Surrender is a word which causes mixed emotions for me. My independent and ferocious side wants to scream out, “Never! I won’t quit, won’t stop, won’t ever give in.” Surrender implies I’ve failed in some way. I didn’t complete the task or achieve the mission. I’m not one who likes to be beaten. On the flip side, surrender is the most beautiful word I know and is the aspiration of my life.
I know I cannot win until I surrender. The mission will fail unless and until I surrender. While my prideful self resists surrender, my love for Christ demands it of me. So, in a paradoxical sense, I must refuse to surrender to ever stop surrendering to Jesus!
William Booth once said, “The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.” If we are great in our own eyes, or even seeking greatness in our lives, we will never amount to anything. If we want to be someone, we must first stop striving to become someone. Surrender is the only way to true success. The level of our surrender to Christ is the measure of our success in life. But even this doesn’t quite capture the reality of what Christ demands of us. He wants us to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). If we are to be holy, we must understand it requires our absolute surrender. I think we sometimes try to get a little better every day in our walk with Jesus, but such thinking misses the point. We are either all in or not in at all.
Anything short of absolute surrender is no surrender at all. How many partial surrenders have you read about in history? Surrender means it’s over. One side quits. They give in. It must be the same in our surrender to Christ. It must be absolute. We have to come to the point where we say,” No more! It’s all yours, Jesus. ALL of it. My life is yours. I’m dead. The only life I have now is in You (Galatians 2:19-20). Use me however, wherever, and whenever you want.” Absolute surrender means our dreams are no longer our own. Our dreams must become only what Christ’s dreams are for us. Any pursuit of selfish desires must be buried. Only Jesus matters.
To say absolute surrender is difficult is an outrageous understatement. We’ll mess up. We’ll fail. We’ll take back some of the things we surrendered to Jesus. But we must never stop surrendering. When we blow it, we must surrender again. And again. And again. You can think of it as levels of surrender if you wish but to me, such thinking doesn’t accurately capture the mindset required for living a life of absolute surrender to God. We’re not talking about degrees of surrender. Rather, we must forever be seeking total submission. It’s the state in which we must live. When we give Jesus anything less, it is our duty to immediately repent and surrender anew.
In Jesus, we are found whole. In Him, we are safe. Without Christ, we are nothing no matter how much we posture or strut. A life not surrendered is no life at all. It is a walking death. Discipleship and surrender cannot be separated. You cannot have one without the other. Choose life or death. Choose Jesus or reject Him. Choose surrender or pride. If you want to follow Jesus, if you truly love Him with all your heart, mind, and soul, you must choose absolute surrender to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Nothing less is acceptable to our holy God. Why not surrender all over again today?