For the past few months, I’ve pondered what it means to surrender to God. The Holy Spirit has repeatedly whispered to me, “Surrender to me.” Traditionally, I viewed surrender as bowing before God, laying down my sword at his feet. It is giving up my right to my life and giving him authority over every aspect of my life. In this context, I tend to view surrender in terms of losing a fight. I am brought to a place of brokenness. I can’t fight anymore. I finally give up and surrender to God. This is one perspective.
Recently, I thought about it in another way. Now I think it looks more like the time John laid his head on Jesus’ chest, reclining at table with him at the last supper. It is falling so in love with someone that you surrender everything to them. Your love for them obliterates any thought of self.
We view surrendering to God as an act of resignation, but actually, it is an act of love. I sit on God’s lap. I am a child on the lap of his father. I lean back into his chest. He wraps his arms around me. I surrender to him because of his love for me and my love for him. At that moment, I am fully surrendered to him. I am his, and he is mine. Nothing else matters. Money doesn’t matter. Houses don’t matter. Careers or ministries don’t matter. My dreams and plans don’t matter. Everything fades away at that moment. I am fully surrendered to him.
The question of surrender takes us back to the first commandment, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Our lack of surrender to God reveals our lack of love for him. A problem with surrender indicates a problem with love. We love God, but we also love setting our own agendas. We love our careers. We love our homes. We love having the finances to do what we want to do. We love our dreams and plans.
When I mention these things, we may feel a tension rising within. We start to imagine what it would mean to give up control in these areas. The tension we feel is actually the Holy Spirit. He shows us places in our hearts, where we are not fully in love with God. This tension reveals we view surrender as losing a fight. We see surrender as losing control. Maintaining control seems silly when you love someone who is truly in control of all. Far better to view surrender as an act of love. We give God full control because we are overwhelmed with his love for us. Our love for him swells within, and nothing else matters. We are hopelessly in love with him.
God’s call for surrender is a call to a deeper relationship with him. “Surrender to me,” he says. “I love you more than you can imagine. Let go! Let me take care of you. I have plans for you far greater than anything you could imagine. Take a deep breath. Sit still. Let me hold you for a while. Surrender to me.”
That’s a model of surrender based on love, not resignation. Admit it, don’t you want to be held like that?
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