Surrender

Bruce Larson, in Believe and Belong, tells how he helped people struggling to surrender their lives to Christ:

For many years I worked in New York City and counseled at my office any number of people who were wrestling with this yes-or-no decision. Often I would suggest they walk with me from my office down to the RCA Building (now the GE Building in Rockefeller Plaza) on Fifth Avenue. In the entrance of that building is a gigantic statue of Atlas, a beautifully proportioned man who, with all his muscles straining, is holding the world upon his shoulders. There he is, the most powerfully built man in the world, and he can barely stand up under this burden. ‘Now that’s one way to live,’ I would point out to my companion, ‘trying to carry the world on your shoulders. But now come across the street with me.’

On the other side of Fifth Avenue is Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and there behind the high altar is a little shrine of the boy Jesus, perhaps eight or nine years old, and with no effort he is holding the world in one hand. My point was illustrated graphically.

Surrender.  That’s not a positive word in our culture.  We think of giving up. Quitting. Waving the white flag.  We’re taught to compete.  To keep fighting.  To play hard until the end of the game.  Surrender?  No way!

Yet, surrender is at the heart of Christianity.  Jesus asks us to surrender to Him.  Our minds.  Our hearts. Our lives.  He challenged, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.   For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it”  (Lk 9:23-24).

Rick Warren was right when he wrote, “Surrendering is best demonstrated in obedience.”  When we are willing to “trust and obey” we show that we’ve surrendered our will to His.  Conversely, an unwillingness to obey manifests a failure to really surrender.

Jesus is our example of surrender.  He surrendered to the Father by coming to this earth to be our Savior. He relinquished His rights in his earthly relationships.  In his boyhood, he submitted to Joseph and Mary.  When he came to be baptized of John it was not because he had sinned, but to fulfill all righteousness.  In that act of obedience he showed surrender.  He gave up his equality with God and emptied himself of his privileges while on earth (Phil 2:6-8).  In His suffering He showed surrender.  And, of course, the ultimate act of surrender was in dying for us on the cross.

It is too much then for Jesus to ask us to surrender our lives to Him? Surrender involves our spiritual service.  When we obey him in our homes, in our social relationships and in our business dealings, we show the spirit of surrender.  Surrender also means casting our burdens on the Lord.

The reality is that we all surrender to something or someone. Pleasure. Possessions. Power.  Or maybe we just give in to the pressure of life’s struggle.  However, as E. Stanley Jones wrote, “If you don’t surrender to Christ, you surrender to chaos.”

The choice is yours.  You can carry the weight on the world on your shoulders.  Or you can give it up to the Lord.

2 Comments

Filed under Discipleship, Surrender

2 responses to “Surrender

  1. Amen! I surrendered years ago so thankful for it. Sometimes I take back the load that the Lord told me he would carry but no fault of his. I learn the lessons and hand it back to him.

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