If you drive at a high-speed and discover a flashing red light in your mirror, usually you have to surrender to a police officer by putting on the brakes, pulling off the road, sticking out your hand and accepting a financial punishment – a ticket.
If you are hungry and dinner is a two-hour wait, you surrender to the stabbing pangs of the “hungries” who gurgle while running around in your belly — if you choose to eat when you know it will ruin your next meal.
If someone goes on vacation, and you determine to do the same; however, you decide it is of utmost importance for you to stay at a better resort than the other person because you want to prove that you can vacation better than others; you surrender to covetousness – sin.
When God asks you to do something, there is always a surrender(s) on your part in order for you to obey God. It is effortless to outwardly say, “Yes, God! Of course, I will do what you ask!”
Peter was a glowing example of demonstrating this outward effortless bravery. At the Lord’s Supper, Peter knew he was so brave and had no doubt that he would submit to the will of God and would follow Jesus wherever He went – no matter what!
“But he (Peter) said to Him, ‘Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” (Luke 22:33)
Peter’s bravery grew wings and flew away like a flock of birds who discover a cat is arriving for lunch. When Jesus was arrested, a servant-girl challenged Peter by saying, “This man was with Jesus too!”
“But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know Him’.” (Luke 22:57)
Jesus forgave Peter for his denial. Peter went on to follow Jesus and became one of the great pillars of the church. It is believed that Peter died by crucifixion upside down.
In the Old Testament, there were many heroes of faith who obeyed God no matter the cost, adjustments, pain, giants – nothing stopped them from being obedient.
Abraham is called the father of faith. He left all to go to a promised land that he could not see and did not know how to get to without God’s guidance. The very act of him leaving all was surrender; however, surrender was not a one-time event in his life.
On the journey to the promised land, God told Abraham He would give him a son. God seemed to take forever in fulfilling His promise; however, at last Isaac arrived. Isaac was in Abraham’s care for few years when surrender was required again.
God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham immediately obeyed. He packed up his donkey and headed out with Isaac. When Isaac inquired as to where the lamb was for the burnt offering,
“Abraham said, ‘God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ So the two of them walked on together.” (Genesis 22:8)
God intervened and provided a sacrifice so that Isaac lived. What a test this was for Abraham! He trusted God with his only son.
When God takes us on a journey, we may believe that we have sacrificed all to obey. However, God may test us again and again with the need of more surrenders being required.
Initially, you can surrender all the big things required to do what God asks. You can start out on the journey to your promised land* (*whatever it is God has asked you to do); however, if you are not diligent, persistent and very careful you can be pulled out of the journey by an insignificant heart desire IF you do not have faith in God. Faith in God and obedience to God no matter the cost along the way are absolute requirements to reach the promised land.
Surrender is not a one-time event in a Christian’s life. It is an ongoing adventure that requires diligence every step of your life’s journey. You must be willing to surrender all when asked to get to your promised land.
All includes emotions, feelings, dreams, plans and more – all is not just monetary and physical items. All includes your heart’s desires. All includes walking past your fears, pain, rejections, awkwardness, and more to follow what God asks. Determination and persistence are an absolute in order for you to pick up your cross and follow God into your promised land.
God chooses the destination and the sacrifices; we choose whether we will obey or not. The most wonderful aspect about surrendering to God is that we have a “GOOD” God who only wants what is best. He is a God we can trust even if we cannot see the land He promised – yet.
Jesus said that the pure in heart are blessed, and they will see God. To not have faith in God signifies we do not have a pure heart.
If we don’t have faith in God, we are saying in our hearts, “God does not tell the truth. He is not all-powerful. He does not know what is best. He does not love us. He is not good. He doesn’t know what He is doing.”
By not having faith in God, we are setting up ourselves as an idol and God of our own lives; we are saying we know better what to do with our lives than God does.
Whatever God asks you to do, walk past the giants along the way. Surrender to God on an ongoing basis. Be different. Be one of the few who chooses to surrender no matter the cost like Abraham. God can and will use your life for His glory if you choose to surrender and surrender and continue to follow Him.
May God say at the end of our journey, “Well done! You were faithful!” This will be accomplished by one surrender at a time.