To be a true follower of Christ means surrendering everything to Him. The instant we proclaim Him to be our Lord, we give up our right to call anything our own. All of our money, our time, and our possessions are now His to be used to glorify God and to further the Kingdom. Intellectually, we know this, but the translation somehow gets muddied between our heart and our actions. Instead of giving everything to Him, we have a tendency to reserve certain pockets of our lives to keep outside of His control.
Growing up a rock-n-roll kid in a traditional church, there weren’t a whole lot of hymns that resonated with me. However, one that I always enjoyed more than others was, “I Surrender All”. Even though my life was far from surrendered at that point, the words of the song seemed to speak to something deep within me. The lyrics are just as impactful today: “All to Jesus, I surrender; all to Him, I freely give.” How many of us can sing those words honestly? For most of us the song goes more like this: “All to Jesus, I surrender; all but this, I freely give.” There are parts of our lives in which we simply don’t want Jesus getting involved.
Why would we want to keep anything from Jesus? I believe the reason is because we think we will somehow be less than we were before. Perhaps we think we’ll lose some freedom or some enjoyment, or maybe even some status. Satan loves to mess with our minds and convince us that we need more than God Himself. If we take a moment to step back and analyze the truth, we will see how ludicrous this is. What status is more important than being called God’s child? Would you rather be known as the CEO of a company or someone who is actually called a friend of God? What pleasure could be greater than living in harmony with your Creator? How could you ever be more free than by becoming the person you were created to be? To ask the question differently, in what ways do you think you are truly gaining by holding anything back from God?
Pretty much everyone wants to be happy and achieve some modicum of success. We want to know that our lives matter. To that end, we constantly seek to hoard and manipulate, to come up with some combination of “stuff” and prestige that give us a sense of purpose. In other words, we spend our whole lives acquiring more and more instead of letting go. Our purpose will only be found when we totally surrender all to Jesus. Is it any wonder we feel empty when we ask for financial blessings but then fail to give to those in need? What do we gain by achieving high levels of success if we don’t use our position of influence to spread the good news of Jesus Christ? Until we surrender every part of our life to God, we will not find peace.
What are you holding back from God? What areas of your life are you hesitant to hand over to Him? Is He not trustworthy to handle them? In your most honest moments, do you sincerely believe that things will work out better with you in control instead of God? Life will only be fulfilling when it is lived in total devotion to Him. Yet we are afraid that if we give up that which we find enjoyable from a human perspective, we will somehow feel deprived and less happy. The truth is we can never be happy as long as we hold anything back from Jesus. He is either Lord of your life or He isn’t. There is no in between, no conditional surrender. It’s all or nothing. Are you really His servant? If not, what are you holding back?