F.B. Meyer, preaching in Keswick, England, in 1904, used this vivid illustration to describe his own moment of surrender to Christ:
“I remember so well when He came to my heart and challenged me as to the keys of the fortress.. . . Before I gave them to Him, I put one small key in my pocket. Have you not done that, and handed to Him the bunch minus that key? He gave it back and said He could not be King at all if He could not be King of everything. I put my hand in my pocket where I had hidden it, and said, ‘I cannot give it, but You may take it,’ and He took that tiny key.
He looked at me with those eyes which are as a flame of fire, and said, ‘Are all the keys there?’ I said, ‘All but this, and I cannot give it; but I am willing for Thee to take it’ and He took it at that. Then they were all His.”
Jesus must have all the keys of our heart – nothing held back. He must be at the centre of our purpose and desire in life. (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 11/6/03)
As humans, we tend to have an issue with surrender. The problem is control. We always want to be in control, we always want to be able to know what is going to happen. Many times, in life, we hold back in life, that little bit from God, we give him 99 % but hold on to that 1 %. Often this is caused by fear, but it is also caused by our nature of wanting to be in control, the need to have our fingers on the button at all times.
This issue of control moves into the arena of worship as well. There are many instances where we hold back on worship, either in our giving, our prayer life, our time or even of ourselves. The reason for this, is that we still want to be able to have control, we fear totally giving it to God. What happens if God doesn’t come through? What happens if God says no? Then I must have an alternative plan, and so i need to keep myself in the picture.
Luke 9:23 (NKJV)
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Surrender is a word synonymous in the battlefield and in a war situation, it’s a military term. It means to give up or hand over your rights possessions or power to someone in authority. It also means to submit to someone of authority.
Jesus speaks about denying self in order to follow Christ. In the Hebrew to deny means to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests. This is interesting, because what Jesus is in essence saying, is that in order to follow him, there needs to be total surrender. The kingdom of God, if you didn’t know – is about God, and no one else, there is no room for self-praise, self-worship, and selfish desires.
The idea that we can give God a portion of our lives and do what we feel like with the rest, is unscriptural. The God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, is a God who requires 100% of our lives.
I hear many people talk about how they love God, about how they cannot live without God, and whoever you ask these days as to whether they are saved and children of God they always answer a “yes”. Many times we can portray that life of a Christian, one who is totally surrendered to God, but when the rubber meets the road when you are all alone, when there is no one around you to impress, when its just you and your flesh – is it the same as when you are in the company of other believers.
In Matthew 19, Jesus talks to the rich young ruler, who thought he was on his way to heaven, because he was obedient to the law. But Jesus shatters his mindset by telling him to sell all he has, give to the poor and come follow him. The problem, with this young man’s thinking was that, he can still satisfy self with the pleasures of the world and make heaven his home.
This seems to be the ideology of the world in which we live in. I can do as I please, I can still join friends at the tavern, I can party at clubs, I can take drugs and alcohol, I can be intimate with someone I am not married to, I can go clubbing on a Saturday night and come raise my hands in church on a Sunday, and still get to heaven. WHY?
Because I go to church, because I don’t, lie, I don’t steal, I honor my parents, or maybe its because you said a prayer of repentance at some time in your life. So this gives you the right to do as you please, because someone told you that your salvation is guaranteed. The reality is that if you are not living a surrendered life, a life of self-denial, and if you die in your sins, you cannot make heaven your home.
John 1:12-13 (NKJV)
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Scripture tells us, that to those who received him, he has given them the right to become children of God. But it goes on further in vs 13 and tells us, that these who become children of God, were not born of blood or the will of the flesh (our own desires) but of God. When we are born of God, when we are truly born again as Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:3, it will no longer be about the flesh, it will be about God, and we will be able to fully surrender to God.
Only by desertion can we be defeated. With Christ and for Christ, victory is certain. We can lose the victory by flight but not by death. Happy are you if you die in battle, for after death you will be crowned. But woe to you if by forsaking the battle you forfeit at once both the victory and the crown. (Bernard of Clairvaux)
James 1:22 (GW)
22 Do what God’s word says. Don’t merely listen to it, or you will fool yourselves.
2.Raising your white flag
The white flag when raised is a symbol of surrender, it’s a symbol that you are submitting to someone more powerful. In a battle when the white flag is raised it means that you cannot be attacked neither can you attack.
The life of a child of God, should be a consecrated one, one of total surrender. Jesus tells us that we should take up our cross daily. You see, the issue of surrender is not a once off thing that we do once and that’s the end of it. That is why Jesus says, to deny yourself daily, because temptation will come, the flesh will want to be pleased, the flesh will want to be satisfied.
The world will always have something that appeals to you, that seeks your attention, that seeks to pull you away from the presence of God. And Jesus knows that, and that is why he has warned us and gives us instruction to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily.
We face battles daily, we go through life’s situations daily, we are tempted daily, through all of those we need to surrender to God.
Maybe today you are going through one of the following battles:
- Financial difficulties
- Marriage in crisis
- Family/children in chaos
- Sickness or disease
Have you considered this day, to surrender to God, have you considered raising your white flag. You see when you raise that flag – when you surrender your finances, your marriage, your family, your need for a job, your need physical healing – to God, you allow him to be God, you allow him to be Lord and king over your life.
When you raise the white flag in surrender to God, what you are telling God, is Lord, you do as you please, and remember when the white flag is raised no harm can come before you. Life might be challenging, but God will keep you under his wings. God promises us in his word:
Psalm 91:1-2 (GW)
Whoever lives under the shelter of the Most High
will remain in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord,
“You are my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”
The promise of God is that if we surrender to him, if we make him our shelter no harm shall come near us. Psalm 91 gives us assurance that no plague shall come near your home, you do not need to fear. He will protect you, all of this can happen if we surrender our lives to God, if we make the Lord our God our most High.
David understood this, that even through the darkest moments of his life he did not need to fear, because God was with him (Psalm 23), all because he decided to surrender his life to God.
When we raise the white flag in surrender to Jesus, what we are declaring to the devil, is that he now has to deal with my God, he now has to deal with the one who defeated him on the cross, he now has to face the one who is the King of kings, the only Living God, because there his victory in the name of Jesus, there is healing and deliverance in the name of Jesus.
Raising the white flag means I cannot fight any more, but there is one, who will fight for me. Raising the white flag means I surrender to someone more powerful, someone in whom I do not need to fear, in whom all my tomorrows are secure.
Galatians 2:20 (GW)
20 I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live I live by believing in God’s Son, who loved me and took the punishment for my sins.
Proverbs 23:26 (GW)
give me your heart.
Let your eyes find happiness in my ways.
You see friends, God wants your heart, he wants its all, and unless we surrender all to him, unless we allow God to be fully God in our lives, we will never be able to enjoy eternal happiness. A joy that does not fade, a joy that is everlasting, mercies that are new every morning. It all comes with allowing our lives to be surrendered 100% to God.
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