Surrender is not a term we think of favorably. We think of giving up, handing over, losing. Surrendering is an act of trust and faith – we have to trust that the one we are surrendering too will accept our offer and that they will treat us well or at least with dignity. It doesn’t always work out that way, but when we surrender to God, we are always the winner.
I am in the middle of a trilogy of books written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. The first book was on Brokenness – until we are truly broken and we stop relying on ourselves, we don’t have room for God. We need to let go of pride, or myths about ourselves and of secrets so that God can fill us and use us for the life he has planned for us.
The second book and the one that has led me to write today is Surrender. I just finished the fifth chapter and Ms. Demoss’s insights hit home. I want to share some of them with you here. If you would like to get the book for yourself, there is a link below. There is a lot of great information here and if you are looking to grow closer to God and to fulfilling his plan for your life, this is a great place to start.
In this chapter, she talks about Abraham/Abram and how he continued to trust in God and follow his commands. He surrendered his will to God many times – he left his home, he gave the best land to his nephew, and ultimately he offered his only, long-awaited son as a sacrifice. This particular surrender of Abraham’s has always amazed me and I have prayed that God would never ask me to make such a sacrifice. I cannot even imagine starting the journey to the mountain top that Abraham made with Isaac – much less completing it.
But God, knowing Abraham’s heart, stayed his hand and provided a sacrifice to go in Isaac’s stead. Much like he did for us when he became flesh and died on the cross. He wants our love. He wants a relationship with us and he wants us to surrender.
We are afraid of surrendering though. We are afraid of what we will be asked to do. We worry about whether God will really provide for us (and part of this comes from confusing our wants with needs). We are afraid that we won’t be able to have fun anymore. We are afraid for our safety if we step out as Christians. We are afraid of being asked to leave family, friends, comfort and of being asked to sacrifice personal relationships to follow God. Ms. DeMoss points out that the things we seek to hold on to can actually become tyrannical masters if we are not careful. Check these out below – all of this comes from her book.
- Provision: If we are unwilling to trust God in the matter of provision, we may be tyrannized by greed, stealing, cheating, lack of generosity, lying, worrying, coveting or centering our lives around money.
- Pleasure: If we are unwilling to trust God with our happiness and well-being, and we insist on the temporal pleasures, we may become dominated by overeating, getting drunk or using drugs, sexual promiscuity, adultery, pornography, obsession with television or films or novels, being irresponsible, or living beyond our means.
- Protection: If we do not entrust our safety to God, but demand human assurance of protection and security, we may be overwhelmed by fearfulness, worry, mistrust of people, obsession with weapons, unwillingness to be vulnerable, fear of intimacy, tendencies toward violence, hatred, prejudice, conspiracy theories, or paranoid-type thoughts.
- Personal Relationships: If we do not value Him as our primary relationship, we will live in fear of losing human relationships and will set ourselves up to be tyrannized by such things as possessiveness, giving or taking abuse, adultery, promiscuity, gossip, obsessive or controlling relationships, lust, dissatisfaction, unforgiveness, bitterness, manipulation, dishonesty or jealousy.
Wow, the downside of not surrendering to God is pretty intense! Surrender means eternal life, joy in all circumstances, fulfillment, a constant companion, and being part of the greatest story ever written. So, why do we persist in holding back? In holding on to our petty pleasures and things? We are afraid. We also live in a culture where control of one’s life is paramount.
I see some of these unhappy consequences in my own life. I see them in friends and family that I care about. It is not enough to surrender some, we must surrender all – this isn’t easy, but our God is patient and always waiting. I want to let go of the things I still hold on to. I want to help the people I love to do the same. And I want to help those I don’t know move into God’s plan for their lives. Where do I start? First with prayer. Second with reading – the bible, Third with community-in some ways I believe this may be the most important. God made us to bolster one another up. It is important and necessary for us to have other Christians for a face to face sounding board. People who know us, who see us and who will gently point out when we are holding on instead of letting go. If you don’t have a close group, make it your New Year’s Resolution to find or create one.