“I give up. I’m done. I quit. It’s over. I surrender. I’m not doing this anymore!” These are some of the most powerful words in the Christian vocabulary. Unfortunately, they’re seldom spoken accept in reference to an assignment. The idea of a life absolutely surrendered to God is foreign to us in our culture of achievement, prosperity, and recognition. We attach so much of our self worth to “making it” that we can’t conceive that God might have a better plan for us.
Here’s what I mean. We find out that there is a God who’s crazy about us. We ask Jesus to be our savior. We then put Him in our pocket with the rest of our possessions and let Him be a part of our lives as long as He doesn’t interrupt our lifestyle or standard of living. Sure He’s important to us, even vital, but he’s still just a part of the picture. He’s not the whole thing. Instead of stuffing Him into our pocket, we should be asking Him to stuff us into His.
I’ve had the honor of knowing people who have found the freedom of a life of absolute surrender. They completely wrap their lives around God, regardless of the cost. And you know what? I’ve noticed a few things.
1. They seem to be an effortless blessing to others. It’s never a strain or a struggle to bless people. All they have already belongs to God so when He asks them to give it, there’s no debate.
2. They have nothing to prove. They don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. Status is unimportant. “Standard of living” isn’t even in their vocabulary. They’re bond servants and they’re OK with that because one day they’ll hear “well done.”
3. There is a joy and peace that seems to radiate from them. Think about it, if you’ve surrendered it all, then there’s nothing to lose. If Christ owns it all, then He can worry about it. If you’ve given your dreams to Him, then he’ll help fulfill them, or give you an even better one. That’s the kind of peace I want!
4. There’s a simplicity about them that makes you want what they have. In a world of hurry-sickness and spread-too-thin-itis, simplicity is good medicine.
In Matthew chapter 16 Jesus says, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?“
A life of absolute surrender is life abundant. It’s life the way God meant for you to live it. It requires laying down what we want from time to time. It requires giving at an (initially) uncomfortable level. It requires giving God permission to mess up your plans and change you. It’s not easy and it’s a challenging process. However, if we’re going to be used by God to make a difference in the world, we have to go there.
One thing I know for sure: people who give up what they want and surrender all they are and have to Jesus will have some incredible stories to tell. When their lives draw to an end and it’s time to reflect on it all, you’ll never hear them say, “I wish I would have…”