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What is surrender? According to Merriam Webster surrender can mean 1) to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand or 2) to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another.
When we talk about surrendering to God, it’s often in terms of giving something over to Him such as a specific sin; usually, something thing that we may have struggled with for a long time. This may happen during a church service as the pastor or speaker makes a general alter call for the congregation to surrender something that has been holding them back.
So you go up to the altar, and you tell God you don’t want to struggle anymore. You tell Him you trust Him to deal with whatever it is you’re struggling with and you’re going to do your part not to stumble again.
But if you’re honest, when you walk away, you’re not even sure HOW you’re not going to stumble again. You’ve tried so many times and failed. It’s not that you think that God can’t do it, it’s that you think that YOU are going to mess up again. And so goes the cycle, you surrender, you mess up and you surrender again.
I know because I was trapped in that cycle, exhausting myself to the
point where I felt I would never overcome this particular stumbling block. I thought something was wrong with me because I couldn’t get it right. I felt like I was a bad Christian because I couldn’t apply the rules I was taught.
There are several reasons why we hesitate to surrender.
- We don’t know what it means
- We’re not sure we can give up control
- The word surrender suggests giving up your rights and allowing someone else to be in control
But what does the anatomy of a surrendered heart look like? A surrendered heart:
- Recognizes its current state. It understands that it needs fixing and God is the only One who can fix it. The owner of the heart understands that they cannot fix it themselves.
- Is not afraid to be exposed. A surrendered heart is not afraid to be exposed for what it truly is… deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9-10). You can be honest with God about the state of your heart because He will not reject you.
- Submits Completely to God’s unconditional love. A surrendered heart understands that even though it is desperately wicked, it is what God wants. God’s love is unconditional. His love covers a multitude of sins and He will not withdraw it from us because we are flawed.
- Trusts that God with complete His work. There is no change we can make without the Holy Spirit. A surrendered heart trusts Him when He says He started the good work and He will complete it.
When you understand the state of your heart, expose it to God for what it truly is, submit it to His unconditional love, and trust that He will make the change in you, you have surrendered. You can give up control because know that there is nothing He will ever do to cause you harm.
Prayer: Father, there are areas of my life that I need to surrender to you. Even though I recognize there are areas of my heart that are dark and desperately wicked, I know that I can be honest about it with You because you love me. Help me to submit my heart completely to your love and trust that allow You to complete the work you started in me.
Deborah Ruck @ As Bold As THE Lion blog