In this episode Saso and Ben talk about biblical surrender for unbelievers and believers.
Below are some notes and thoughts directly derived from this episode. Enjoy!
The topic for this episode of the Abundant Life podcast is surrender. Surrender is an interesting concept. In fact, if we are to look up the definition of surrender, the Mariam-Webster dictionary, it would read: “to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand.” This word typically surfaces when speaking of war because the purpose of war is for one of the two parties to surrender power. That said, surrender almost has a negative connotation to it. But we are going to investigate this to find out why it’s so important.
The concept of surrender is interesting because it effects both believers and unbelievers. The person in which we are to surrender to is God and the motive for which we are to surrender is the same in both instances. For the unbeliever, it’s literally a matter of life or death where as for the believer it’s a matter of obedience.
For the unbeliever, someone who has not received Christ as Lord and Savior, is doomed for eternal death because they have inherited this sin nature from the beginning when Adam fell in the garden of Eden. Therefore as Jesus plainly puts it, He didn’t come to condemn us, we are condemned already. An unbeliever is to surrender their life of sin and death to Jesus who gives life through His sacrifice, His death burial and resurrection which is the gospel. In Luke 5:32 Jesus says that He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
A little over 16 years ago, I had the privilege of surrendering my life to Jesus. I’d come to a point in my life where I’d lost my job, and was in great financial difficulty. I was what some people would call at ends wit or at the bottom of the barrel. Life was very difficult for me and our family during that time. When you are at the bottom of the barrel sometimes the only way to look is up. I was at a point where I was ready to surrender. Then along came a dear friend who showed me that Jesus was a real person who loved me and God the Father had sacrificed His son Jesus on the cross and through His death, burial and resurrection, I could be saved and receive eternal life. I just had to receive this gift by believing in faith that Jesus had taken my punishment for my sin on the cross and is now resurrected and seated at the right hand of God. So my friend asked if I’d like to receive Jesus and I said yes. Romans 10:13 says “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” and thats what I did in March of 2006.Ben’s testimony of surrender
Again that was what surrender looks like from an unbelievers standpoint. But what does this look like for the believer? According to Romans 12 we are to surrender our lives in humility to Christ as an act of worship. But what does this look like.
Where did surrender start here on earth?
He was born to die to fulfill the will of God, surrendered always to the Father’s will. Can you imagine the King of Kings being born in a manger?
Naaman wouldn’t even dip in the Jordan for healing because the Jordan was considered dirty.
Christian, what do you struggle with surrendering to?
Saso gives example of a motel stay in California that was less than desireable.
What was the example of surrender?
We often pray for our own will to be done in our own life but we rarely consider what He wants? We want God to surrender to our will for our lives instead of surrendering to His will.
Example: Praying amiss
We often pray this way asking for our own things instead of the things He would desire of us.
Jesus was our greatest example of humility, obedience and surrender. The great mystery is why did he hung on the tree for our sin? He didn’t do it because we are good, or because we deserve it. He did it because He is sovereign and He loves us.
Just pause and think about that one. His motive was love. If we are to surrender to God, our motive ought to be love and thankfulness for what Jesus has done for us.
A little over a year ago I was experiencing some heavy trials in my life. Sometimes when you are in the trial, you don’t quite know what the purpose is and in some instances you may not find out till you get to heaven. Well, I figured out why God was trying to get my attention. I was living life in my own strength. I was not in the Spirit, it was what I would call a dry season, I wasn’t in the scriptures like I should have been, not communing with God which meant I also wasn’t fellowshipping with God. Later in the year, I realized I just needed to surrender. I needed to surrender my own efforts, I needed to surrender my mind and my heart to God. I needed to bring my burdens and lay them at the foot of the cross. I. Needed to humble myself and acknowledge that I couldn’t fix these things in my life and I desperately needed God.Ben’s testimony of recent surrender
God doesn’t just want part of us, or just one area of life. No, He wants our entire being. This includes your home life, social life, work life, business life, hobby life, recreational life, financial life , thoughts, actions, behaviors, burdens, every facet of life.
Surrender is one of the most difficult things because of pride. We want things our way. It’s the old slogan from Burger King, “Have it your way”. This especially true of men, because we like to fix things ourselves. To put it frankly, God don’t need our help.
Here is what Jesus teaches us.
We must deny ourselves, our wants, our desires, our dreams and follow Jesus. Not an easy call. And this can’t just be a physical activity of going through the motions, we must do this with our heart, mind, and soul.
II Kings 5:1-14
Naaman was given a death sentence when he was diagnosed with leprosy. A maid knew of a prophet in Samaria who would be able to help Naaman. Naaman pulled up in his chariot and came to the prophet Elisha’s house. Naaman expected Elisha to come out and basically have an elaborate prayer ritual with healing. However, he did not expect to be greeted by a servant and commanded wash in the Jordan (Jesus was baptized in these waters). He did end up dipping in the waters of the Jordan, but he initially did not want to surrender his will.
One of Naaman’s servants came over to speak some sense into him because of his prideful will, then he surrendered to what Elisha had told him to do. He surrendered his will and dipped as the man of God had told him and his flesh which was leprous, was clean as that of a little child. He would have never become whole if he did not surrender his will.
What holds us back to full surrender to God?
Pride in our life?
What pride are you dealing with?
The opinion of others more than the opinion of God?
We often cannot surrender because we hold onto our own way and our own desires. Naaman was holding on to his pride and did not want to surrender to the waters of the Jordan. He almost died because he did not want to humble himself. Some Christians never grow because they cannot take admonishment and pruning from the Father. We often want relief in the trials instead of drawing near to the Father.
Saso shares story of camp pact with friends.
What would have kept Naaman from receiving healing?
I Peter 5:5
Surrender requires humility and we must see ourselves as God sees us and not as we see ourselves often in comparison with others. Surrender is the surrender of pride of giving up all that you are, and succumbing to all that is Him. We often want to chant our own goodness when there is nothing good in us.
Saso shares story of camp on Wednesday dealing with humility.
A major component of surrender is humility.
Remember David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and then murdered Uriah and Nathan the prophet called out David in his sin. But in Psalm 51 David openly repents and seeks restoration. The humbling thing is that it’s a Psalm which means people were sining this song about David and his sin and repentant heart.
When you get to a place of humility surrender is just around the corner.
But what is the proof of surrender?
What a sacrifice we have here in the God of the universe who was willing to send His Son. He was not worried about what the world would think. He was willing to be ridiculed. He was fully surrendered (obedient), so much so, that He carried out the Father’s will all the way to His death.
Where do you need surrender today?
In what areas do you need to surrender?
Are you a vessel that is empty and waiting to be filled with and by the Master?
Consider your ways Christian!
Sometimes we think of humility as being weak. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Humility is the soil that God uses to bear fruit in your life.
Do you want to grow as a Christian? Then deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus.
Surrender my friend.