The 1985 film “No Retreat, No Surrender” has given us a good motivational catchphrase. While this may be good advice in some contexts, it may also be misleading – especially to Christians seeking a deeper walk with God. The Christian must first learn to surrender (to God) before he can learn to conquer the wiles of the enemy.
The best way to surrender is to start by surrendering your life to God. If Christ is not Lord of all, then he is not Lord at all. Give him your life and demonstrate it by leaving according to his word/ instructions.
Once you surrender your life to Christ, you will be ready to start the journey of a surrendered life. A surrendered life is fully yielded to God’s will and instructions. Apart from surrendering your life, there are other two areas that you need to surrender – your worries and your wealth. Let’s take a close look at each of these areas of surrender.
Surrender your life
Before you think of surrendering anything else, you need to start by surrounding your life with God. Depending on your background, this could either be a walk in the park or a tall order. If you are raised to be self-reliant, you may struggle with the notion of surrendering your life to God – but it is the only way to start on a journey of faith.
Jesus began his earthly ministry by calling the 12 disciples who were to abandon everything else they were doing and focus on teh ministry (Mathew 10:1). Peter and John had to surrender their fishing jobs, Mathew his tax collection, etc. And this pattern did not end with the 12 apostles – God is still calling us to a life of total surrender. In the words of Jesus;
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Mark 16:24
The Christian life is a life of surrender – and it begins with surrendering your life to God. Granted, God may not require you to abandon your work but you have to surrender your life to Him by giving your life to Jesus and starting to live “worthy of the calling.”
Surrender your worry
We were all born worry-free. But as we grow up, the pursuits and concerns of life start to burden our days with all kinds of worries. In one of his most famous Sermons, Jesus addressed this by reminding us of the futility of worry.
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself Mathew 6:27
See, worrying doesn’t solve any problem. On the contrary, it makes the problem worse by amplifying it and making it appear larger than it actually is. This is why Jesus recommended not to worry about tomorrow and instead to let tomorrow worry about itself.
Apostle Paul also admonishes us not to worry but to instead surrender all our worries to God through prayer.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Worry (or anxiety) can lead to all kinds of mental illnesses. So, instead of allowing worry to take root, take the advice of Paul and surrender all your worries to God. And in case you are wondering if God wants to be bothered by your problems, Here is what Apostle said;
casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. (1 Pet. 5:7, AMP)
Surrender your wealth
Money has a strong hold over most people. Scripture even says that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10). This is why it is a good idea to surrender your wealth to God. In fact, God expects his followers to do so to ensure their hearts are in the right place. As Jesus taught, where your treasure is, there your heart will also be (Luke 12:34 ).
In the book of Mark 10, we see the story of a rich young ruler who was evidently doing good for himself. He had attained his goals of financial and political power but he kept sensing something was amiss – he lacked spiritual power. So he approaches Jesus and asks how he can enter the kingdom of heaven. When Jesus asked him to sell all his possessing and give the proceeds to the poor, the young ruler was not amused and so he walked away. And that is the last we heard of him.
Jesus knew the greatest challenge the young ruler had was his attachment to his wealth. And so he gave him a test of surrendering his wealth. When the young man failed the test, Jesus said the following;
Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! Mark 10:24
Until you surrender your money to God, you are not yet ready for the kingdom of heaven. Because as Jesus taught, you cannot serve both God and Money. One of the easy ways of surrendering your money to God is by being a generous giver (e.g. in offerings, alms, tithes, etc). Contrary to common belief, the primary purpose of giving is not getting blessed – it is a way of relinquishing your wealth to God. And by so doing, you will be breaking the hold of money over your life and then you can lead a truly surrendered life.
To sum it up, leading a life of surrender starts with surrendering your life to Christ. This means accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The next step after surrendering your life is living in accordance with God’s word – and there are two important points of surrender that are highlighted for the converted. First, surrender any worry you may have to him, and second, surrender your wealth to God. When you do this, you will enjoy the freedom of God and enjoy the other benefits of a life that is surrendered to God.