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!
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