When I think of the word "surrender", one image comes to mind: A White Flag. The White Flag is the international symbol of surrender. When a person sees it waving, it means the person holding it is giving up the battle.
The Bible is full of passages that call us, as God's beloved kids, to surrender. The word "surrender" may not be used in a given passage, but the call to full surrender is clear.
In Mark 10, we see Jesus responding to Peter's statement of surrendering everything: Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for My sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:28-31.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul calls us to surrender with these words: For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that One has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
In addition to New Testament passages on surrender, we also see this over and over in the pages of the Old Testament. One example is in Isaiah 6. After the Lord reveals Himself to the Prophet Isaiah in verses 1-7, we read this in verse 8: And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
So if we can agree that God through His Word, is consistently calling us to surrender, then how do we do that? Keep reading to hear more on this from Oswald Chambers and from Dennis Rainey:
Part 1: Sharing from Oswald Chambers
Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for My sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:28-31.
Our Lord replies to this statement of Peter in verse 28 by saying that this surrender is “for My sake and the gospel’s” (Mark 10:29). It was not for the purpose of what the disciples themselves would get out of it. Beware of surrender that is motivated by personal benefits that may result. For example, “I’m going to give myself to God because I want to be delivered from sin, because I want to be made holy.” Being delivered from sin and being made holy are the result of being right with God, but surrender resulting from this kind of thinking is certainly not the true nature of Christianity. Our motive for surrender should not be for any personal gain at all. We have become so self-centered that we go to God only for something from Him, and not for God Himself. It is like saying, “No, Lord, I don’t want you; I want myself. But I do want You to clean me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I want to be on display in Your showcase so I can say, ‘This is what God has done for me.’ ” Gaining heaven, being delivered from sin, and being made useful to God are things that should never even be a consideration in real surrender. Genuine total surrender is a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself.
Where does Jesus Christ figure in when we have a concern about our natural relationships? Most of us will desert Him with this excuse— “Yes, Lord, I heard you call me, but my family needs me and I have my own interests. I just can’t go any further” (see Luke 9:57-62). “Then,” Jesus says, “you ‘cannot be My disciple’ ” (see Luke 14:26-33).
True surrender will always go beyond natural devotion. If we will only give up, God will surrender Himself to embrace all those around us and will meet their needs, which were created by our surrender. Beware of stopping anywhere short of total surrender to God. Most of us have only a vision of what this really means, but have never truly experienced it.
Part 2: Sharing from Dennis Rainey
When God called out, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? (Isaiah 6:8), Isaiah had a clear choice to make. Would he remain committed to his own petty concerns, or would he submit himself totally to his Lord? The prophet made his choice when he replied “Here am I! Send me.”
Isiah understood that God was the Master and he was the servant. He knew that situation called for total surrender, without reservation. While many see this type of service as lowly – and it is humbling – we should consider it a privilege to serve such a loving Lord in every area of our lives, including our marriages.
In 1972, the first year of our marriage, Barbara and I decided that before we would give anything to each other, we would surrender our lives totally and completely, in writing, to Jesus Christ. We gave Him everything we've ever dreamed of having. We offered it all up and handed over to Him the title deed of our lives. Today those two title deeds are among the most important papers we have.
That first Christmas together, while Barbara sat down in our kitchen, I went to our sparsely furnished living room and took a seat on the hand-me-down sofa. There we contemplated giving God all that we had and everything we hoped to have as a couple and as a family. She made her list. I made mine.
We gave God what we saw as most important on that day. I gave Him my desires for a successful ministry, nice furniture and things, plenty of money, lasting health, and some good ski equipment. Barbara had a similar list—a house with a fireplace and a bay window, children (at least one boy and one girl) who would honor God and her rights to be settled and stable.
Looking back, what we signed over to God on that day seems so trivial now, compared to what He has given us. In many instances, He gave us far more than we ever dreamed or imagined. I see that we gave Him only what belonged to Him: our lives. In return, He has given us “exceeding abundantly above all that we [could] ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).
As human beings, we mistakenly think surrendering to the God of the universe is the loss of our lives. In reality, total surrender to God brings not total defeat, but total victory!
So after reading and pondering these Scriptures and sharing, how is God asking you to respond? Here are a few things to ponder:
Are you fully surrendered to the Lord?
Are there areas of your life you need to fully surrender or re-surrender to Him?
What is stopping you from doing that right now?
A great next step would be writing out a prayer to the Lord - even right now. Take a moment to write out a prayer to the Lord as you respond to what He is communicating to you by His Spirit.
Then tell a friend of your response and ask them to pray for you - that this faith step would help you and I have a personal, sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself and walk closely with Him day-by-day!
My Utmost for His Highest - Oswald Chambers: Total Surrender
Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Marriage Bible, pp. 842
Shared by Glen Solberg, Abiding Marriage, February 2022