Many of us have probably sung or spoken the words "I surrender all to you" at one or more times throughout our walk. For the most part, we are well-meaning, but how many of us have truly considered the weight of what it means to “surrender all”? For many, surrendering to God means being saved (accepting Jesus and rejecting the world), prioritising ministry over personal work, attending church, reading the bible and praying regularly. But could there be more to surrender than we think?
Let’s examine. The word surrender means to give up completely, especially in favour of another- the keywords being “to give up completely”. Now let’s take a moment to reflect, despite all we have done in our walk with God, can we honestly say, we have given ourselves completely to Him?
From time to time, God asks us to do things, and we sometimes struggle to obey not because they are physically challenging, but because they challenge our desires and preferences. If we all be honest, we would favour God asking us to do the things we liked or preferred over the things that we did not. For this reason, we cannot limit our definition of surrender to what we do; instead, we should also consider it as a matter of our heart.
The level of involvement we allow God to have in our lives is a good indicator of our level of surrender. For some of us, we are okay with God’s involvement in the major things in our lives; the things which seem challenging for us, like buying a house, starting a business, or getting a job.
Yet when it comes to the “smaller things”, details like where to live, how to run the business, and where to work, we would rather they remain under our control. Have we ever considered that God is also interested in those details and that for Him, size isn’t synonymous with importance?
Romans chapter 1 verse 20 says “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse”.
Now let us examine some things made by God and see if we can determine a few of His invisible qualities – let’s consider the human body. The human body is a complex system of smaller components such as cells, capillaries, arteries and nerve fibres. Based on the human body’s design, does God seem like a God that doesn't care about the details?
Let’s also consider, if a nerve got damaged, an artery got clogged, a kidney stone developed, what impact would they have on the body? Can we see how small things can indeed create major impact? The same goes for our lives; the fine details, do affect the bigger picture of our lives; hence God is also interested in them.
It is for that reason I believe that “submission isn’t conditional; it is absolute”. Therefore, we are not truly surrendered while still expecting God to meet our desires, preferences, wants, pet-peeves, etc. These are the fine details within our heart that influences who we are in God, what we do before God, and how well we respond to His will.
A key scripture that indicates what absolute surrender is Matthew chapter 16 verse 25. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Many persons interpret this scripture to mean martyrdom, but it speaks to more than just this. For me, it speaks of absolute surrender. The word “to lose” in this scripture comes from the Greek word apollumi which means: to destroy; to put out of the way entirely; to put an end to.
Therefore, absolute surrender requires us to destroy and put out of the way entirely, our idea of self; ideologies, desires, and preferences, all of which are found in our hearts. Note also that the scripture didn’t say “whoever loses some aspects of their life”, but rather “whoever loses their life” on the whole.
Jesus lost His life before He went on the cross, in Luke chapter 22 verses 42-44 we find the ultimate display of surrender: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him”. Can you imagine how much Jesus wrestled with His human desires at that moment? But today we rejoice in His decision to surrender His desires to the will of God.
Paul wrote in Galatians chapter 2 verse 20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”. Did Paul die physically? No, He meant that similar to how Christ denied Himself of His own will and desires and without reservation, took on entirely the will of God; allowing His life and His desires to be determined by the will of God, even onto death, He too has died to himself, and let this nature of Christ to be formed in him (Christ to live in Him).
As we surrender ourselves to God, we create room for God to birth His desires in our hearts, and when these desires become our desires, He will give us the desires of our hearts in accordance with Psalm chapter 37 verse 4. Paul’s greatest desire was to be like Christ and in his life as an Apostle did mighty things for the Lord.
The same can be true for us; in fact, Jesus said concerning us who believe “greater works shall we do because He is gone to the Father (John 14 verse 12). But how will we unlock it? We unlock it as we become more like Jesus, and we do so through absolute surrender.
Kerron P. Young is a Kingdom Empowerment Ambassador, who is passionate about seeing individuals find and walk in their God-ordained purpose. She is a mentor, singer and songwriter, an aspiring book writer, praise and worship leader at her local church and founder of Empowered for Purpose Jamaica an organisation dedicated to empowering youths to pursue their God-ordained purpose.