Surrender. Just the word alone sounds defeating. It’s not a much cherished word in our vocabulary. In fact, it’s a word that rarely passes through our lips. When it is spoken – it is done so with disgust and contempt. How did one word in the English language become so hated?
Ancient history reminds us of how those who surrendered were often taken prisoner, displaced, and paraded as trophies of defeat. Rome often turned those who surrendered into slaves. Admittedly, when you think of surrender in those terms – the word has earned some ill will. Who wants to be associated with a word that robs one of their dignities and classifies you as a loser?
So maybe that’s where the push back comes from when we throw the word around among followers of Jesus. When the word “surrender” is mentioned the response is often, “Crickets, Crickets, Crickets”. This emotionally charged response to one word is unfortunate. As much as we avoid that hated word – it actually is the key to our success. Didn’t see that coming did you? How can “surrender” and “success” be hitched together? What if I told you that we have surrender all wrong? No, I’m not going to rewrite the travesties of history – but I do want to redefine our understanding of “surrender”.
We have “surrender” all wrong when it comes to our relationship with Jesus. Surrender on God’s terms is not humiliation or defeat or loss of identity. When Jesus asks for our surrender he is offering us he has something in store for us that is completely foreign to our concept of the word.
Surrender to Jesus is giving up on a failed strategy. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy – what we’re doing in life is not working but we insist on continuing down that path. We hate to admit when our behavior or choices are counter-productive or even destructive. When Jesus asks for our surrender – he’s asking us to give up on a failed way of living. When we define surrender in those terms – it’s not something to run from but something to run to.
Surrender to Jesus also means surrendering to a better way of living. Too often we picture our “surrender” to Jesus in terms of what we have to give up. But surrendering to Jesus is not about giving up – it’s about gaining! When we surrender we gain strength we would never have access to otherwise. No journey is trouble free – so we need Jesus to strengthen us along the way – that’s accomplished through our surrender. There are so many other things gained by our surrender to Jesus – His wisdom, His watch care, His provision and the list goes on and on. So the next time you’re hit with the word “surrender” step to the front of the line and sign up for a life journey that exceeds all your expectations.