Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I Surrender All

And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Luke 9:23

I’ve been studying what it means to surrender. As Christians, we are called to surrender to God’s will – to die to ourselves and to live for Christ and fulfill His purposes for us. We may not know what those purposes are, and we often do not see the “big picture” until God reveals it to us; but regardless, we are called to live in submission to Him, in every part of our lives.

This sounds agreeable enough when read, said, or even typed. Of course I want to submit to God; of course I want to surrender myself to the Creator of the Universe who paid the price for my sin and made it possible for me to be reconciled to Him, and to be able to approach the throne of grace. Yes, I surrender!

But do I???

Do I let God have His way, or do I repeatedly get mine?

Do I try to fix things myself, or do I rely wholly on His work in my life?

While singing a similar song in church last week, I was watching the sign language interpreters. “I surrender all to you” is the chorus. At the word surrender, their arms flew up over their heads as if to open their whole bodies up to God’s use, or to take their hands “off the wheel.” Am I willing to open up my whole self, to take my hands off the wheel, to let God use me, change me, mold me and make me?

Or do I only “partly” surrender?

There’s an old story about how we, as sinful humans, should really change the words to some of the hymns we sing. This hymn is often a target. It would be more accurate for the words to be “I surrender some.” I know I am guilty of this as much as anyone, probably more so. I should sing “I surrender some.” Maybe not even some. Maybe it would be more accurate for me to sing “I surrender what’s easy to surrender.”

Surrender my desire to listen to un-edifying rock music? No problem. Surrender my desire to eat candy? Harder. Surrender my desire to nag and belittle? Harder yet. Surrender my desire to be in control? Hardest.

We are called to give all of ourselves. To surrender every part: not only our physical bodies for God’s use, but our attitudes, habits, desires, long term plans, hopes and dreams. This is what it means to present ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Romans 12:1 NASB

I like this translation: we give ourselves to God because of all He has done for us.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Romans 12:1 NLT

As the King James version translates, this sacrifice is our reasonable service.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1 KJV

It’s reasonable service to the Sovereign God who knows what’s best for us and who saved us through the blood of His son. As Isaac Watts so eloquently wrote,

Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

Dear Father, I pray that I would live my life in submission to Your will. I pray that I would willingly surrender my desires for Yours. Show me Your way and Your will and bend my heart to match Yours. Show me where I have not been willing to surrender, and give me grace to trust You more. Amen.

I Surrender All
Words by Judson W. Van DeVenter

All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

Refrain
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

1 comment:

Helena said...

What a beautiful and touching post. I read it yesterday and it stayed on my mind much of today. I taught Hannah the chorus tonight before bed and she was signing along by the second time. It was very sweet. Thanks for putting it on my heart. It also reminded me to pull out what might be my favorite CD ever, "Alone in His Presence" by CC Winnans. She sings this on it and it is so beautiful. So I put it on tonight as I cleaned the kitchen and it was a blessing. Hope you are having a restful night.