During this short time away, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about surrender. It’s something I’ll dwell on as a series for the Be Encouraged devotionals. After all, part of coming to Christ and accepting His Lordship over our lives is surrendering to Him. We acknowledge that we don’t know it all. And we agree that we can’t do it all. But surrender means more than that. Surrender means giving up. It means giving Jesus control over some aspect over our lives. And yes, I was intentional in that choice of words, because that’s what we often do. We give Him some control. And that’s a problem.
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:5-9, NASB
I think I like how the New Living Translation takes verse 6 better, though:
And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. – Deuteronomy 6:6, NLT
“Commit yourselves wholeheartedly” really puts things in perspective. It says we don’t give Him part, or even most. No, because we are to give Him the whole heart. Our obedience to Him is wholehearted. It is complete. That is what God is expecting of us. And unfortunately, for much of the Church, myself included, that doesn’t describe us. We aren’t even close to this mark. We hold things back. We keep things under our control, not trusting that the God who can save us from our sins can handle that which we hold out of His control. But really, they are still in His control. So our attempts to hold anything back is extremely foolish. Yet, still we do.
Think about the implications of wholehearted surrender. It means giving Him control of our jobs. It means giving Him control of our families. It means giving Him control of how we spend our time. It means giving Him control of how we handle our money and the physical things in our lives like cars, houses, and all the expensive stuff, but even the really small stuff like paper clips and staples and that old t-shirt we haven’t had the heart to throw out. It also means giving Him control of our churches, of our ministry programs, of our choirs, of our Sunday school classes, of our sermons, of how we approach the sermons, of Wednesday night supper, and of everything that happens within the walls and on the grounds of and wherever we go on behalf of what we call our churches. Are we willing to do that?
Because that’s what He’s asking of us. He’s asking on a level far above what most of us have given to Him. He’s asking us to make Him and His Word the foundation of our lives and that which drives us. And truthfully, as our Creator and as our Savior, Jesus has every right to expect this of us. With a clear understanding of what He expects, though, many of us haven’t gotten there yet. That’s what He has shown me as I’ve taken a bit of time away to really search deeper His calling on my life. And that’s when it hit me. His calling is for my complete life. That’s His calling for all of us. I new that conceptually and all of us do. But have we really taken that to heart? What’s holding us back? What keeps us from this level of wholehearted commitment to Our Lord and Our God? Whatever it is we need to clean up and get rid of. That’s what I’m working on. Thankfully, I don’t have to do it alone. Because I can’t. I need His power to do that. And that’s my prayer. “Lord, help me to completely surrender everything to You. Anything less isn’t enough.”