Is the Discipline of Surrender Working in You?
Principle Scriptures on the Discipline of Surrender: Matthew 4:10; Luke 9:23; John 3:30; 15:5; Galatians 2:20-21; 5:24; Ephesians 5:18-21; Philippians 1:19-21; 3:1-14; Colossians 4:2-6; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5: 5-7
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this Discipline of Surrender from God's most precious Word by examining your life and the passages above. Now ask yourself:
1.How do I exhibit a life of Surrender daily?
2.How can I develop the willingness to be a more disciplined person who will realize I am filled by Christ?
3.What blocks Surrender from working and being exhibited in me?
4.How can I initiate Surrender, and discipline myself to carry it out?
5.What can I do to make Surrender function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty and stress?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture: 1 Sam. 24:1-22; Luke 10:38-42; 22:41-42; John 13:1-18; Phil. 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-10
·Here are negative examples from Scripture: Gen. 3:6-11; 19:26; Num. 20:23-24; 22:22; Jonah 1; Luke 10:38-42; Acts 21:4-14
The Discipline of Surrender means we trust our Lord Jesus Christ in all things without doubt or fault in our faith. We let go our hold on our perceived rights, agendas, and opinions that are not lined up to His. In this way, we can surrender to His love and embrace God's will for our lives, live His Way in holiness, and become a benefit to the lives of others. We come before God and under new management-His. The Discipline of Surrender is a discipline because we have to make it a daily decision and practice. It is something we may never prefect, but we can aim our best to carry it out. It comes to us when we are willing and able to "cast all your anxiety (that is, our cares) on Him." (1 Peter 5:7) This denotes being active in our faith with humility and dependence on Him, so we trust God to direct our lives. We are benefited and liberated when He is in control, and we need not worry or fear. Life is not about our circumstances; it is about how we learn and grow in Him by our trust, faith, and obedience-and Surrender helps us! It is also about being repentant of one's behaviors and attitudes; furthermore, it is about being totally dependant upon God, and producing a better attitude that creates better actions. We have to work on the discipline of giving our will over to Him! Surrender liberates us from our fears, past, and conditions.
What Surrender is not is bondage, oppression, allowing others to manipulate us, or being abused. It means being released from the bondage of self to follow Christ and to live in liberty. Surrender is not about I can't or I won't or I have given up; it is not about defeat, but it is all about trust. It is allowing God to love us, and feeling and knowing Him. The result is knowing that our God is trustworthy as LORD and Guide for our lives. Submission is not a mindless act we undertake; it is a freedom we have. It is not something we merely do superficially; rather, it comes from our innermost being, from our growth in Christ, our conviction and then our confidence in Him, and is honed by our inward attitude to Him. Submitting means we are yielding to the power and authority of our God; it is not a submission to a conqueror and we are not unwilling captives. Rather, we submit to one who is Superior, who love us ever so deeply, and Who has our best in mind and in His Hand. With this Discipline of Surrender, we need not fear our circumstances or what others may think. Our fears do not drive us; God and His precepts do! The only thing we should fear is sin and our reverting to our sinful nature as a driving force.
What happens when we do not practice this discipline? We will remain in bondage of our worries, fears, and faulty thinking. Thus, we will not be able to follow Christ effectively or live in His liberty; we will have no victory or hope. We will have pride and/or worry as our best friends and not the contentment of a trusting relationship with Christ. Then we will have no fulfillment, joy, or contentment in life. Be warned: pride is the opposite of Submission. It will destroy our relationships and church fast and furiously. That is why God hates it so much! We will also refuse to value others and we will become the connivers, gossipers, and producers of evil and reproach. We will not value God's ideas and plans but focus only on our fears and our past hurts. To be confident in Jesus and be used by Him, we need Him to empower us. With the mindset of Submission and His empowering, we will reap a great benefit (1 John 4:13).
1.How would you define the Discipline of Surrender? Are you a person who desires to give it all to our Lord? If not, why not? What gets in your way of giving your stresses and the things that hold you back over to Christ?
2.What role does Surrender play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family?
3.What is the cost to your life personally and to the people around you when you refuse to surrender to Christ as Lord?
4.What happens when your church leaders refuse to Surrender their will over to God's Will, or to teach and encourage people to be poured out to Christ as Sovereign LORD?
5.What are some of the self-bondages that you need to give over to God so you can follow Him and live in liberty?
6.When have you exercised Surrender the most? What is the difference between Surrender and the disobedience of Pride? How does your pride create fear and worry?
7.In what situation did you fail to Surrender when you should have?
8.What are the benefits of your Surrender to Christ? How can the Discipline of Surrender help you gain happiness apart from getting your way or what you want?
9.What would real, authentic Surrender look like in your life?
10.What issue is in your life that would improve with more Surrender? How can this Discipline of Surrender help reveal the motives of your heart?
11.How can this Discipline of Surrender enable you to receive Jesus, not just as Savior, but as Lord, so you are receiving His work in you and becoming His worker for others?
12.Think through the steps that you need to take to put Surrender into action in a specific instance. For example, how can you use this Discipline of Surrender to improve your faith, Fruit, character, relationships, confidence, leadership ability, parenting, and/or relationship with Christ and others? What can you do to improve the motives of your heart? When will you do it? Remember, this is a discipline, and we have to keep at it!
The Discipline of Surrender is usually used as a synonym for submission and obedience, but it has different characteristics and purpose. Our Surrender is more of a form of meekness where our strength and agendas are given over to our Lord. This helps our submission stay firm because we realize God' provision for us. When we realize God provision this will help us agree to obey because our ways are under His control for His greater good and purpose. It allows us to take hold of the goodness, blessings, and opportunities that He has for us. We will be more joyful as well as more content and fulfilled Christians.
We see how important Surrender is in the Scriptures. In Galatians five, right after the definitions of bad fruit and good Fruit from the Spirit, is this statement: "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." (Gal 5:24) Perhaps, many skip over this point and miss its significance and impact. In so doing, we miss the point on how we get His Fruit to flow more "fruitfully" in and through us. Otherwise, we have a hose of life that we bind, cutting off the flow of His Spirit by our hurt and/or pride. To grow in Christ requires us to let go of the hose and let Him flow in and through us. To allow His Spirit to flow more, we must endeavor to rid ourselves of what hinders us, and release our grip on wrong things that tantalize us. We must focus on the disciplines of Bible reading, mediation, devotions, and the rest.
The Discipline of Surrender is essential for our Spiritual growth. It usually comes after we submit to Christ with our commitment and resolve to yield our will, mind, and body over to His will and purposes; we then are better able to hear, receive, and obey His Word. We will realize our need, as led by the Spirit, to Surrender and then we will be better able to obey. Something has to happen before we can effectively trust in God, and that "something" is our trust in Him. The less doubt we have, the more faith we have, and the greater ability to grow in Him and be of greater use. In so doing, we can handle situations better, befriend those we normally would not, and see Christ and not our circumstances in greater detail.
The ultimate battle in life is not with arms; it is with wills. This Discipline is not about choosing suffering or bondage; it is about following God's will regardless of the cost. This means we surrender our will to His. This means we are focused upon building our lives on His precepts, not ours. The only way to be a real, authentic follower of our Lord Jesus Christ is to deny what we want and pursue what He wants (John 3:29-30; Gal. 5:24). This means that who we are and how we are, to God and others around us, is essential. We must never be the stumbling stone, trying to meddle with God's plans for ourselves or others. We must conduct ourselves with utmost integrity (Psalm 15) that points to His example. Jesus does not force us to submit and surrender; He models it for us to follow.
When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we come face to face with the fact we now have two wills in our life whereas previously we had only one. One soul; two wills. We are a soul divided by will and plan, at odds between sin and God; His will or mine. Then we realize, if we are smart, that the Christian life is a struggle of command and control. It is a struggle over the conflict of whose "will" we choose to follow. We struggle over who has the lead say and sway, who gets the helm of our lives, and who gives us direction. Will it be the One who loves us and gives us life and salvation, or will it be our desire for sin, our wants and agendas, or our past and/or limited view of what we want versus what He wants?
If we really, really want to grow in Christ, if we really, really want to be healthy Christians and have vibrant churches, something has to give and go; that "something" is our will and way. To be effectual Christians who are Christ-intention driven with God's purpose and glory in mind, our houses, personally and collectively, must be laid at His feet. Christ must be our all in all, and our Lord, not just a friend and part-time Savior (Rom. 7:17).
We have His call and His precepts, and we have a will and opportunity to respond, which is not forced upon us or cohered or manipulated; yet, we will cohere and manipulate our intentions and desires anyway we can. The bottom line is, He is Sovereign and can easily usurp and command us, but He rarely does. He allows His gentle whisper, His incredible instructions to be given to us on a gentle, loving father-like invitation for us to take. Thus, for us to command, we have to take the orders and respond. We have to line ourselves up to Christ as Lead and Lord.
We can only go as far in our faith and Christian walk as we are willing to go. We are our own barrier, and we are our own worst enemy, Satan aside; he has nothing on what we can do to ourselves. There may be no consequences that we see or bear for a time; perhaps, we get stuck or complacent and never experience what He had for us until we are called home and realize what we missed out on. But, we have to realize now that what we think we gain is the biggest loss-the loss of opportunities and what really is important, our growth, and our ability and opportunity to touch others for Him.
Our habits, our intentions, our plans, our hopes are all catered to and commanded by our will; it will either be a will that wants to serve, or a will that wants others to serve us-even God. Will it be strength of character and faith, determined to follow Christ, or will it be a will of personal willpower? I am amazed at how some people are so self-destructive with their will, even people who claim Christ as Lord. I have seen people-even some Christians-agonize over what direction to take in life, such as, Should I take drugs or just alcohol? Should I engage in a homosexual relationship or just fool around with a straight married person? Should I do things that I want to do but that I know are sinful? The correct path is not even considered. The real struggle usually is not about what is good, but what is bad and what is dire while ignoring what is good.
We are called to carry out the command and the control of our will by responding to Christ, surrendered and given over to Him. This is the only proper and effectual service we offer to God, the service that emerges from our Surrender to His Lordship.
To see if we really are surrendered, consider this simple test: would we be willing to obey Him, even if we did not want to? How do we do this? Realize the son-ship we have in Him. It comes down to this fact; we have to act.
· In Mark 8:34-38, Jesus said we are to deny ourselves. This means we are to surrender ourselves completely to Him. We are to identify with His character and with what He did on our behalf on the cross, and then, out of gratitude, follow Him wherever He leads us!
· The call is for us to surrender our pride and self-determination. This will help us with the desire to grow and mature in the faith, and recognize that Christianity is not a spectator sport.
· We need not be frustrated or give into our fears and hurt when we have Christ. Our confidence is in Christ and His character-not our self-esteem, but His Christ-esteem!
· Once we fully realize that the love of Christ has been poured out in us, we can identify ourselves in Him. We will be able to identify Christ's interests in others over our own interests (John 15:3; Rom. 9:3; 1 Cor. 9:22).
· Surrender equates to our Discipleship, which is about our response to His Grace and love so we can be passionate and obedient to our Lord.
· Surrender helps ensure that our faith is developed from God's nature and not from ours!
As with any great endeavor, this Discipline of Surrender is a journey we practice and pursue hand-in-hand with Christ. This does not just happen automatically, and is not something we order, like fast food; we must pursue Him as He first pursued us. As Jesus Himself said, "yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42) This means we follow Him with a determined purpose to pursue a more intimate relationship through our disciplines with God in order to grow more deeply in Christ. This way, we are not superficial Christians but purpose-driven Christians-to His purpose, not ours or that of others.
This leads us to our role, which is to model Christ-like character to the world, encouraging others to surrender themselves to Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:20-21). However, this is only the beginning! Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Surrender is the process by which we grow toward Him and His will and away from our will. Surrender is making Christ Lord of all of our life. We have to get rid of our perceptions, reckless ideas, faulty thinking, and other such things that are barriers to our growth, so we can make room for Him. Jesus authors our faith and teaches us how to run the race according to God's will, His glory, His worship, and His purpose. Thus, we gain a deeper intimacy with our Lord as our Commander and Friend, as our God and King, as our Love, and our reason for being. In His purposes, we find real contentment, joy, and fulfillment.
If you are looking for a solution to your problems, then Surrender, and search no more. If you feel life is overwhelming you, seek your comfort in Him. He does love and care for you; He has your best in mind! We Surrender to His love, not to a malevolent overload! Receive His care, receive His love, and surrender your doubts, your frustrations, your concerns, and your frailty. Trust in God's love in all of your circumstances. Allow Him to be your inward peace and contentment! We are to have an attitude of accepting whatever God provides, and being happy with it. We are not to seek self-gratification or temporary happiness in the shallow things of life. The fruit of anxiety is discontent, distrust, selfishness, unhappiness, and stress, as the focus becomes our situation, and not who we are in Christ. Being discontented will prevent the work of God in our heart and will (Proverbs 16:9, 19:21; Romans 9:19-21; Philippians. 4: 10-13; 1 Timothy 6:6-9; Hebrews 13: 5).