My Heart Is Yours
If the serious call to surrender or fully submit to God twists your gut a bit, you are not alone; it’s a universal human issue. Why is surrender such a challenge for us? All we have to do is look back to the original sin in the Garden of Eden to see that doing things our own way has been part of our DNA, and our downfall from the beginning of our species.
From infancy, we want what we want when we want it, and we must be taught how to rein in those desires a bit in order to function in society without running too far afoul of the rest of the world, who also want their own wills and ways in life. The less individuals learn to moderate our inborn desire to constantly “have it our way,” the more conflict there is as these conflicting wills clash. It could well be that much of the increasing conflict we see in our current society is because of the increasing tendency away from teaching individuals to subjugate their own desires, particularly from the biblical point of view. Obedience to rules and laws is no long being enforced, which is the chief way we learn the importance of controlling our urge to reign sovereign in our own lives and over the lives of others. Learning to hear “no”—both from others and from our own inner dialog—is vital for us to have peace, rather than the tyranny of our unchecked desires.
As believers in Christ, we have the great advantage of looking to Him as our example in all ways to live and to please God. Jesus had every right to all things, and yet He set them all aside to fully submit His will to the Father. It is one struggle for us humans to submit to the prohibitions against attitudes and behaviors which are clearly sinful, but another entirely to take it to the level that Jesus did, and surrender even His legitimate rights and needs to the will of the Father.
Jesus could have legitimately changed the stone to bread after the 40 days of fasting. Hunger is a legitimate need. He had the ability and power to do so. But Jesus repeated said that He was dependent on His Father and lived to obey Him. So, if the Father wasn’t providing in that moment, Jesus was not going to impose His will, or even His rights, on the situation, but would wait on the Father’s timing and provision. After the temptation in the desert, the Father did send His angels to minister to Jesus’ needs, thus providing miraculously without Jesus having to take things into His own hands.
Where would we be if this had not been Jesus’ attitude? What if He’d have sinned even once? He would not have been our perfect sacrifice, so could not have been our Savior. But beyond always submitting to God’s way of perfect obedience, Jesus went on to full surrender even His genuine needs and right to the Father’s provision and timing, as an example to us of the higher calling we have on our lives as His beloved children. We, too, can trust Him to provide for us, in His way and in His timing.
While we fallen humans will always struggle on some level to submit to God in regard to sin, we too have the higher calling, like Jesus, to be willing to submit even our authentic needs and rights to the Father, for His glory. What that looks like will vary from person to person, but it may involve calls to fast from food or activities. It might involve sacrificial gifts of money or time. It might be God’s call on our lives to dive headlong into a difficult relationship, to love in ways that only God can enable. It might involve submitting to another kind of difficult life situation with grace and a Godward perspective. God will lead each of us in what His call of surrender will be for us, personally.
Living a life of Christ-like surrender is never easy (in fact, apart from God’s enabling it is impossible), but the rewards are incredibly glorious. We need only look to Jesus and see that the assurance of knowing He would experience joy on the other side of the cross, and the approval of His Father, kept Him pressing on in willing submission, fully trusting the Father. Surrender means trust. Holding back from surrender shows that there is something about God that we aren’t trusting, and we may need to probe with Him to reveal what it is about Him that we having fully trusted. It is good to remind ourselves that He knows the end from the beginning. He is wise and has a plan He is working out in our lives. He is good—GOOD! And He loves us so deeply that He gave His life for us.
There are definite junctions in our lives where we are called to points of special surrender, but in truth we are faced with it each and every day, and in the many choices we encounter throughout the day—will we look to the Lord or to our own wills when these arise? The Lord presents us with many opportunities to grow that surrender-muscle until it becomes a more natural reflex. When that aforementioned “twist in the gut” occurs, the verse that often comes to my mind is, “He who seeks to save his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for My sake will find it,” and that helps me push past the lump in my throat and go forward in obedience. In Christ’s strength and by His example, we can each enjoy the blessings of surrender.
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