Word of the Week: Surrender

This week finds us in Denton, Texas, where I’m preaching in a meeting at the Eastside church. It’s wonderful to be back in an area where we lived and worked and to see so many of our friends again.

Last night, in connection with our theme, “Developing the Mind of Christ,” we discussed the concept of surrender. It’s a word that has a negative connotation. But it deserves our consideration. And a larger audience.

When we hear  the word “surrender” in our society, we think of giving up. Quitting. Waving the white flag. In sports, business, and life 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).

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.

Is it too much then for Jesus to ask us to surrender our lives to Him? Surrender involves our spiritual service. Paul expressed the idea of surrender when he called upon us to give ourselves to God as “a living sacrifice.” “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1)

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.

When we obey Christ 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.”

When we surrender to the Lord in complete and voluntary obedience, we not only experience peace with God, but peace within and peace with others. Spiritual surrender results in freedom from the bondage, burden and blame of sin. And it allows God to work His power in our lives.

Obedient surrender pleases the Lord, serves as a shining testimony to the world of our faith, and even becomes a catalyst to help us grow stronger spiritually.

Surrender runs counter to our culture, but as C. S. Lewis observed, “The Christian way is different: harder, and easier.” In other words, Lewis explains, “Christ says, ‘Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good.’”

Surrender is not a sign of weakness. But a manifestation of our strength.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

4 Comments

Filed under Word of the Week

4 responses to “Word of the Week: Surrender

  1. Tim Torno

    Ken,
    It was wonderful seeing you and Norma Jean last evening in Denton. Thank you for your continued faithful work for the Lord anywhere it is needed.
    Tim Torno

  2. Wow!

    Thanks for publishing this post Ken. I love Texas and its oil.

    Dare I say that to many non-Christians and Christians, surrendering one’s life to the Cross seems like a terrifying prospect. They hear how Simon the Cyrene was compelled to pick up and carry the Cross of Jesus and stumble on ahead as people on the side lines hurled insults (Mark 15:21). Is it any wonder, they turn their minds and their hearts away as soon as the news of the crucifixion breaks. Nicodemus, the Teacher of all Israel and a prominent and respected member of the Assembly formally charged Jesus with Blasphemy in front of another Assembly member. The Charge of Blasphemy by the Teacher of the Assembly…THE TEACHER OF ALL ISRAEL…the teacher who met with Jesus under the cover of darkness is a serious charge!!!

    Why did the Teacher of All Israel betray Jesus like that? Some may say it was not Nicodemus who levelled the charge.

    Nicodemus was instrumental in the trial of Jesus that brought Jesus and the Woman trapped in adultery “face to face”. Immediately following the adultery trial and immediately after the Rabboni tells the Woman to go and sin no more, Jesus appears once again to the people (to the rabble the temple police scoffed at) and says…I am the LIGHT OF THE WORLD (John 8:12).

    If Christians are to follow Jesus and surrender themselves to the Cross are they not supposed to acknowledge that Jesus is the Light of the World? When Christians stand up and say..Jesus is the Light of the World or Jesus is the Gate…or Jesus is THE VINE…or say Jesus is the Truth and the Life…no man comes to the Father except by Jesus…many people take offense. They like Nicodemus charge Christians with blasphemy, with being disrespectful to their sacred beliefs.

    So many Christians today, are turning away from Christianity and are renouncing their faith in the Woman with the Alabaster Jar of oil. They claim the Woman who anointed the Rabboni’s house with her oil in front of Simon (Luke 7: 35-50) was merely a sinner Woman…a woman who was licentious and in need of repentance and shamelessly begging for forgiveness. Many Christians are deeply offended if she or her followers hint or reveal this Woman is the FEMALE JESUS who met with Nicodemus, the Rabboni of All Israel under the cover of darkness, informing him that people need to be born again.

    Many people today insist and want to see Jesus as a celibate monk living in a heavenly, organic monastery, perfectly obedient to the will of a celibate Father who condemns licentious consumer behaviour and the burning of fossil fuel as a sin against Creation. However, many Christians are remaining faithful to the Cross and reminding other Christians that they need to remember the Woman with the Alabaster Jar. Obedient Surrender to the Cross ignites and brings the Light of the world to the world and kills the lie that keeps people worshipping the creature and creation rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25).

  3. Philip North

    Brother Ken, if Jesus Himself, being totally sinless, was not ” too good ” to be baptized, then neither is anybody else on earth who possesses an accountable mind!

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