Wendy Anne Clark © 2009
“Conversion is a complete surrender to Jesus.
It’s a willingness to do what he wants you to do.”
This I am absolutely convinced of: all of the Christian life can be summed up with one word—surrender.
When we first decide to follow Jesus, the primary question is one of surrender. Even as a young child, I understood that following Jesus meant accepting his death for my sins and living my life in a way that would please him. The older we are when we make that decision, the more clear the need to surrender becomes.
Some years back, I met with a young woman who said she had a lot of questions about what it means to follow Jesus. She was very intelligent and highly educated, and on the surface at least, her questions seemed serious and worth exploring. We met together several times, but eventually God pointed out something to me that I had been missing: I was never going to be able to answer all of her questions to her satisfaction, and at some point, she was going to have to make the choice to surrender her doubts and believe.
Sometimes the thing that stands between a person and that initial decision to follow after Jesus is the unwillingness to admit the need for a savior, to surrender provision of salvation to someone else—Jesus Christ. I’ve had many discussions with professed Atheists, where they argue against the idea that they could never be good enough to earn their own way into heaven. They resent the idea of surrendering their salvation to Jesus Christ. They would like to provide for their own salvation, Thank you very much!
Once we choose to believe and choose to follow, surrender becomes a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute exercise. How do I surrender time, money, possessions, dreams, even people that I love? How do I surrender everything to Jesus and to the Glory of God’s Kingdom? Some believers struggle with surrendering anger or bitterness against others in their lives. Some hold on tight to certain activities or even people, they know God wants them to surrender. Our free will does not stop the day we choose to follow Jesus, and God will allow us to refuse to surrender any number of things to him. This refusal, works to our detriment, however. Many believers have wasted whole lifetimes while working hard to hold things back out of God’s reach.
What if we are willing to choose differently? What if we are willing to choose surrender?
Consider the lives of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: Daniel 3:28-28 “Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.’”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to surrender their very lives and in surrendering, they were able to persuade a wicked king and so bring glory to God.
Daniel 4: 1-3 “King Nebuchadnezzar, To the peoples, nations and men of every language, who live in all the world: May you prosper greatly! It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.”
Learning to surrender is a process, and we will each struggle in different areas of our lives, but if we can keep letting go of more things, of more parts of our lives, and handing them over to God’s control, imagine what different people we can become. Imagine what God could do through people who really surrender to him.