Sweet Surrender


I think this is one of the most neglected passages in today’s churches:

Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He who loves his life shall lose it. And he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.
—John 12:24-25 MKJV

No issue facing the Church in America is more pressing than this.

There is something in the American consciousness that plays into the idea that we can have it all ways. You cannot only be rich, but also good-looking. You cannot only be a true family man (or woman), but also a corporate ladder-climber. You can be a Christian and also be in love with the World.

We don’t hear too many messages about dying to self anymore. Too many churches today preach a message that says that we can have it all—serve ourselves and serve God at the same time. That this is a message spawned in Hell does not seem to bother most Christians, though. We have somehow found a way to make this verse moot:

No servant can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
—Luke 16:13 MKJV

We have found that Caesar and Christ need not be a choice we have to make. There is no need to surrender to one or the other. We can hold fire to our breasts and not be burned. The lust, the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life are not such bad things once you learn how to manage them correctly.

Surrender is foreign to us. We do not embrace it willingly, even if we embrace it at all. Should we wonder then at our fruitless churches, our Spirit-less assemblies, our rote and routine existences dying for a fragment of Heaven, just a crust from the Master’s table?

Yet there is no other path that leads to life than one of surrender. The cross means death and its definition has not changed in two thousand years. We are not our own, we have been bought with a most precious price, yet we live like masters of our realm, dictators of not only what we suspect we own, but dictators to God of how He should treat us because of our own self-importance.

As I get older, I realize that the path that leads to destruction is wider than I once thought, and the narrow road of life is virtually untrod, even by those who call themselves “Christians.” Since only the Lord knows the way of the narrow path, why do we insist that we know it better than He does? The unsurrendered life can never follow that tiny trail, though, since it is too busy insisting on its own way, even if that way leads to death.

A word to those who think they have surrendered:

The truly surrendered person…

…will never be well-known.
…will never live in the nice house, drive the appropriate car, or wear the most fashion-forward clothes.
…will never be wealthy and may never be “set” financially.
…will make a career of loving God and others, even if this means his/her professional career suffers for it.
…will be overlooked (or even mocked) by the “important people.”
…will be seen as a fool by almost everyone—even by those in the church.
…will never labeled a success by anyone but Christ.
…understands that to buy the Pearl of Great Price will take everything.
…thinks first what is the mind of the Lord.
…says, “Not my will, but Thine be done.”

Apart from surrender, there can be no life in Christ. I used to think that it was possible to be a Christian and yet live just like those around me, but I now know that this is a lie. We tend to believe that lie, however, here in America. So we go on stumbling in the dark for a light that can be ours only if we, like that grain of wheat, fall into the ground and die to the rest of the world around us. Only then can we be fruitful, the aroma of God amid the stench of a dying world.

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!

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