Thursday, July 18, 2013

Absolute Surrender

How many times have you sat in church and sang:

All to Jesus I surrender; All to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live.

I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender; Humbly at His feet I bow, Worldly pleasures all forsaken; Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender; Make me, Savior, wholly Thine; Let me feel the Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender; Lord, I give myself to Thee; Fill me with Thy love and power; Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender; Now I feel the sacred flame. Oh, the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory, to His Name!

But I have to ask myself just how true that really is for me? How true is it for you? What does it really mean to surrender all to Jesus? In Luke 14:27 the Lord Jesus calls for absolute, unconditional surrender when He says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” But what does this really look like?

The Bible tells us that our old man is “crucified with Christ that the body of sin might be done away with (or render in operative) that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Rom. 6:6). Paul could say again in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” 

So the Bible teaches us that from God’s point of view the old man is dead, we call this positional truth. God sees us having died with Christ and we are seen in Christ and dead to sin. But for many of us that is not always our experience or our practice. Galatians 5:17 reminds us that “the flesh wars against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh and these things are contrary to one another.” There are still time that our practice doesn’t match up to our position and we don’t live surrendered lives. We act independent of God and in self-will. But the Lord Jesus demands absolute surrender!

The story is told of Colonel William Travis, commander of the Alamo who called the Alamo defenders together, explained that defeat was almost certain. Travis then (having chosen to die instead of surrender) reportedly pulled his battle sword, used it to draw a line in the ground of the Alamo, and asked for volunteers to cross over the line and join him, understanding their decision would be irreversible. The legend states that all but one of the defenders (including Jim Bowie and Davey Crockett) joined Travis on his side of the line. Instead of surrendering to the enemy they surrendered themselves to fight to the end. The Lord Jesus is doing the same thing with each of us. He draws a line for each of us and says, “who will live a surrendered life. For those at the Alamo the commitment meant certain death. For us surrender leads to several things and the first is an acknowledgement of death. I must acknowledge that I died with Christ and that will lead to the second thing, Life! As Christians we have eternal life, but the Lord Jesus wants us to enjoy abundant life. He said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” He desires us to have joyful life. In John 15:11 He says, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” Again in John 16:24 “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” We also read in 1 John 1:3-4, “that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”

This kind of life cannot really be enjoyed until I have surrendered to Christ, not simply as my Savior, but as my Lord. Am we able to say with Paul, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Phil. 3:7-9).

Think of Job, he could have resisted or resented the lost of his wealth, health and family, but instead he surrendered to God saying, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this, Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong” (Job 1:22-23).

Joshua lived and surrendered life and even in old aged challenge those around him to do the same when he declared, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

There are many examples of lives that were surrendered to God but the greatest example is that of the Lord Jesus. As a young boy of 12 He could say, “Do you not know that I ought to be about my Father’s business” (Lk. 2:49). In the Wilderness when He was tempted by Satan He displayed by His dependence on the Word of God that He was that perfect surrendered Man. The ultimate act of surrender was in the Garden of Gethsemane when He submitted to the will of God and said, not my will but thine be done” and then went to Calvary and gave His life to the glory of God!

The Lord is looking for unconditional surrender! Hands open to allow Him to fill or take things out of them. This is the kind of life that leads to victory. This is what the Lord meant when “He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). The question for each of us is; are we willing to surrender and follow Him?

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