Sweet Surrender

Surrender. Here’s the definition according to Merriam-Webster:

a : to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand

b : to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another

 To yield, to give up?! Why… even the thought is…un-American. I mean come on; we live in the home of the American dream (the idea, not the wrestler). We live in the land where all of your wildest dreams can come true; where you just need to think more positively, lace up your bootstraps, use a little elbow grease, and (fill in your own cliché here). I read The Little Engine That Could to my youngest daughter at bedtime recently. The theme of that book is pretty much “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” In the very next book I picked up to read to her, the author thanked his dad for teaching him that “you can do anything if you stay with it long enough.”

I’m convinced that ideas like this have crept into our doctrine and theology over time, and we are unaware of how these worldly philosophies have influenced us. So what does the Gospel say about this subtle deception?

  • The Gospel says: surrender your pride.
    James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “ God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 
  • The Gospel says: surrender  your sin.
    Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
  • The Gospel says: surrender your fears and worries.
    Matthew 6:25 “ For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 
  • The Gospel says: surrender your very life.
    Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Surrender is essential to our understanding of the Gospel! How can we know Christ unless we surrender our pride and admit our most basic needs for forgiveness and salvation? How can we know Christ without surrendering our hopes, ambitions, and plans to His will and desire to use us to build His kingdom?

And the surrender is so worth it! We learn in the scriptures that we gain so much when we surrender:

1.  We are adopted as His sons and daughters

2.  We gain entrance into a HUGE family

3.  We get Him (God)

4.  We become co-heirs with Christ
         (Who is the heir of all things according to   Hebrews 1:2)

Keep in mind, that surrender is not simply a once in a lifetime decision, but rather a daily struggle to submit ourselves to God’s leadership, to “put to death the deeds of the flesh” as Paul said. So, are you living in a state of surrender, or are you living the dream? This is the beautiful surrender.


Ritchie Johnson
Director, Transform Student Ministries


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[…] A couple of weeks ago Ritchie gave us this definition of “surrender” (Merriam-Webster): […]

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