Everyone surrenders to something.
You surrender to a craving for a chocolate shake, so you pull into Chik-Fil-A and order one. You surrender your financial freedom to a debt you create on your credit card. You surrender your relational future when you say, “…till death shall part us.”
You surrender your heart when you daughter says, “Daddy, I love you.” You surrender yourself to the passion of a song on the radio when you turn up the volume and sing at the top of your lungs (“I’m pickin’ up good vibrations…”). You surrender to the excitement of the crowd at the ballgame and stand when the homerun is hit.
I’m so practiced at some surrenders, I don’t even think about them anymore. I surrender to the daily discipline of bathing so I can have friends. I surrender to the driver on my right at the four way stop so my truck doesn’t get hit. I surrender to thirst and drink water without even thinking about the fact that water is good for me.
Some surrenders I chose. I surrender my good parking space in front of the grocery store to an older lady who needs it more than I do. I surrender whenever I see a blue light flashing behind me; I pull over, roll down my window, and have my license and registration ready. I never think about trying to outrun the trooper. I surrender in certain disagreements with my wife because I have learned there are more important things than winning an argument.
No one teaches you to surrender except your older brothers who teach you to say “uncle.” When we talk about surrendering to God, most of us think we cry “uncle” and thus lose ourselves. But there is more to surrender than this.
Surrender is a key skill if you are going to be a Jesus follower. He said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Sounds like surrender to me.
Surrender starts with a “no.” We must say no to our pride, our way, our self-absorption, our appetite, our convenience, our inhibitions. We deny something inside of ourselves.
Surrender means taking up something more, something greater. It may be a new identity. It may be a new awareness. It may be a new perspective. It may be a new sacrifice. For Jesus followers, it means taking up a death to self-absorbed living.
Surrender finishes with a new leader. You decide to follow your leader, wherever he goes. When Jesus is that leader, you follow him all the way to heaven.
Before your pride swells up and you fight the whole notion of surrender, remember everyone surrenders. Pause and ask who or what you surrender to. Then ask, “where are they taking me?”