When I hear that phrase, it conjures up a vision of an old-time western flick; one person has a gun pointed at another, and the person with the gun pointed straight at them has their hands up in the air yelping out their unconditional surrender.
It isn’t exactly a pretty picture of surrender. It’s definitely surrender under duress…there’s no free will involved here. It’s a forced surrender without choice.
This week, our small group at church wrapped up a long-term Bible study we’ve been doing on surrendering ourselves to God’s will. It’s been an interesting and enlightening study (which lead to a previous post on figuring out what might be on your tombstone). The picture of surrender in this study has been the exact opposite of the surrender pictured above. God doesn’t force us to surrender our will, our lives and our circumstances to Him. He invites us to do so. Surrendering to God means he becomes the leader and we willingly follow. He wants our heart fully devoted to Him, trusting Him. I love the picture that Isaiah 55:1-3 paints of a surrendered life:
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.
While that vision of a surrendered life is appealing, as we closed our Bible study we were all still struggling with surrender and grappling with our next steps. We shared some of the things we each still struggled with surrendering to God. I know these are all things I’ve wrestled with. Have you struggled to release these things to God’s will and care?
- The outcome of circumstances
- Expectations of others
- Control of situations
- Sharing your faith with others
As we grappled with these things that challenged us, we started to forge something of a plan on how we could deal with these struggles to surrender:
- First, confess to God what you’re struggling with. Know that He forgives you and that His mercies are new every morning!
- Ask yourself what’s stopping you from surrendering. Then ask yourself what your life would look like if you DID surrender that to God. Visualize that and see how God could use you in new and exciting ways.
- Through prayer and study of God’s word, plan a first step. True surrender is a condition of the heart, but getting there can start with just one small action. God will bless that effort!
- Stay accountable. Who can you touch base with on how that process of surrender is going? We talked in our group about how we could be accountability partners to check in with each other on those struggles.
What are you struggling to surrender to our Lord? If you feel led, share it in the comments below as a way to encourage others that they aren’t alone in their own struggles to surrender, and be encouraged that God will be right beside you in your journey!
Working to life a surrendered life,