Why Does Jesus Call Us to Surrender?

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In the middle of what is commonly known as The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus makes a very interesting yet relevant statement as he is instructing his disciples how to pray. In Matthew 6:10 he says “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Your will be done.

These are probably four of the most important words you can ever tell God in prayer. Especially when you recognize that deep inside of every one of us there is a battle that goes on. In Romans 7 and Galatians 5 Paul writes about this struggle between your flesh and your spirit. This battle is between doing what you want to do and doing what you don’t want to do. At the center of this is a battle of wills. Will you do it your way (my will be done) or will you do it God’s way (your will be done)? This question stands at the core of every decision you make and ultimately determines the type of life you will live on this earth.

In other words, you have a choice. My way or God’s way. My plan or God’s plan. My will or God’s will. The interesting thing about this choice is the only way you get to God’s way, God’s plan or God’s will is you must choose to surrender to it. To surrender means to give oneself up to the power or authority of someone else. You are willingly giving up control. The question remains then why does surrender matter and what can we learn from it?

Surrender Exposes What’s Inside of You

The heart of surrender says “God I trust your plan more than mine. I trust your ways more than mine. I trust that you have an outcome for me that is better than the one I can come to on my own.” Because of this trust factor, the challenge of surrender is do you really believe it? Do you really believe that doing it God’s way is better than doing it your own way? If you truly believe it then you will surrender, but if you don’t believe it then you won’t.

In essence, surrender or lack of surrender exposes the true condition of your heart and reveals what’s inside of you. It tells you whether or not you really believe God. These words are not meant to be judgmental or critical but to be honest and real because I believe everyone at some point struggles with trusting God’s plan and surrendering to it. Even Jesus battled this in the Garden of Gethsemane as he was about to go to the cross. Remember his words:

“He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done’” (Luke 22:41-42).

Jesus understood the magnitude of what was before him. He was about to face the cross and the agony of the weight of all of mankind’s sin being placed on him. In his humanity he wrestled with it. Luke would further tell us he was in such anguish that the sweat dropping from his body was like drops of blood. This was a battle of wills and a battle of trust. However, what we discover is what was really inside Jesus. Ultimately Jesus did what he instructed us to do in the Lord’s prayer. He surrendered to God’s will over choosing his own. In the end he put greater trust in God’s will. We must learn to do the same.

Surrender Gives You an Eternal Focus

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3).

When you consider this passage in Hebrews, it helps bring clarity to the anguish we saw in Luke and what helped Jesus do the will of the Father. He focused on what was ahead. When you begin to understand eternity, when you understand that what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal, then your willingness to surrender increases. Jesus endured the cross because he understood the eternal joy and victory it would bring for us.

When you surrender to God you are shifting your focus. You are moving away from focusing solely on what’s temporary and moving towards what is eternal. Let’s be honest, surrender will sometimes hurt and will not always feel good. Sometimes it will cause pain or anguish. Sometimes it will involve hurt egos or humbling yourself or doing something that in your fleshly nature you would never consider doing. However, when you understand the eternal nature and victory that comes from your decision it makes it taste a little better and easier to endure.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Surrender Qualifies You for God’s Work 

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8).

When it comes to God accomplishing his will, work, and purpose in the earth there is only one thing that matters. Are you willing? Talent is nice and God can use whatever talents you offer him. Money is nice and God can use the resources you have to bless others and advance his kingdom. Gifts are great and God can use that too. However, the most important thing God needs from you is your willingness. Will you surrender and say like Jesus instructed, your will be done? This is the most important qualifier that makes you fit for work in God’s kingdom. Your willingness supersedes your talent just as your availability is more important than your ability.

The question God asked Isaiah is the same question he is still asking. Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? In fact, if God was giving a job interview this would be the only question and qualification. I encourage you today to surrender to God’s will for your life. Let the prayer of your life be “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

This may come with some challenges or twists and turns you didn’t expect. It will also come with greater joy and fulfillment than you ever thought possible in this life. The beauty of it all is when this life is done and you have fulfilled God’s will for your life, you will hear seven of the most glorious words you will ever want to hear: “Well done my good and faithful servant.” On that day you will know it was truly worth it all.

Clarence Haynes

Clarence Haynes