by Sis. Erica Estes
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
A mother once overheard her little boy singing “I Surrender All” while he was quietly playing by himself. Then she heard him mutter, “...everything except my baby bunny.” You and I think that is humorous because we know that a child would not have to give up his toys or pets to be able to “surrender all”...would He? What exactly does surrendering all look like? We've often heard the phrase “lay your all on the altar”! And we certainly want to do that; but what does it really mean?
You see, surrender to God is much more than giving up toys or bunnies, but is an act of yielding our very will, to His. We find this idea of surrender all throughout scripture. Romans 12:1 instructs us to “present your bodies a living sacrifice to God which is your reasonable service.” In other words, we lay down our life to follow Christ. True Biblical surrender is this: giving up our rights, and taking on responsibilities.
I find this to be an overlooked concept in the lives of many young mothers today. “God's will” and “God's plan” must be so much more than doing laundry and training children in table manners, am I right?
But I contest, if that is where you are in life, then that is absolutely God's will and God's perfect plan for you right now.
It is His will that you surrender to the call of “wife” and “mother” and gladly give yourself to this calling and position. And yes, that even includes laundry!
Colossians reminds us, “ye are not your own”! He created us; therefore, we belong to Him and He has dominion over us. We would find complete fulfillment if we would only surrender to His Lordship in every [mundane] area of our lives! And that we must; if we are to be a true Christian. For Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
We go to church and assume we have given all to follow Jesus. Number one, I'm here, right? Also, what about all the worldly entertainment I don't take part in, clothes I don't wear, words I don't say, etc., – gave it up to serve the Lord! Elisabeth Elliot once said these convicting words, “God is not necessarily asking us to 'give up' anything to begin with, except the right to ourselves. Which is everything, isn't it?” We may think we have surrendered, until life gets tough and the entitlement thinking so promoted by our culture begins to creep in. “Don't I have a right to be happy?”, Don't I deserve some time to myself!?”, “I feel like I deserve a new ____.” I'm not saying those things are necessarily wrong, but if you don't get them, can you still have the right attitude knowing God is working in your life as you practice denying yourself, taking up your cross and doing what God's will is for you in that moment or season of life? The truth is, surrendering to God is not just a one time thing; it is a daily commitment. And, believe me, that commitment is going to be tested each day in some way.
Elliot continues on this subject: “If I present my body, I am presenting everything it contains, am I not? My mind, my heart, my emotions, my temperament, my personality, my thinking, my tastes, my preferences. I have surrendered the rights to all of that, in making this living sacrifice.” If we can get to the center of our soul and give to God our “rights”, we have given all. (Then, if God did ask for our “bunny”, it would be no problem to give it up because it wasn't our right to keep the bunny, it was God's anyway.)
Surrender is a matter of trust. There is a certain security we find in having control of a situation.
We trust God for our salvation, but what about when real life happens?
Sickness, a wound from a friend, financial hardship, busyness... It is precisely here we must trust God. It is there and no where else that God wants to meet you. It is there that He asks for that living sacrifice.
I found this prayer from martyr Missionary Betty Scott Stan. It is a prayer of surrender that I try to pray honestly. Take a moment and pray it yourself.
“Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt; send me where Thou wilt. Work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost now and forever.”