When I became a Christian 46 years ago, inviting Jesus Christ into my heart was just the first step. I then struggled with wanting the blessings of God, while compromising biblical truths. I quickly learned the folly of resisting the whole truth of God’s Word and His will.
God issued a strong warning to all who try to take the middle ground, “I know you well—you are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other! But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelations 3:15-16). Over the years, I have found that there is far more joy, peace, and happiness in surrendering all to the will of God, rather than riding the fence of compromise, which undermines the will and purposes of God.
The Christian faith demands complete surrender of mind, body, spirit, and soul to God who created us. The word “surrender” means to relinquish, renounce, forgo, forswear; abdicate, forfeit, sacrifice; hand over, yield, and transfer. That requires forfeiting carnal, worldly desires and yielding to God’s authority and purposes. Surrendering is ceasing to resist God, for He can do very little with us or for us, if we continually resist His will.
Surrender also means to relinquish or forego control. Unfortunately, our human nature wants to be in control, but God says, “Yield now and be at peace with [Me]; thereby, good will come to you” (Job 22:21). We must relinquish or let go of those fleshly desires and habits that are at enmity with God’s Word, because He knows the beginning and ending of all things; failure to yield to Him will rob us of His blessings.
Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me (Matthew 16:24). What does it mean to deny self and take up our cross? When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was fully aware of the sacrifice He was about to make as He agonized in prayer to His Father, “…if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Imagine how different things would be for all of us had Jesus not surrendered His will to God.
Are you willing to lay down your life (your will) and take hold of all that the cross represents and say, “Father, not my will, but Your will be done.” If we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, then He will exalt us at the proper time (I Peter 5:6). For we have been crucified with Christ. We no longer live for ourselves, but Christ lives in us. And the real life we now have within our body is a result of our trusting in the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us (Galatians 2:20).
Now we come to the question, “How do Christians surrender to God?” The following are seven steps that I have discovered over the years.
1. Daily surrender your heart and will to God. “Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he will run from you” (James 4:7). The heart is the seat of our emotions, thoughts, intentions, and values. It either willfully follows sinful, carnal inclinations or it follows and seeks God’s will and His Word. Therefore, His promise to us is that if we seek Him with all of our heart, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
2. Follow and obey God in all that He asks. A follower of Christ will emulate Christ and His Word in their life choices, actions, and words, which in turn will influence others. Christ followers do not conform to the world’s standards and morals. They renew their mind with the transforming Word of God, so that they may show others what the will of God is and what is good, acceptable, and perfect (Romans 12:2).
3. Study and believe God’s Word. To expect God’s best, we have to believe His Word. And in order to believe His Word, there must be a seeking to know and understand the heart of God through His Word. Therefore, the question remains, “Do we study and believe the Word of God, its promises, instructions, and warnings? Only by studying the Word, do we find its deeper secrets and truths. That is why we prayerfully study the Bible, precept upon precept, line upon line, so that we may understand its underlying lessons (Isaiah 28:10). When Jesus spoke in parables, there was a deeper meaning, only understood by those whose hearts had been transformed by His living Word (Mark 4:10-13).
4. Wait upon God and His timing. “Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him to act — Don’t fret and worry — it only leads to harm” (Psalm 37:7-8). He says, “…My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” (Isaiah 55:8). We must trust God’s timing of how, when and where He answers prayer. Rarely do His plans fit into our mindset or schedule, but when we trust Him, we find great joy, peace, rest, and contentment.
5. Trust in the Lord. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). The greatest gift that comes from trusting God is a supernatural peace that rests in the knowledge that God our Father wants only good things for us, is always with us, and will never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6-8).
6. Persevere in Prayer. We must be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12). Therefore, let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). To stop praying is to surrender to defeat and unbelief.
7. Give thanks in all situations. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7). Giving thanks is a form of worship that acknowledges God’s goodness and our willingness to trust Him in all circumstances.
Totally surrendering to God is liberating and life-changing. The enemy would have us believe that in surrendering our will to God, we are giving up everything that will make us happy in exchange for a life of sacrifice and pain. The truth is that in surrendering our will to God, we experience blessings, fulfillment and joy as He unfailingly directs, guides, corrects, nurtures, and loves us through the ups and downs of everyday life.
LORD, sometimes I resist yielding my will to You, because I am afraid I will be forced to live a boring, sacrificial life. Direct my steps to my destiny. Help me each day to surrender my life and heart to You, Who is the only Source of true peace, blessings, fulfillment, and great joy. In Jesus name, amen.