss.
I believe that “life to the full” is obtained by living life in a collaborative way with God. You have “life to the full” by facing everything you do and every decision you make in threes, not twos. Let me explain. It’s not me and the decision about taking that new job … it’s me, God, and that decision.
It’s not me and the decision as to who I’m going to lunch with. It’s me, God, and the choice of my lunch partner. Over and over, He leads me to lunch with people where there is a spiritual discussion and I end up with some opportunity for influence. Now it may sound silly, but I believe God wants to be that involved in our lives. And I believe that when we pause and ask Him, He’ll point us toward a specific answer almost every time.
And that’s where surrender comes in.
If we ask and He answers, then we have a decision to make. Will we do what we want to do? Or will we obey? Will we surrender? The “Christian walk” that we’ve heard so much about all these years is about this collaborative approach to life. Not just the big things, but the things that seem little at the time.
There’s two “surrenders” in every situation. First, we have to remember to include God in every situation. That involves a bit of surrender … to slow down our agenda to make it His, too. And then the actual surrender to His leading, whether it’s what we want to do or not.
What can we expect if we surrender? I mean, in the longer run…
Peace. Fulfillment. Meaning. Rewards. Fruit. Usefulness to God. Joy.
It takes the pressure off of life.
I live, not one day at a time, but one decision at a time.
Assess the situation or decision. Pray. Obey.
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