Key Scripture to have in mind as you read this post
Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”
We love to hear that God has an amazing plan for our life. We love to hear that there is a perfect will and that He has good things planned for us. It brings comfort, joy and peace. Jeremiah 29:11 might just rival John 3:16 as the most often quoted scripture.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
What often is misunderstood in the consumeristic mindset, that we all too easily fall into, is that all this good from God will just fall into my lap and I can just keep doing whatever I want to do with my life, my time, my money, my energy and everything else that belongs to me. That could not be further from the truth.
Here is the truth: God desires abundant life for you and has an amazing plan for you, but that can only happen when we choose to surrender our life, the life that He gave us, back to Him. We surrender, so that we can fulfill all that He would have us do on the earth. We surrender, because He knows what is best for us, which is much better than what we think. Scripture says that His ways are higher than ours and His thoughts higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). We surrender, because He wants to use us to bring glory to His name.
The beautiful part about surrendering everything to Jesus is that it starts with choosing to love Him with everything we have – all of our heart, mind, and soul. This really messed with the religious folks of Jesus’ day because they were so used to everything starting and ending with doing “works,” and now Jesus messes up all their theology by saying no it starts with loving God with everything. Of course then it didn’t stop there; He then called them to work by loving their neighbor as themselves. Loving your neighbor as yourself requires surrender, because it requires unselfish service to others without expectation of anything in return.
When Jesus calls us to surrender, He isn’t kidding around about wanting us to surrender all to Him. I find it helpful to remember that He paid a price greater than anything I could ever pay so that I could be in relationship with God. Check out the scripture below:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Contextually this scripture specifically addresses sexual sin, but I also believe that there is a broader interpretation that also address the reality that because our creator came in the form of a man, died, and rose from the grave our lives are meant to be used for His glory, and we should not take this lightly. That means there maybe things we are doing (or not doing), saying, watching, and using our time toward that we need to change. It might mean that it is time refocus on spending more time with Jesus and putting energy towards things that are pleasing to Him.
I might be meddling a little bit too much as I write this, but it also means that I might just need to reduce my time on or get off social media all together for a season, cut down how much entertainment I am taking in, etc. I tend to think often times we are more than aware of the things in our lives that are keeping us from fully surrendering to the Lord. However, I also think there are times where we need to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal things that we need to surrender to the Lord. Sometimes it is just the way we schedule our day, sometimes it is the words we use, and sometimes its big things like our career because Jesus cares about every aspect of our lives.
Keep in mind that God works things for the good of those that love Him.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Finally, we must remember we need to take up our cross and surrender everything to God, because that is what it looks like to follow Jesus. We are called to deny ourselves and follow him. In doing this we gain everything. Check out the scripture below:
Matthew 16:24-16 (ESV)
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
You might ask why? Well, Jesus has already done exactly this. While on earth He told those around Him that He only did what His Father in Heaven told him to do. Ultimately, He surrendered it all and denied Himself when He took a lashing from whipping post and took a literal cross and died and rose so that we could all experience relationship with God, live an abundant life, and see all the plans He has for us fulfilled before our eyes.
Life Application Questions
How do I surrender to the Lord?
You surrender by telling the Lord that you want His will for your life over your own and repent (apologize) for putting yourself first instead of God first in the past. Then by allowing God into your life you begin to walk this out. If you invite the Holy Spirit to help you He will.
You can pray in your own words or just pray this prayer:
Jesus today I choose to surrender my whole life to your will. I want to be Your servant and to follow You wherever You may lead me. I am sorry for the times in the past where I have not put You first. I ask Lord that You would give me grace going forward to put Your first in my life. Not my will but Your will be done. In Jesus Name, Amen
On the daily, what does this Look like?
I’ve found one of the best ways to keep my life surrender to the Lord is that I make sure and tell the Lord every day in the morning when I wake up that my life is His and that I surrender all to Him today.
Today ask the Lord to reveal to you areas and things in your life that you need to surrender to the Lord. After praying this for a while what do you believe the Holy Spirit has revealed to you? Write it down in your journal and share with a spiritual leader in your life.