Surrender

10 02 2012

“I surrender all, I surrender all, all to Jesus my blessed Saviour, I surrender all.” 

This is a very well known song in Christian circles that is sung with great gusto and even honesty. In my Christian experience the word “surrender” as I understood it, meant that it was something that a Christian did – it was an act of self will, an act of obedience. I compared it to a criminal who was on the run from the police, and that surrender was when the criminal drove to the police station and handed himself in so that the judge might look favourably on him because of his act of surrender. This is how I understood surrender. I heard people telling me that I had to surrender to God, but in my mind I had already done that. The problem was that I understood surrender as something that I must do. God was going to reveal that surrender was not something that I did, but a place that He was going to bring me to.

According to the dictionary this is how it defines surrender:

“sur·ren·der verb (used with object)

1. to yield (something) to the possession or power of another;deliver up possession of on demand or under duress: to surrender the fort to the enemy; to surrender the stolen goods to the police.
2. to give (oneself) up, as to the police.
3. to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion,etc.: He surrendered himself to a life of hardship.
4. to give up, abandon, or relinquish (comfort, hope, etc.).
5. to yield or resign (an office, privilege, etc.) in favor of another.”
Notice that surrender according to the dictionary is a verb – “a doing word”. The Bible does not specifically mention that we must surrender to God. I think it is something that man has introduced into Christianity. If the decision to surrender lies with us, in our strength and ability, then our flesh will receive glory. If however surrender is not something that we do, but it is a place which God brings us to, then God will get the glory and we will not. This is more in line with what the Bible says.
Let us look at some scriptures:
Job 19 New King James Version (NKJV)

19 Then Job answered and said:

“How long will you torment my soul,

And break me in pieces with words?

These ten times you have reproached me;
You are not ashamed that you have wronged me.
And if indeed I have erred,
My error remains with me.
If indeed you exalt yourselves against me,
And plead my disgrace against me,
Know then that God has wronged me,
And has surrounded me with His net.

“If I cry out concerning wrong, I am not heard.
If I cry aloud, there is no justice.
He has fenced up my way, so that I cannot pass;
And He has set darkness in my paths.
He has stripped me of my glory,
And taken the crown from my head.
10 He breaks me down on every side,
And I am gone;
My hope He has uprooted like a tree.
11 He has also kindled His wrath against me,
And He counts me as one of His enemies.
12 His troops come together
And build up their road against me;
They encamp all around my tent.

13 “He has removed my brothers far from me,
And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
14 My relatives have failed,
And my close friends have forgotten me.
15 Those who dwell in my house, and my maidservants,
Count me as a stranger;
I am an alien in their sight.
16 I call my servant, but he gives no answer;
I beg him with my mouth.
17 My breath is offensive to my wife,
And I am repulsive to the children of my own body.
18 Even young children despise me;
I arise, and they speak against me.
19 All my close friends abhor me,
And those whom I love have turned against me.
20 My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh,
And I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.

21 “Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends,
For the hand of God has struck me!
22 Why do you persecute me as God does,
And are not satisfied with my flesh?

Lamentations 3

New King James Version (NKJV)

3 I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath.
He has led me and made me walk
In darkness and not in light.
Surely He has turned His hand against me
Time and time again throughout the day.

He has aged my flesh and my skin,
And broken my bones.
He has besieged me
And surrounded me with bitterness and woe.
He has set me in dark places
Like the dead of long ago.

He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out;
He has made my chain heavy.
Even when I cry and shout,
He shuts out my prayer.
He has blocked my ways with hewn stone;
He has made my paths crooked.

10 He has been to me a bear lying in wait,
Like a lion in ambush.
11 He has turned aside my ways and torn me in pieces;
He has made me desolate.
12 He has bent His bow
And set me up as a target for the arrow.

13 He has caused the arrows of His quiver
To pierce my loins.
14 I have become the ridicule of all my people—
Their taunting song all the day.
15 He has filled me with bitterness,
He has made me drink wormwood.

16 He has also broken my teeth with gravel,
And covered me with ashes.
17 You have moved my soul far from peace;
I have forgotten prosperity.
18 And I said, “My strength and my hope
Have perished from the Lord.”

19 Remember my affliction and roaming,
The wormwood and the gall.
20 My soul still remembers
And sinks within me.
21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear
The yoke in his youth.

28 Let him sit alone and keep silent,
Because God has laid it on him;
29 Let him put his mouth in the dust—
There may yet be hope.
30 Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes him,
And be full of reproach.

31 For the Lord will not cast off forever.
32 Though He causes grief,
Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.
33 For He does not afflict willingly,
Nor grieve the children of men.

34 To crush under one’s feet
All the prisoners of the earth,
35 To turn aside the justice due a man
Before the face of the Most High,
36 Or subvert a man in his cause—
The Lord does not approve.

37 Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass,
When the Lord has not commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That woe and well-being proceed?
39 Why should a living man complain,
A man for the punishment of his sins?

40 Let us search out and examine our ways,
And turn back to the Lord;
41 Let us lift our hearts and hands
To God in heaven.
42 We have transgressed and rebelled;
You have not pardoned.

43 You have covered Yourself with anger
And pursued us;
You have slain and not pitied.
44 You have covered Yourself with a cloud,
That prayer should not pass through.
45 You have made us an offscouring and refuse
In the midst of the peoples.

46 All our enemies
Have opened their mouths against us.
47 Fear and a snare have come upon us,
Desolation and destruction.
48 My eyes overflow with rivers of water
For the destruction of the daughter of my people.

49 My eyes flow and do not cease,
Without interruption,
50 Till the Lord from heaven
Looks down and sees.
51 My eyes bring suffering to my soul
Because of all the daughters of my city.

52 My enemies without cause
Hunted me down like a bird.
53 They silenced my life in the pit
And threw stones at me.
54 The waters flowed over my head;
I said, “I am cut off!”

55 I called on Your name, O Lord,
From the lowest pit.
56 You have heard my voice:
“Do not hide Your ear
From my sighing, from my cry for help.”
57 You drew near on the day I called on You,
And said, “Do not fear!”

When we are brought to this place of surrender, the decision that we have to make is not “should we surrender or not?” But will we accept this place that God has brought us to or not? This is the decision that lies within our reach.

More scriptures: Psalm 116:3, Jonah 2


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