Our Big Dream at CRISTA is to be fully surrendered to Christ and united in our mission. Recently, I had a conversation with someone who said, “I don’t think I am fully surrendered to Jesus. Maybe I am not a good enough Christian to work here.” First, I love the honesty and transparency this person showed. Second, I wanted to say, “Me, too”.
Surrendering can be something we do at a particular time in our lives or a realization that occurs to us over time. It is when we want to turn the reins of our life over to the Lord. The rest of our life is a process of relinquishing our own will to His as we grow into a closer relationship with Him. There are ups and downs. One of the tensions I experience is that the closer I sense God’s presence, the more I know His Holiness and realize my own smallness.
Psalm 103:13-16 says,
“As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.”
After reading this, I looked up the definition of the word surrender:
- to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; deliver up possession of on demand
- to give (oneself) up, as to the police.
- to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.
- to give up, abandon, or relinquish (comfort, hope, etc.).
- to yield or resign (an office, privilege, etc.) in favor of another.
- to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield.
Surrendering is first an act of the will. It is something we choose to do. Surrendering means following the person of Jesus Christ and yielding to His will.
In John 6:68-69, Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Matt 4:19 states: “‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’” Jesus asks that we follow Him and become fishers of men. Following is an act of will.
God loves us just as we are, yet leads us to be more like Him by giving us resources along the way. In “The Power of the Other,” Henry Cloud identifies four stages of relationships. In the fourth stage, we develop relationships with people that accept us for where we are but also have high expectations for us to grow; they help us get there by providing resources. This fourth stage describes what our relationship with God should be like. So what are the resources that God provides?
- Understanding for the mind. Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
- Free will. Joshua 24:17: “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
- The Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
- Trials and testing. James 1:2-4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
- God’s protection and oversight. 1 Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
- Faith. Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
- Sovereignty. Deuteronomy 3:24 “Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?”