So here we are — the last of this three-part series. You can access the previous weeks’ posts here. I feel like I’ve saved the best one for last, The Posture of Surrender. When it comes to our relationship with Christ, we know it all begins here with surrender. We come to a place where we can either choose to go our own way or to surrender to the truth. For many, this takes an incredibly long time, and for some of you who have surrendered your lives to Christ, you are still praying for loved ones, friends, and family to have this revelation in their lives. Then for many of us who are Christ-followers, we’ve surrendered parts and pieces of ourselves, but there are, perhaps, little bits we’re still clinging to so very tightly. As you read this post, I am praying for you to release your need to control everything and for you to have an understanding that true freedom only comes from surrender.
What is Surrender?
Surrender = Verb. /səˈrendər/
1. cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.
2. give up or hand over (a person, right, or possession), typically on compulsion or demand.
3. (in a sports contest) lose (a point, game, or advantage).
4. abandon oneself entirely to (a powerful emotion or influence); give in to.
Take note that of the three different postures we’re exploring here, surrender is the only verb. It’s an action word, and it is alive and active. It takes focus and intentionality. Let’s take a moment and unpack this!
First of all, there is incredible joy found in the simple fact that we are, in no way at all, surrendering to “an enemy or opponent.” We are surrendering to the One who created the entire universe and all its contents and then after He made us, He looked at us and thought we were His the best work. Therefore, we can rest in the knowledge that we are surrendering to a Father who sincerely wants to give us His very best! He’s not an enemy. He is our Rescuer!
Secondly, as we surrender, we do “give up or hand over” something (hopefully our hearts), but it’s never under “compulsion or demand.” He doesn’t force us, but He does pursue us with unimaginable love and kindness! Think about how you are a product of His relentless pursuit of you. His story is the ultimate love story, and YOU are His main character!
Third, surrender, from a Kingdom mindset, has nothing to do with losing. Each time we give more of ourselves, we win! Does that excite you as it does me?
Lastly, when we think of our surrender in and to Christ, that fourth definition is on point! We abandon ourselves entirely to Him. From a worldly perspective, this may seem like weakness or defeat, but it is quite the opposite. When we surrender entirely to Him, His strength becomes our own. It takes courage to let go.
Jesus’ Ultimate Example
Jesus is our ultimate example of surrender. I love how Jesus says it in John 10:11-18:
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (ESV)
I could just stop the post here. Jesus lays His life down for us, not like hired help, but like our brother who loves us deeply. Otherwise, He would have just left us to self-destruct. Instead, He chooses death on a cross to prove His love for us, and He doesn’t stop there! He goes on and defeats death, hell, and the grave to rise again as our Savior King. We never have to fear in our surrender to Him, and we can count on Him to always be there for us!
Let’s go back to that open-handed posture we’ve talked about for the last two weeks. With your hands open, completely unclenched, begin to prayerfully consider what it is that you need to let go of.
Life has this tendency to cause us to become jaded, and unforgiveness and bitterness creep in when we least expect it. We hold onto the rejection we’ve felt in our lives like a security blanket. But guess what? Holding onto those things is not the Father’s plan for us! His desire — His heart for us is FREEDOM.
As you prayerfully consider those things you’re holding on to, look at your hands and ask the Holy Spirit to begin to heal you, to redeem you, and to take those things out of your hands that you might not have to carry them anymore. Breathe in the peace and joy of Jesus, and remember that is His ultimate plan for you. It is the Kingdom of Heaven come to earth! We don’t have to wait until that “someday” when we get to heaven because we are recipients of His goodness here on earth. Eternity and abundant life start the day you accept/surrender your heart to Jesus. It is now!
The Hardest Part
I know that surrendering is indeed the hardest part. I’ve had a great deal of personal experience in this area. It’s not a one-time thing. Each day, we must practice this just like gratitude and generosity. It calls for a closeness to the Holy Spirit and a continuous inventory of our lives.
Aren’t you tired of striving all the time? Surrendering doesn’t mean that you necessarily throw in the towel when it comes to a particular issue or with regards to something about which you’re passionate. Surrendering means that you no longer fight alone. The Lord fights for you.
In Exodus 14, the Israelites are crossing the Red Sea after Pharoah “let [God’s] people go.” After the fact, however, Pharoah changes his mind and begins to pursue the people of God, and immediately the people begin their grumbling. Moses says to them in verses 13-14:
…“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (ESV)
We know how the story turns out. God does the impossible. He parts the Red Sea and the Israelites cross through on dry ground. As the Israelites pass through, the waters overtake the Egyptians, and they are wiped out. God’s people are free.
Each week, I’ve ended by giving you a choice. Today is no different. You can keep those fists clenched and hold on for dear life, or you can open your hands and hearts and feel the tension release from your body, mind, and spirit. It will not always be easy to keep this practice up, but it is so worth it. If you want to have a healthy family, marriage, church, or ministry, the first person that needs to be healthy is you, so I encourage you to begin your day praying with your hands open and to remember the three postures we’ve talked about. Notice the freedom you begin to experience. Rest in the newfound joy in your life, and then go out and win your world for Jesus!
For more information on the three postures talked about in this series, please visit Danielle Strickland’s website. There is a group called Infinitum Life you can become a part of to help you stay accountable.