Do Christians need to “fully surrender” to God?

My 16-year-old and I attended a mother/daughter Bible Study this past Sunday in which the overall message presented to the teenage girls was to “dream big” for God.  To dream up grand ideas.  To imagine bold plans.  To further God’s kingdom while solidifying your own faith.

A supporting argument was, “if you are fully surrendered to Him, then He will be able to use you.”

But what does it mean to be fully surrendered to Him?  I’ve been meditating on this question for the past five days.  In order to fully surrender to God, what are the prerequisites and requirements?  What are the markers used to determine the halfway mark, for example, and how will you know when you’ve reached “full” status?  How will you know when completion has been achieved?

My opinion is that you will never know.  The idea is too nebulous to ever be achieved.  Because the fact is:  He is the One who is fully surrendered to you.

Jesus Christ Himself – The Word of God that became flesh and dwelt among us — was fully surrendered to God.  God Himself left His heavenly realm, was born through a virgin, lived a sinless life and eventually paid the ultimate sacrifice:  He died.  What He did on the hill of Calvary by dying for the sins of the world was nothing less than full surrender.  You can’t get any more surrendered than that.

To tell a room full of teenage girls that they must be fully surrendered to God, without specifically defining the exact meaning of that phrase, is, I feel, insulting the work of Jesus on the cross.

But is there any place at all for surrender in a Christian’s life?

Well, yeah, there is.  First, we must surrender to the gospel.  And second, we must surrender to the New Covenant.

Surrendering to the gospel is the primary work that a human must achieve.  Otherwise, you remain in a state of death – spiritual death.  So, first, believe in the gospel, and receive the life of God through faith, by His grace.  That is the main WORK an earthling is required to do.

“Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”  Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.””  John 6:28-27

Believe in, trust in, rely on, depend on and fully surrender to the fact that Jesus Christ alone provided for the forgiveness of sins, and that He alone can offer to you the Holy Spirit of God which gives life to your mortal soul.  A simple prayer to the Creator is all that is required to accomplish this work.  Say yes to Him; tell Him you want to accept His free gift.

“Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal life.”  Jesus’ words in John 6:47.

After you receive the Spirit of life and are born from above – just as the Israelites wandered around for 40 years – you also will inevitably spend a few years of wandering in the wilderness of Churchianity.  But after you realize that your devotion to religion is empty, then you are ready to fully surrender to the New Covenant.  This is not a burden.  Surrendering to the New Covenant is like crossing the Jordan River.  It may take a bit of struggle to make it across, a bit of wrestling.  (The word Israel means, “He who wrestles with God.”)

So wrestle with God!  And then surrender to His grace!

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Surrendering to the New Covenant means that you have come to believe in the complete forgiveness of sins.   It means that you no longer quote 1 John 1:9 to get forgiven.  You have come to understand what Jesus meant when He said, “It is finished.”   You realize that the sin issue between you and God actually is finished.

God had to forgive the sins of the world and cast those transgressions as far as the east is from the west, so that He could clear the slate, wipe the table clean and finally have a bunch of humans – forgiven humans – to whom He could make an offer.

The offer is this: “Will you eat from the Tree of Life?”

So, do you see how surrender to the New Covenant allows you to understand the gospel in which you believed?  To really grasp that the two are part of one whole?  Things finally makes sense!  You are no longer trying to put new wine into old wineskins.  You have walked through the door.  You are finally inside the Promised Land of Rest.

Don’t let anyone judge you or condemn you for resting.  Don’t let anyone put a burden on you by saying you must fully surrender your life to God, and by implying that God is waiting for you to shape up, and if you don’t, He will ship you out.  When they essentially say that God is powerless and impotent without your FULL surrender…  just remember that it’s a lie.

Lies keep you in bondage; God wants to lead you into all truth, because the truth sets you free.

“But when He the, Spirit of truth, shall come, He will guide you into all the truth.”  Jesus’ words in John 16:13

 

 

Everything will be okay.

You are dear to the heart of God.  His thoughts are directed towards you.

 

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an excepted end.”

 

And yet we struggle.  You do.  I do.  We wrestle with God and wonder what it is we are doing here on this earth — are we doing enough?  — are we doing what He wants??

 

Yes.  We are doing what He wants.  We have believed in Him.  We are resting in and trusting in HIs love for us.  He has loved us with an everlasting love.

 

We look to Him, not to ourselves.  We are exactly where He wants; we are His beloved child.  His daughters.

 

He is in control.  He is the Potter.  We are the clay.  We are ready and willing to be molded by Him.  And He is molding us.  Everything will be okay.

 

Was King David a Drama Queen?

Maybe he was . . . but, if so, I mean it in a good way!  He was a wonderfully passionate man with a heart filled with so much faith, so much trust in God, that he is used as a type of Christ, a model for the Messiah:

“And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the LORD have spoken. (Ezekiel 34:24)

That is astounding!

He was an ordinary human who became extraordinary because of his passionate reliance and dependency on the Lord His God.

Because of his faith, David was chosen to replace Saul as the King of Israel.  Because God recognized him as a “man after my own heart.”

“But now (Saul) your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people…”    (1 Samuel 13:14)

Despite being one of the most famous men who has ever lived, and one of the most important Bible characters in the history of the world . . . to me, David is just my big brother in Christ.  He is someone who I look forward to meeting, and teasing, one day.

“Dude, you know that you were a total drama queen when you lived back on the old earth.  Right?  I mean, c’mon, you totally were.”

And he’ll reply, “Oh yeah!  Totally.”

(LOL.  . . .Well, who knows?  But I nonetheless entertain myself with such imaginings.)

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Okay, so you know those reading plans that give you daily assignments so that you can read through the Bible chronologically in one year?  Well, so far, it’s been five years and I’m in the book of Jeremiah.  I’m so slow because I often skip a day, or a week, or even a month.  Plus, I typically re-read my daily assignment; sometimes over and over for several weeks.  (Gotta be OCD with the Bible!)

Since I’m new to the “grace message,” to a complete understanding of the New Covenant, it seems like I am reading the Bible for the first time.  Even though I’ve been saved for 26 years.

Anyway, this slow and careful reading style allowed me to really get to know David.  And I fell in love with him while reading through his life story and all of his poetry.  When I came to his death in the book of 1 Kings, I started crying.  I remember exactly where I was sitting in my house when that happened.  I realized how much I would miss him.  I felt so sad that his life came to the end; it was like a good friend had left me.

I hope that one day on the new earth, he will come to regard me also as a good friend.  And I hope he will laugh when I tease him about being a drama queen.  Such mood swings; such melodramatic laments at times.  But maybe that’s what I love best about him, because his emotional outbursts were often channeled toward his praise of God. (Such as Psalm 103). When you read David’s Psalms, you see that David completely trusted in God.  He knew that God is good; that God is trustworthy; that God is kind.

Trust in Him at all times, O people;

Pour out your heart before Him;

God is a refuge for us.

(Psalm 62:8)

Of course, we all know that David was not a perfect person; his adultery with Bathsheba and the way he orchestrated the murder of her husband are notorious stories.  David fully acknowledged his own sinfulness; he was completely acquainted with his own depravity.  He didn’t try to hide it; he was a man who lived in reality.

But he pleased God because he had true faith.  His heart trusted completely in the Lord.  And God honors David’s faith throughout the Bible.  In Jeremiah, it is implied that the Messiah came because of David!  That is was for David that the Messiah is raised up!

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land.  (Jeremiah 23:5)

David did not get to live in the days of the New Covenant, in the days following the resurrection of the Righteous Branch.  As a result, there was so much that David did not understand, and perhaps that is what caused his mood swings.

“Take not thy Holy Spirit from me,” was spoken by a man who did not have the opportunity to be born again by the Holy Spirit.  Certainly, the Spirit “came upon” David at times, but not in an abiding, eternal way.

For us today, we know that the Holy Spirit will never leave us or forsake us.  It is because we are “raised up” with Jesus; we are resurrected from the dead, just as Jesus was.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)

David looked forward to the resurrection; we look back to it.  I think it’s at the Second Coming that the dead in Christ will rise first – so does that mean that David will be with us during the Millennial Reign of Christ?  I hope so!  But whatever happens, we know that David has a fantastic future ahead of him:  everlasting life with the God whom he loved and trusted in with all of his heart!