And He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
We meet on the pages of Scripture again today as we continue on our journey from brokenness to blessing. Today’s stop: Surrender. There’s a visual that comes to mind when I think of the word “surrender”. Although possibly viewed as weakness in battle, the waving of the white flag symbolizes surrender and something beautiful all at the same time. It’s an end to the fight. It’s the end of striving. As I think about what surrender looks like in my relationship with God, I can’t help but see it as beautiful. It’s the relinquishing of control to the One who controls all things and orders them perfectly. It’s the releasing of a great and heavy burden and receiving a lighter weight in its place. It’s to cease wrestling with the Lord and to allow Him to lead and guide instead. Surrender simply put is God in His place and me in mine. There’s no greater picture of beauty in our relationship with Christ then when we lay down our pride and in humility surrender all to Him. The beauty of surrender is a choice that you and I can make today to offer God every last piece of our brokenness. Surrender is recognizing that God doesn’t need us. Rather, He wants us. His desire is for us to offer all that we are to Him.
If we are to come after the Lord, if we are to passionately pursue Him to become women who are found on our knees, surrender is essential. Surrender is necessary. How do I know this? Because the very words of Jesus Himself in Luke 9:23 command it. In order to press on to know the Lord, a surrender of self is required. It’s the laying down of our will to His. It’s the denying of self and its wants in order to embrace Him and His calling. What is more beautiful that a life that is fully and completely surrendered to Jesus Christ, ready and willing to go and do whatever it might be that He asks? There is great beauty displayed in a heart of surrender to the Lord. It is a lasting beauty that graces the face of the one who raises the white flag and chooses to cease striving. Surrender says, “Although I don’t always understand your ways, Lord, I know that they are far better than mine.”
For it is when we choose to surrender that God is freed to make much of our brokenness, to make beauty from our ashes. You see, God doesn’t use what we bring to the table. He uses what we surrender to him. There’s not a soul on this earth that can offer God anything that He needs. He is complete and sufficient in Himself. It is our obedience to surrender that He takes great delight in, and when we open up our tightly clenched fist to Him, offering all that we have to Him and for His purposes, He looks at us in love and says, “Finally, my child, an offering that pleases me.”
This past year alone has afforded me multiple opportunities to surrender to the Lord. Like many of you, surrender is difficult for me. It’s a hard obedience. What I learned through the fight, though has changed me forever. It is much more difficult and exhausting to keep fighting the Lord than it is to surrender to Him. Surrender brings rest. Although the process of loosening my grip on everything that I cling to can be frightening and painful, the final release of it all brings such freedom! More than anything else, I know that I want to follow Jesus Christ with all that I am, and I know that I can’t do that fully without surrender. So, today, in this moment, amidst this trial, in the face of this pain, I choose surrender.
1. Journal a prayer to the Lord, committing one area of your life to complete surrender to Him.
2. What is one way that you can deny yourself today and instead surrender to what it is that God is calling you to do? At home? At work? In your marriage or in your family?
3. Reflect on God’s faithfulness. List the times you’ve experienced God take what you’ve surrendered to Him and turn it into something beautiful.