Aug 7, 2009, 6:13 AM
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23)
All to Jesus I surrender....
We cannot talk of surrendering our lives to Christ if we have not surrendered everything – to the minute detail. In the battle front a soldier has a slim chance of survival if prior to being taken captive he does not show signs of total surrender. To this effect, he must lift both hands way up in the air or go on bended knees, even prostrate (lie flat on the ground) as in a no-resistance stance to say he has given himself up. Whether he survives in that position is another matter; but at the slightest suspicious move or sign of resistance observed by the enemy whilst surrendering, he would be dead meat.
I can recall having sung the hymn ‘I surrender all’ in church several times over and each time someone nudges me as if to say ‘have you really?’ Oftentimes we sing this hymn in total abandon and walk away feeling justified, without asking ourselves questions. What is there to surrender? To what extent must I surrender? Well, the hymn writer penned: ‘I surrender all, I surrender all, all to thee (you) my blessed Saviour I surrender all.’
Just in case you are asking yourself questions like ‘Why must I surrender?’ ‘What must I surrender and how?’ this article will seek to throw some light on what in your mind appears to be gray areas.
The joy of full salvation
We surrender our entire being – soul, mind and body - to our Saviour Jesus Christ because he is the One who bore our sins on the cross and delivered us from the hands of the enemy and from eternal damnation. He is no ordinary Saviour because he laid down his life for his friends, unconditionally. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay done his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Our sin debt had to be paid in full and our Redeemer went headlong to Calvary to bear the shame on our behalf. For this reason, we have to surrender ‘all’ to him, holding nothing back. He must have complete control over our lives or we shall have no part in him. When Jesus wanted to wash Peter’s feet, he openly refused. “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” (John 13:6-9) In essence, Jesus is either Lord of all or the Lord of none.
We have been bought with a price, much more than silver and gold, and therefore belong to him. We ought to surrender our lives willingly as a result. Any compartment that he does not have total control over or have access to – our thoughts, plans and projects - is partial surrender; that must be handed over. We must lay down our lives clearly on the table in total surrender and for all to see. Only when we make such a commitment are we really ready for our walk with God.
When we consider that nothing is hidden from him, he knows everything about us. “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7), then it becomes easy making the commitment. We serve a God who is omnipresent. He abides everywhere. However, if he is not invited he would not interfere. Our success is guaranteed when we fully surrender to him. He is our ‘all in all.’ Our Lord Jesus said “Without me you can do nothing!” meaning we cannot realise much without his endorsement, his backing.
We must surrender our lives to him because he is “the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2) He has conquered the grave and sin and can see us through it all. We need not be afraid. “In my father’s house are many mansions...” He assures us a place in heaven.
Surrendering to God is a commitment we make to walk with God all the way. He told father Abraham “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.” (Genesis 17:1b) There is no obligation, but we make an undertaking that from henceforth our Lord Jesus will direct our lives. We take a conscious step forward to break with our past stubbornness and disobedience and cling to God for direction and counsel. We submit every aspect of our being to him from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same. It is what the Word says that we shall do. It is what the Holy Spirit says we should do that we would do. The person to gain in all this is not God but ourselves.
We must cease to live an independent lifestyle to begin living for God. Satan will no longer dictate what we do and how we do it, for his motives are impure. “He came to kill, steal and destroy.” (John 10:10) Jesus promises the abundant kind of life. It is a safe way to live, no life insurance can beat the one God offers – the product is comprehensive, all-inclusive.
I SURRENDER ALL (Part 2)
“Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belong to it, do you submit to its rules?” (Colossians 2:20)
We surrender everything to God because he is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. There is nothing that he cannot do, nothing that he does not know about. He can bring us comfort, peace, good health, wealth and satisfaction. When we surrender all, our eternity is assured. He said, “I will fight for you.” (Exodus 14:14); that means there is someone we will have to contend with – our enemy. He promises to scatter them. They will come one way and depart in seven. There has never been a battle that God did not win; never a life he cannot save. The worst sinner is assured of a place in his kingdom when he surrenders. When one of the criminals that were crucified with Jesus on Calvary realised who Jesus was and pleaded with him; “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom, Jesus answered: “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43)
‘I surrender all’ requires total submission to the One we call Lord. Jesus is Lord and when we honour him as Lord he honours us as his friends. Young adolescents have a tendency to fall from the mother tree in a bid to live an independent life. Whilst this may be true of fruits and the mother tree and even of our relationship with our parents, with God the link is permanent and must not be severed. Just as the plant needs the sun to survive, our whole being thrives when we surrender all we have and are to Jesus.
If Jesus is our shepherd then we must fully depend on him as his sheep. No sheep has a mind of its own, therefore it surrenders its will to the shepherd otherwise it will stray away from the fold and that would be its doom.
One area in which we often put up resistance is in our finances. We believe that our wealth was sourced through self-effort. Wealth and riches belong to God. “Bur remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” (Deuteronomy 8:18) Our wealth comes from God; he is the one that bestows blessings on us to become rich with silver and gold, yet we want to put him out of the picture in order to tap ourselves on the back. The God of the universe says: “The silver is mine, the gold is mine.” (Haggai 2:8)
Everybody would like to spend money anyhow without reference to God, yet whatever wealth we can boast of is entrusted to us. It is not ours. How we spend it matters to God. If we submit our finances to him and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, be sure we shall be on the right track; besides, our source will never run dry. When Solomon succeeded his father David as king, he asked God for wisdom to be able to govern God’s people. God gave him wealth in the bargain. But at the tail end of his reign, he mingled with foreign women and started spending money on them building altars and making sacrifices to their idols and he ended up a failure. (1 Kings 11:1-13)
The hymn writer continues, ‘worldly pleasure all forsaken,’ ‘make me Saviour wholly thine (yours),’ ‘Lord I give myself to thee (you).’ That spells it out in detail. The sacrifices we have to make are all comprehensive, we leave no stone unturned. God can better manage our lives than what we think and claim.
Many see having to surrender to God as interference in their personal matters and fail to understand that they are more at ease when God is in control of their affairs. They would rather give Satan a foothold, only to end up in chains.
The devil is not a friend. His motive is to upset the cart. He has a hidden agenda and that is to compromise our walk with God. This life does not end here it will continue in either heaven or in hell. The choice is ours.
When our Lord Jesus recruited the twelve disciples, he invited them to “Come, follow me.” This implied leaving everything behind, all that seems to matter for them. Once, he taught them that following him had a price tag and not all of them could accept to go the whole hog. Some of them said: “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” (John 6:60) As a result “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” (John 6:66) Did the others want to leave too? Simon the head disciple stated: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (verses 68-69)
Would it be a worthwhile sacrifice to stick with him and to surrender it all? Jesus said: “Any of you who does not give up everything he has connot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33) He said also: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” ( Matthew 19:29)
If you will surrender to Christ, sing with me. “Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of thy love. Take my feet and let them be swift and beautuful for thee. Take my voice, and let me sing, always only for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be, filled with messages from thee. Take my silver and my gold; not a mite will I withhold. Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose. Take my will, and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart – it is thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne. Take my love: my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure-store. Take myself, and I will be ever only all for thee. (Hymn 400 Methodist Hymn book)
Jesus will take what we have given him and multiply it for our benefit. I surrender all.