Tuesday, January 6, 2009


There is nothing left for me to do but to go and see General Grant and I would rather die a thousand deaths.
-General Robert E. Lee, [Said before the surrender at Appomattox, 9 April 1865]

There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way'.
-C.S. Lewis

Might as well jump right into the deep end. The doctrine/concept of surrender to Christ has been on my mind of late. The term is not new to me, but the depth of meaning is something which had not truly reached the level of understanding for me. It's still a bit hard to grasp intellectually, and even harder to try to put into practice. The spark that led me to look into this more was a story about Billy Graham that I read in Henry Blackaby's, Spiritual Leadership. In it he stated that one had to surrender more than once, even repeatedly throughout ones life. As usual, these things bounce around in my head for weeks or months, I seem to see the topic discussed everywhere I look, and eventually something just 'clicks.'

The concept of surrender runs contrary to our most basic instincts. It brings to mind defeat, loss of control, weakness, lack of ability or will, failure. These are not things that most of us desire to feel or would go out of our way to practice of our own accord. To me, this is like a lot of Christianity... sounds easy (bumper sticker slogan easy), but very hard in practice.

Surrender is not used (at least in any of the translations I have available) in the bible in the same way as in the doctrine here. It has been put together from the teachings and example Christ gave us. In Luke 14, Christ is working with a large group of new believers and explaining to them the risks and tribulations they may face if they continue to follow him. In verse 26 he tells us, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." Hate here must be seen in the context of Mat 10:37, it is a comparative term. One must love Christ more than their closest family and friends. We must be willing to put Christ first in our lives, even at the expense of our closest relationships or even our own life. While lose of life for your beliefs may not be a reality today in the US, the possibility of scorn and ridicule from others for your beliefs is very real. He is asking us to make sure we are willing to pay the price for our convictions, even unto death.

Paul tells us in Php 1:21, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." We have nothing to fear from death, and just the contrary, we should look forward to it. By accepting Christ and being born again, Col 3:3 "For you died, and your life has been hidden with Christ in God." We are to accept death as something to look forward to. I don't know about you, but, for me this is very difficult, as all I know is my life. As pitiful as that life may be at times, it is the only one I have. Releasing yourself from the illusion of control and knowing that you are bound for things beyond this world is the charge we have. What you think is real is nothing, what is real and eternal is intangible. Give up everything you can see, touch, taste and feel and accept that God is in control on faith alone.

Christ gave us the perfect example of this. He is God made man, unlimited power and knowledge in a finite and fragile body. In Php 2:8 "...He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Now, I know I have at time put little emphasis on this. He know what was going to happen and why He was doing it, so, of course He did it. How does that speak to us who do not have that foresight? Thankfully, we do have some insight into His thoughts just prior to his crucifixion, Luk 22:42 "...Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done." This, to me, shows the man part of Christ, an attachment to the world and his life, yet his utter willingness to do His Father's will, acceptance of His control, surrender.

I know that I cannot go about my daily life, all day, every day, knowing in my heart that I am not in control and that God is. I know that there have been times when I have not loved Christ more than my family, friends or neighbors by my actions. I know that I have surrendered to Christ my will and my life. It is uncomfortable, like giving in to unconsciousness. That feeling of sliding into the unknown blackness. But, it is also liberating. The freedom of being free from worry. Since I cannot keep myself in this mindset at all times, I do find it necessary to renew my surrender from time to time.

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