"Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine." Then the angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. Luke 22:42-44
In these verses, Jesus was praying in the dark shadows of the cross. Jesus is God, yet fully human, with the choice to follow his Father's will or not. In those pressurized moments, Jesus surrendered himself fully to the Father, putting aside his own will for the sake of sinners. Jesus is our perfect example of complete surrender to God. It was not easy for Jesus and it will not be easy for us.
Our surrender means giving up what we want in order to do what God wants. It is turning loose of the things we hold onto, to pick up the things of God. This will look different for each person as we will not be measured by our neighbors' ways.
What has God been bringing to light in your own life? Is there something you are clinging to instead of God?
As Christians we love to praise God, brag on the great things he does for us, and our fellowship with other believers, "well, I just could not make it through life without it." But what is it you are holding back from Him?
Let's be honest, many of us are living a partially surrendered lifestyle. We show up at church, volunteer to help others, even do good deeds, but what is that thing God keeps talking to you about?
It really comes down to this, "do you carry Jesus around on certain days, or use Him as an accessory like a purse or backpack?" He does not want to be added onto your life, He wants to be central to your life! Not living with some minimal passing grade, he wants 100%.
Correct me if I am wrong, but when you became a Christian, didn't you ask Jesus to live in your heart and be with you all the time? You really didn't expect our Lord to live out of a suitcase? I would think you wanted Him to move in full time, molding and shaping your life to do His will. Maybe there's a reason for your hesitancy. Perhaps you see total surrender as giving something up instead of the gain of spiritual fulfillment. Then again, it could just be the pressure of this world.
Pastor David Jeremiah tells the story of the deep trench snailfish. The fish is no bigger than the human hand and lives at the bottom of the ocean where the water pressure is a thousand times the pressure at the surface. At the bottom, there is no light and the water temperature is nearly freezing, but the snailfish thrives. You see the snailfish has
been strategically built by God with a flexible skull and bones, along with internal pressure greater than the pressure in the ocean. This is a lesson for us.
If we could produce spiritual pressure potent enough to withstand the pressure of this world would you be interested? Jesus faced a pressure so daunting he sweat blood, and yet, God strengthened him, and he endured. I can almost hear you saying, "That was Jesus." To that I say, let's read John 14: 12 (NIV) where Jesus says, "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."
Granted, there are some conditions that must be met for these greater things to happen. First, you must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the World. Second, there must be complete surrender to God. Finally, because Jesus stayed in communication with the Father, we should follow His example. I have been reading how we are building a 5G network across America to improve communication and speed of service. Let me suggest the 365G network already available. Prayer time with God every day of the year. He will speak to your problems, hopes and fears when you read His Word.
Can you imagine total surrender in your worship? You would not hold back or fear condemnation. Imagine openly sharing the Good News of Jesus with those you meet and your family. Prayer time will go from self-centered to selfless to lifting up others. Your voice will learn the language of love, encouraging and uplifting. You will be changed!
To this world, surrender sounds like defeat, but in Christ's Kingdom, surrender means sweet victory!
Theresa Rowe is the founder of Shaped by Faith, an author, health coach, motivational speaker and radio host. Visit her at shapedbyfaith.com.